If you thought travelling in an unknown city is easy when you have a few internet-based cab services, you were wrong. Yes, you read right! As much as I rely on these services too, the dear drivers also love to give us a hard time. If you’re still not convinced and think that “so what, there are the local cabs too” (whom we all know that they love to loot tourists), let me elucidate about my very cab-shitty day in Mumbai to let you know that neither is better than the other!
Okay, so the first cab we booked was an internet-based one (I don’t wish to defame them only because back in Kolkata I have not had to face such excess hassles with them). It was from Chembur to Breach Candy, a location near Haji Ali Dargah. The cab showed to be 10 minutes away, and it stayed there for the next 10 minutes at the exact SAME location. It did not move a single bit. I called the driver thrice. He did not receive the call either. Quite frustrated, I cancelled.
I booked another one for the same destination and it arrived on time. Satisfied, I sat in peace and was reading a book while keeping tabs on the route by keeping the cab-app open on my phone. After a while, I saw that we had taken a different route which seemed pretty narrow. Now, I have been to that location in Breach Candy before and as much as I cannot say the exact location, I know for sure that the main roads lead to it directly. It seemed though that this guy had only rerouted because he was still following the new route being shown to him. Fair enough. Then we crossed the same location of a chowk a second time. He had already entered another narrow street when I turned Google Maps on and told him the way out. We were back at the chowk and he was about to take a third wrong street detour when I told him that please just follow my directions. The man does not know how to follow maps and he’s driving a cab based on just that, and moreover, he will not acknowledge he doesn’t know where to go and confidently drives through the wrong route costing his passengers a waste of time!
Our next cab was to be taken from Breach Candy to Dadar. This time I called the driver and told him to come to our location, a place which was easily accessible to cars. It had started raining heavily and taking shelter in a shop, I was keeping tabs on where he is. We called each other a few times, him asking me where to come and my telling him to come to our location (“bhaiyya, aap location pe aa jao” – he understood and said okay, for the record), but I am not sure what he understood because he went to another location and declared he has reached and inevitably after 5 minutes the cab got cancelled.
After the rains reduced to some extent, we went to the main road and decided to take a kali-peeli. The first one agreed to go and by the time we were to sit, he took another passenger and smiled while we complained to say that – “madam, Link Road ka mil gaya!” (Madam, the new passenger is of Link Road). The next one agreed to take us and by listening to us speak in Bengali, he started asking questions about Bengalis and next if we’d been to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link or not. He offered to take us there as a detour, and making us believe that it is a slight turn away we agreed. This was just after we got seated and then I called my Mumbai-living sister, who told me he is making a fool out of us since it is quite the other way. We, of course, immediately told him to take a u-turn which he was unwilling to take. And then we yelled and told him that the car in front of us just took one so to listen to what we are saying. Good, we were back on track and I was back to checking whether this man is taking us the right way. He was, great.
The other thing which the cab driver did was, well, let’s say both disgusting and hilarious. He farted, a silent one and it had our handkerchiefs flying to cover our noses at once. This isn’t even the end of it because when he realized what he had done, he immediately sprayed some deodorant in the car! I think by now I have told this episode to a lot of people I know only because of how well informed the man was of his actions!
The second last was a matter of sheer misfortune. We were to take the infamous Bandra-Worli Sea Link finally as we were going to Bandra and this was worth the detour. The internet-based cab services were quite far away so we took a kali-peeli. It had started raining again and this time it was worse than before. Just before getting on to the Sea Link, our cab’s diesel emptied. Luckily the man was polite, he offered to find us another ride before leaving with his limited petrol to go to the petrol pump. It was raining cats and dogs, and we were inside a cab just beside the sea. The man didn’t find an empty cab quite naturally because the Sea Link is a toll road. We booked a cab off the internet and it was 10 minutes away. We called the man back inside, lest he gets drenched and then had a brilliant idea (definitely not so) to wait outside under our umbrellas.
It was windy, the umbrellas barely could protect us from the winds and the rain, and all of us were drenched by then. All that was left to happen was for the sea to gulp us down – that terrifying. Yet, there was a couple in a raincoat being all mushy, kudos to you two. The cab came and we changed the destination to go back to Chembur, we had had enough. And for seeing the sight around while on the Sea Link, you may ask? All we could see was the sea and the rain becoming one single grey entity and no beauty which a sunny day might have offered.
It rained with the same intensity all night long and the next day as well. (The bridge at Andheri collapsed, so you can imagine what kind of calamity we were stuck in!) Bombay rains, cab mishaps and barely being able to visit much that day, we were only glad to get back indoors.