8.15 pm. Land in Mumbai. And let me begin by bragging- from a business class flight, – you know what that means, you have your own bed in the sky and a clean toilet, so no cattle class woes .. (Did I say that too soon?)
8.40 pm. cleared immigration. Fun of coming in business class that you can move forward while the rest commoners have to toil through the long q.
8.45 pm. waiting for luggage.
9.15 pm. Still waiting for luggage.
9.30 pm. Continue waiting for luggage. 45 minutes now. Whatever happened to the “priority” tag? I thought I would get my luggage like this (with a flick of the finger) and head home.
9.45 pm. fuming now. What the blisters are they doing? The entire world is waiting, so it can’t be lost luggage. And my car must be here by now. I had told them to reach by 9.40 pm. There it comes, finally I can see the pink lace, earmarking my suitcase. (thank God, nobody here knew I came from the elitist class!)
9.45 pm. Call driver. Phone busy. Hmmm, why do I have multiple cabbie/ driver numbers?
9.46 pm. Call again. Are you Sharad? Driver says, Yes, but I am not coming, call the other number. What, why? I am in Pune, it is the other guy. Sigh.
9.47 pm. Call the other driver. Phone busy. What is with the phone busy!
9.48 pm. Call once again. Are you Kesar? No, I am Sandeep. Hain? From the cab service? Yes.
Me: where are you?
He: outside the airport.
Me: why aren’t you here?
He: I will come when you land.
Me: I HAVE LANDED. (you idiot)
He: oh ok, have you landed madam?
Me: No, I am calling from mid-flight. (sarcasm drooling)
He: ok, tell me when you have landed.
Me: I HAVE LANDED. Why aren’t you in the parking? By when will you reach?
He: Oh, you have landed madam, good, I will be there in 5 minutes. Please wait next to chai point.
10.00 pm. Call again. Phone busy.
10.01 pm. Call once again.
Me: where are you, 10 minutes gone!
He: coming madam, there is traffic. Will be there in 2 minutes. pls wait near chai point.
Me: !@#$%, Already there for past 10 minutes.
10.15 pm. Call twice again.
Me: It is half an hour! You still have no reached. You had to be here before 9.40.
He: coming madam. 2 minutes only.
10.30 pm. Call thrice again.
Me: 45 minutes over! What happened?
He: in parking madam, will just come and get you.
10.45 pm. Call fourth time again.
Me: will you come or not? It is 15 minutes past when you said you are in the parking.
He: coming madam.
10.50 pm. Call cabbie agency.
Me: your driver is really late. Been saying coming in 2 minutes for the past 45 minutes!
He: Let me check, madam. I will call you back.
Me: chai point beckoning. think maybe I will finally drink chai from chai point since driver will not come for another “2 minutes” at least. Me stands in queue.
He calling: madam, where are you?
Me: Where you told me. Chai point.
He: Can’t see you madam.
Me: look at me dancing away!!! (well not really)
Found each other. Gave him an earful. Heard some sorry madam’s. Too much traffic madams. Let us go, madam’s.
Reached the car. Key inserted in boot. Boot refuses to open. Trying left, right, press, pull, shove. Doesn’t work.
Me: forget the boot, we can keep suitcase inside. Let us go.
He: madam, key is not coming out, I need the key to start the car!
Another 20 minutes of push, pull, shove, kick, press. Finally, he jumped on the car boot and jumped on it till, key finally came out. Phew. Let us go to Pune now please.
20 minutes later, car stopped on side.
He: Madam, can you give me 1000 rs now and rest when I drop you?
Me: Why the hell should I, you come an hour late and now you want money, will give only when I reach.
He: No madam, can’t go, I have to give some money to him, (pointing at the other guy,) then I can take you.
Me calling cabbie agency
Me: I am not giving him money; I am angry and frustrated.
He: madam, please give na. it is the same amount only, before or after, how does it matter?
Me: rubbing my eyes, what choice do I have at 11.15 in the night. Need to get home as I have meetings. Ok, take it.
We move on. He on the phone. Time noted- from about 11.30 pm till about 12.30 am. Man, the guy can talk. Who is on the other side, I wonder?
We reach the ghats. He keeps the phone down. And is suddenly enegrised. Accelerates from Starts 80 to 120 kmph. Twists and turns. I hold on for dear life.
We cross the ghats. He stops at mid-way.
He: Madam, 2 minutes only. Bathroom.
1.20 pm. Half hour later, I see him standing and drinking chai. If he had to drink chai, I could have done that also, why did he say 2 minutes! @#$ People who make me miss chai are like…
1.25 pm. Driver back. Drives on at 140 kmph. Now I am scared. Is he angry because I showed my anger at Mumbai? Should I call the police?
Me: Bhaiya (in my sugar coated tone), can you pls drive slowly. There is no urgency.
He slows down. To 120 kmph.
After some time, he begins watching whatsapp videos while driving.
Me: !@#$. Which was worse, being on phone, or driving at 140 kmph, or watching videos?
Me: Bhaiya (sweetness personified), pls don’t watch videos while driving.
He complies. Finally lands me home.
He: madam, see I got you home on time.
Me: (!@#$,) bhaiya, your driving is too rash, but then I am in no state to give you feedback.
Heart palpitations subside. I drift off to sleep.
Alarm rings. It is Monday morning. Work day begins.