If morning moods could be classified into types, I would fall under the ‘grumpy riser’ group.
Out of all the things that I am, I am not a morning person. I hate the pressure that the world puts on you which demands you to be all fresh, energetic and gay as soon as your eyes catch the morning light.
My morning theme song, undoubtedly, is Bittersweet Symphony.
Goes without saying, this morning melancholy reaches new heights on Mondays. If Monday was a person, it would have been dead by now.
On one particular gloomy Monday morning, my brain decided that it was finally time to get out of slumber mode at 11 AM. 11-effing-AM! No points to guess what happened next –
I went back to sleep for 5 more minutes.
Yes, I can get quite shameless when I want to.
When mummy refused to end her very sarcastic “Why did you sleep at 3 AM last night? You should’ve stayed up for a bit longer na” lecture, I had no option but to get out of bed and hurry through my morning routine.
After a lot of contemplation, I finally decided to take a bath. Usually, that’s the first thing I skip when I’m running late for work. Or just running late for anything in general.
I don’t particularly enjoy taking a bath because unlike most people, I feel extremely sleepy after a shower instead of feeling as fresh as the girls from those sanitary napkin advertisements.
Me taking a bath may have made my mother a little happy, but to me, it just further delayed the rest of my schedule.
Knowing how bad my luck usually is, I was prepared for the worst, and worst is what life gave me. It hadn’t even been 2 minutes since I stepped out of the house when it started raining.
Do you know what’s the worst part about taking the local bus? It’s watching people who came after you, leave before you. And I had to watch that for a good 20 minutes.
Can this life be any more unfair?
My daily commute to work involves me taking 2 buses. The first bus drops me at the highway, and the second one takes me further from there. If I’m feeling rich enough to spend 10 bucks more than what the bus ticket would cost me, I take one of those shared cabs.
Since I was already running super-late, I took the first option that I got. A kaali-peeli slowed down as soon as it got closer to the bus stop in the hopes of luring passengers to spend those extra 10 bucks. The driver was a middle-aged man with rugged skin which seemed to hide a lot of young hopes in its cracks, he sported a long beard and a white skull cap. There was another guy sitting in the passenger seat. I asked the driver whether he would take me to my destination. He agreed; so I got in.
The other guy got down just 2 minutes later and the driver politely asked me to sit ahead in the passenger seat which was now vacant.
I gave a surprised look and all the lessons I’d learnt by watching Crime Patrol instantly surfaced in my mind. But I’ve always loved passenger seats, mainly because I’ve grown to believe that I can never drive. Hence, sitting next to the driver was the closest I could get to driving. Without thinking much, I got out and took the seat. I continued to get grumpier with each time the driver stopped at the bus stops on the way to get more passengers. This guy was definitely not helping me with my whole running-late-scenario.
After 5 minutes of total silence, the driver decided to strike a conversation.
Now, I’ve always been a people-hater, and moreover, a people-who-force-me-to-talk-hater. I enjoy silence and I love not being disturbed more than anything else. I wasn’t reading or even listening to music while I was in the cab, which is why I thought it would be rude to end the conversation as soon as it started.
“Do you work or are you still studying?”
“My niece graduated this year and bagged a job at a bank two months ago. She got me a gift for Eid with her own money. I’m so proud of her!”
“These days, it’s become so difficult even for educated people to find good jobs. These computers are replacing human beings which is why even educated people with degrees are running around in the search of jobs. God knows how tough is it going to be for our grandkids!”
“Do you take the cab regularly?”
Okay. Don’t answer that question. He could possibly be a kidnapper and is trying to wring information from me. But why would he want to kidnap me of all people? Do I look like a rich person when I take a bath?
“Umm…do you take the cab regularly?”
Not regularly; only sometimes.
“Be careful when you get into a cab. People can be dangerous; sometimes even passengers. Drivers, especially, are not always vigilant while driving. I watched a video on WhatsApp of an Ola cab ramming into the divider, the bonnet being torn into two halves.”
I was taken aback; pleasantly surprised actually. I was starting to sense safety in this guy’s words.
That’s horrible! I have always been terrified of driving. My father keeps telling me that I should get a bike, but I keep dismissing the idea. I think I can never feel confident enough to drive.
“Confidence comes with practise and experience. Also, one’s attitude while driving matters a lot. I have been driving this cab for 28 years now, but I still tell myself that I don’t know everything yet. This thought keeps me from getting too comfortable on the road and that’s why I’m always careful. When you get overconfident, you tend to get less cautious.”
That’s absolutely correct.
“Ask your father to buy you a car instead of a bike. That’s a safer option.”
I chuckled and asked him to pull up a few metres away as it was time for me to get down, and so he did. As I was just about to leave, he called out to me and said “I’m sorry I asked you to sit in the passenger seat. I only did so because I didn’t want you to get uncomfortable if any male passenger(s) boarded the cab. Have a nice day!”
With that kind statement and a smile, he left to take care of the rest of his day.
I have always used public transport all my life, I take myself to movies and sit alone in a café every once in a while. But I’m never open to encouraging conversations from strangers. I used to be a very talkative child, that’s what my parents tell me. I don’t know when and why did I stop being an active participant in conversations.
I wonder how many memories I must have stopped from happening only because I was building these high walls around me.
Most people are kind, they’re gorgeous. It’s amazing to see how much our kind is like us.
I didn’t ask the cab driver what his name was, but it did not matter. I had a great Monday and he definitely had a part to play in it.