Monday, January 29, 2007

Of Idli Sambhar and North Indian Lungis

I don't know whether to call it his good luck or my bad luck. I happened to have taken a ride in an auto rickshaw, with a driver who perhaps had an opinion on everything you can find in a dictionary and more, and who made sure he expressed it. It's an excerpt from our conversation . Actually can't call it a conversation because it was him who was doing all the talking. Circa 2002, in the garden city, on one of my trips from the railway station to my destination

Opinionated Driver OD: Where are you from??
Harrassed passenger ie ME: Mumbai
OD: Are you north indian?
ME: No, why do you ask?
OD: From who are you then?
ME: What???
OD: I mean which caste you from?
ME: (thinking wt shd I say to shut him up..decide 2 stay silent)
OD: I hate North Indians.
ME: Hmmmm
OD: They spoiling my city. All shopping mall opening. Shopper stop is killing the lungi. No one wearing kannada outfits.
ME: (trying to act deaf)
OD: My son too forcing me to buy jeans. I told him no. It is not our dress.
ME: Why is that? In Mumbai, everyone wears whatever he wants.
OD: This is not Mumbai. Even no one eats the idli sambhar these days. All hotels give so much punjabi food and puris. Dosas are so tough to find.
ME: Why are you telling me all this?
OD: What are you here for?
ME: Have to meet someone.
OD: Whare are you staying?
ME: With the ppl who i'm gonna meet
OD: I have a house. They have increased tax rates.I'm looking for a tenant. Do you want to stay?
ME: (I'll have to be bitten by a mad dog for that. Yeah kiss me ass)!
OD: It's in Jayanagar. 4th Block. Very good area. The CM has his old house next to mine.
ME: ( your CM will have to be really old then, git)
OD: It has a new shopping mall. Very popular area.
ME: ( what abt the lungi culture, hypocrite)I'm here for a few days, I'll manage.
OD: The Congress government was good. BJP are all money minded. They spoiling my city.
ME: (hello, tht's democracy for you)
OD: They're gonna be voted out next time. The flyover on bannerghatta road has taken so long now. So much traffic.
ME: Ok, take a left. Stop right there.
OD: You wanted to go to BTM na?
ME: Oh, I have to meet another friend first. Just remembered.

I paid him whatever the meter showed. I swear I could hear him whispering to himself, bloody north indian. If only I could take him for a ride in Mumbai!

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