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Miscellaneous Reflections on Life and People

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    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.
     
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  2. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchitananda,

    Always you take an unusual topic for discussion and make it interesting.
    Talking to drivers or simply listening to them provide us with many interesting informations, especially about politics in Tamilnadu.Some drivers get a pulse of our mind when we reply in a word or two.If you are too silent, they will straight away ask you whether there was any problem in our house. If any girl on the road drives fast they would make unwanted comments about girls in general , their behaviour,way of dressing etc and lead the topic to raping crimes.Similar comments would be passed about sastris and pundits who travel without shirts but only with an upper lace.
    I have heard that during night travels, it is better to keep the driver engaged in talking so that he may not suddenly fall asleep even for a second.
    It is said that talking to passengers is far better than talking over cell phone.
    There are people who say that driving has no connection whatsoever with talking over cell phone.

    Some people process information more verbally than visually; others more visually than verbally. Going solely by the nature of the input, cell phone talking is primarily a verbal task; driving is primarily a visual task. Cell phone users who are primarily verbal processors potentially represent a smaller percentage of cell users involved in car accidents, because talking on the phone doesn’t place as much attentional demand on what is their dominant processing mode.
    But when accidents do happen we forget all about the brain processing-left hemishere or right-we concentrate on the victims.

    However boring it is, it is better to have a talking driver than a serious one who may land us in deep trouble if he falls asleep.Even if one of the family members drives, it is better to keep the conversation going.
    This Oct 4th proved to be a very bad day for our family.My sister's grandson aged 32 was travelling in his car from Hyderabad to Bangalore with his wife aged 28 and twin kids aged 3.As the car was about 90 kilometers from Bangalore, my sister's grandson, drivng the car, dozed for a while and hit against a culvert even as his wife and children were sleeping at the back seat.The accident would not have happened if his wife was awake and kept him engaged.With toddler children, she would have felt tired after attending a wedding.
    The impact was too bad.The boy died on the spot.The wife had a head injury.Children escaped unhurt.Since it was half way, there was no one to help or identify.The girl who was conscious for a while telephoned to her sister-in-law in Bangalore( the boy's brother) and became unconscious.
    Rest need not be narrated.after 6 long days, the girl regained her consciousness only to know of the sad demise of her husband.They were married only in 2011.
    The kids are playing and say with pride that their father has become a shining star in the sky and after a few days, their mother would take them there.

    I read a joke in a magazine. Owner of a car appointed a new driver.He was extremely calm and unusually quiet.The owner was very much pleased because there was no controversy,Less talk, the better.
    One fine day during travel, the owner wanted the driver to stop the car for shopping.The owner who was sitting at the back touched on his back lightly and told him to stop the car at a convenient stop. The driver took away both his hands from the wheel and started shouting and shrieking uncontrollably.Luckily nothing happened.The owner pacified him , gave him some water and asked him what the matter was.
    The driver replied that he was all along working as a driver only in mortuary vans where he had to drive alone with the dead body. It became his habit to keep quiet. Now as somebody patted on his back he became very nervous as he was in his old thoughts.
    Be careful with the driver, whether calm or talkative.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    So true JS Ma'am. It is quite difficult to find a driver who is 'safe'. So far, I don't feel I have had cause to worry about this one. As far as his driving habits are concerned, he does not pick up the mobile, no matter how much it rings, as long as he is driving.

    Talking of falling asleep at the wheel, this happened to BH about 15 years ago. He used to get called out on night calls and I used to insist on accompanying him to hospital - did not like the idea of his driving alone in the night, so gave him some 'Purusha tunnai' :rotfl . One night, I was talking and suddenly the car went over the divider and he jerked awake. He had fallen asleep momentarily at the wheel.

    Am so sorry to hear about your sister's grandson. Such a tragedy. Can't even start to imagine what his wife must be going through, leave alone his parents and her parents to see her in this state.

    Thanks for the lovely FB.
     
  4. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Satchi:
    I was so amused by your excellent writeup. I have had many drivers on my trips to India but of course we have our preferred drivers when possible. Most of my drivers in Delhi have been Sikhs and the driver I have used the last couple trips is a young clean shaven guy from north Delhi. Somehow with this kid it is one big family.....and everyone I know has somehow gotten dragged into it. When I used him three years ago he had just been married (love marriage) at the young age of 22. Near the end of my stay I learned his pregnant wife was spotting and they were worried about the pregnancy. Last year I was on pins and needles to ask the outcome of all this and found out he was divorced. He says she cheated me. His father who I also know subsequently was bemoaning the divorce. Now here is the interesting part.....he didn't care it was love marriage, he didn't actually have a problem that there was a divorce....but his beef was that they only were married six months. That apparently was the biggest crime in the whole scenario. Also from this driver I get the chance comments that get me in the middle of something. Like they are planning to buy an autorickshaw in addition to their van which then irritates the guesthouse folks where I am staying because they haven't paid back to them the loan on the van yet. My dentist is fascinated with the financial symbiosis this guy and I have. I never ask him the price, we drive around, he tells me some price, we might talk about it and adjust it a little, and everyone is happy. One day we have taken my Tibetan friend and her kid (the cleft lip kid from my other threads) to have a checkup. So I want to stop for food and Tibetan friend says no I have to get back and we end up with no food and arrive back at the guesthouse famished. The driver and I raid the kitchen and share some leftovers.
     
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  5. vaidehi71

    vaidehi71 IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi
    @Satchi a very beautiful narrative and quite true. But I am also quite interested in the politics and economics ( probably reflection of getting old) and feeling more like my dad. I used to wonder what was there in the news and other things by dad was seeing and I was young and used to be interested only in anything of entertainment in media. Now I can understand as time grows and one matures there is definite change in the way a person thinks and atleast I feel I have definitely changed as I am looking outside the box I was used to and I am quite at ease to discuss things in politics etc ( though more of the local one of the one I am currently living) and I feel that education has nothing to do with interest on a range of things. I have seen lots of people who have are educated but have very little interest in society and community as whole and that is quite sad, whereas some with less education are trying their best or helpful for the communities improvement. Nice to hear atleast some of them are doing so and I agree and like your driver for his knowledge.

    @ Jayasala mam, really sad to hear the news. I do agree that when driving we need to make sure the driver does not doze off. The more the reason any person who is driving long distances need to have break in their journeys and have a rest and drive again. More over it would be better not to drive at night especially if they had not enough sleep. I had been doing shift work and I had on some occasions for a fraction of second dozed at the wheel whilst driving back home here. My God could not believe it, I had to wake up and and shake my head and really keep my eyes open and drive safely especially since I was driving at 80km/hr. Thereafter I always used to have a cup of coffee and be more vigilant as I had to drive back alone after work. It is quite a common scenario and we need to be more aware of it.
     
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  6. jskls

    jskls Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Satchi,Nice write-up. Keen observation on day to day happenings. Reading your snippet reminded me of a tour guide in one of the carribean island who knew so much about the world/politics/history/different cultures around the world and who could frame it in vocab rich language though he was raised in a poor country. Some drivers are well aware of the current events and are knowledgeable in politics too. There was another cab (sikh) driver whom I could never forget. My dad used his cab to take my mom to hospital and bring her back in the same cab. He refused to take money for the ride because my mom didn't make it. whenever I drive beyond 9P, my LO will make sure I am not falling asleep and will keep checking on me time to time until we reach home.
    Dozing off behind the wheel is a risky one. @Jayasala42 mam truly sorry for the loss. I have had issues trying to avoid dozing off even in broad daylight. I try to be more alert with extra dose of caffeine though. Having company in the car helps. Also I read somewhere we could use the driving time to talk important issues with our kids which they would want to discuss avoiding eye contact and I religiously follow that.
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    What a delight it is to hire a driver cum PIB! The drivers are the best source of information traditionally for many years. If someone needs to know more about the happenings at home of the owners, drivers are the best source. They can articulate from who is the boss of the house to which school the children are studying to who the owners hate the most. It is smarter to hire a driver on a need basis than having a regular driver. The information booth works both ways.

    Let me narrate a driver of a private car owned by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament who generously offered the vehicle for us to tour Simla when we visited New Delhi in 1985. My friends and his family were in the car. The driver was unusually quiet most of the time and in addition, we had language issue as he can speak only Hindi. We reached Simla without any event. On our way back, we had a flat tire and he had to change it. Besides, it looked like he had prior commitments in New Delhi to return and he was driving the ghat section almost at 80 to 100 KMs per hour. Despite all our warnings, he kept driving at high speed as though he never understood our instruction. We reached a crowded town where he had to slow down considerably but he was still trying to speed up when he had no space to move the vehicle on the road. He ended up hitting another car and suddenly we saw a whole lot of gundas walking towards our car. Our driver started doing fist fight with those gundas. It took a lot of effort by all of us to bring him back from the hands of gundas as otherwise, he would have been certainly injured or died leaving us on the streets. Fortunately, we not only saved his life but also reached New Delhi safely.

    Viswa
     
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  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Satchi
    So you could get hold of a garrulous driver from God's Own Country? Good for you! I have greater affinity for auto drivers than the snobbish liveried chauffeurs. Auto drivers are greater fun. I have a couple of regular ones who drive me around the nook and corner of the city. I prefer an auto when there is a traffic jam or when I have to get into very crowded areas. Auto can get into and out of any traffic situation. All that the drivers of auto look for is for some space to get the single front wheel in. If you had seen the James Bond movie 'Octopussy' or the Pierce Brosnon commercial for Visa Card, you would know what I mean!

    Auto drivers are a multifaceted personality. They can sing, mimic and talk on all local subjects. Their favourite is 'Hollywood Kisu Kisu' and when you hear them on this subject, you will realise how woefully lack-lustre is our own column on the subject in IL. They deify their favourite actors like Rajni, Ajith and Vikram. Once I spoke rather unkindly of a favourite actor of an auto driver whom I had engaged to go to Central Station. His reaction was instant. He drove like a demented driver despite my pleadings and I was getting an uncomfortable feeling that instead of reaching the Central Station, I might be landing in the imposing General Hospital on the other side of the road! After that incident, I first measure up the driver's preferences by looking at the various stickers pasted in it. This will give us a clue about his religious faith, favourite stars and politicians and I make it a point not to comment on any of them. Once a driver kept singing all the way to my destination and when I got down, I remarked to him that he had a nice voice and could sing so well. He refused to take anything more than what was shown on the meter!
    Sri
     
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  9. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Satchi,

    Of course you needed a driver like that! No doubt about it. I am very chatty and love to hear from auto guys when I visit. Fortunately for me most experiences have been good considering I speak the local language and believe it or not almost all of them end up telling me that I need to be more careful for I appear to be too naive for a big city like that!

    Form what you speak of this guy, there seems to be so much goodness about him especially when he genuinely speaks of cancer and it's treatments. He has a point on every thing you know - there is a saying that says "Win first in the house and then you can win outside". So much can be done with in! I am happy that you have found someone reliable, touch-wood and knowing your needs you do need one and if he is entertaining you with hsi stories even better. Enjoy the ride :)
     
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  10. Scorpio707

    Scorpio707 Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Satchi,

    A nice write up. Isn't it amazing that cabbies and rick drivers have so much raw information and have knowledge in spite of little or no education. It's the power of the common man. I have also encountered situations while commuting where the drivers tend to pick on topics and talk all the way until you reach. But not everyone is like that...haven't we seen them act smart, trying to sing, adjusting the mirrors and all seeking attention :)
     
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