I walked down and came face to face with the driver hired for the day. His name gave away his origins. I asked him whether he came from 'my' state and he confirmed the fact. What's more he came from my district and lived in the city of my birth. The bond was instantaneous. A common language did the job of Fevikwik. After that I always insisted on calling the same driver every time I needed one. Of course, apart from all the above mentioned qualifications and more importantly than any of those, he was a middle aged driver with years of experience and drove very carefully. Soon he became the family driver for your's truly, BH and his mother. I generally keep quiet whenever I am in a cab. I keep watching the streets, shops and people flying past in the opposite direction, but no such luck with this driver. He is a compulsive talker. His talks range from asking me riddles to lecturing about politicians, policies, events, crime ....... the list is endless. I generally avoid the newspaper as well as news telecasts like the plague. Now I can't avoid it, because my PIB (personal information bureau) insists on updating me on all events. The man not be very 'educated' in the generally accepted sense of the term. However, his awareness, his thought process and his desire to change stuff makes me really wonder! This man is far away from home; it does not stop him from taking on responsibility for the treatment of his sister who has oesophageal cancer. "I know a lot of big big doctors in big big hospitals" he says brimming with pride. "I know Sanju baba and I could have touched him also for help, but he is sitting in jail" he says of his former employer. It is amusing listening to his stories of all the bigwigs including foreigners he has driven around his city. "There is a lot I want to write", he says. "I would like to write to the PM, but don't know how to put my thoughts together on paper. I want to ask him: Why do these politicians bother about foreign investments, when they can't use our own resources properly? Why do we depend on outside technology? What do we lack? Why can't we do our own jobs ourselves when we can go abroad and work for them to develop technologies that they then sell back to us? Why do we break our heads and fight neighbouring countries when we cannot control crime in our own country? Look at the Naxalites, look at the rapists who don't think twice before violating babies of 3 years. What kind of people are those? Why don't the police do anything about them?" His concerns include the farmers who commit suicide because of loans they can't repay, land acquisitions by the government to allow rich businessmen set up their businesses, admiration for the likes of Nana Patekar. "Stupid programme 'Bigg Boss'" he says. "What is that programme going to achieve? Is it going to solve any of our country's problems?" And the list goes on. "Will you listen to this cassette? It lasted the entire 12 hour journey from here to home" he says and switches on a Sai Baba cassette. He's my advisor on what films are interesting ..... it is a different matter whether I find them interesting or otherwise. Often the talk veers to disillusionment with the medical profession and anger that the 'government is doing nothing to find a cure against cancer'. It takes some effort to make him understand that there is no known 'cure' world wide and that there are many factors besides pollution and adulteration of foods (such as genetic predispositon, viral infections etc.) that could cause cancer. Despite all that wisdom, there is one thing I can't seem to make him give up - chewing tobacco. :-( Friday plays an important part in my life - I had a Woman Friday all along, now this latest addition is my Man Friday.