Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taxi Philosophy

Almost 4 months post our exams results werent yet declared and adrelanine and whichever harmone is responsible for the feeling of frustration were being developed overtime in my body.So i readily accepted the invitation from my uncle to accompany him to shirdi.Under such circumstances even atheists say their small prayers and i being a believer had almost prepared a small speech to read out before Him. On 12th night after a days long journey by bus I returned to mumbai.On our return trip from Shirdi to Mumbai I had to switch my window seat with my uncle under the pretext of discomfort to avoid the sight of a lady venting her digestive fluids and victuals leftovers through the window right in front of mine.My uncle oblivious of the intentions readily agreed.However I missed the picturesque route from Shirdi to Mumbai which entices me more during monsoons.
The bus dropped us at Dadar East at about 9.30pm. I had 2 bags with me and some delicate stuff to take care of.Cursing the designers of the bag for overlooking the ergonomics I began hunting for a taxi (I dont imitate american terminology "Cab" for pretension of "Cool-dum").Dadar being a famous entry gate into the city of mumbai , tha taxi drivers here really take you for a ride.Last time when I had hired one on my way back from hyderabad, I paid more money for the 13 km drive than the 790 km journey from mumbai to hyderabad by train.The faulty meter had shown 27 + kms and those being night hours I ended up shelling over 450 rs.My dad had bestowed upon me all the existing adjectives depicting a moron in devanagri script.This time the strategy was to leave the taxi at bandra and hire the suburban mode of transportation ie. an auto from then onwards. After receiving a negative nod from almost 10 taxi drivers I spotted one waiting at one of the gulli ends near the main road. Subscribing to my strategy of courtesy I asked the driver "Chacha Bandra Chalenge??"( Will u drop me at bandra ?) A positive nod atlast....
The driver was an old Muslim guy with their traditional cap and long white beard.His taxi was very well maintained and he folded the news paper he was reading to open the door at my side, and neatly placed it in the drawer below the dashboard.A Green tubelight enlightened the interiors.Fragrance of an incense stick intoxicated the ambiance.My eyes stuck to the meter from the moment I got in. The last taxi driver who had duped me owned a tea stall if this taxi was a 3 star restraunt.I was foreseeing a tussle on this pleasant looking thug's demand of 1000 rs.Cursing myself for not carrying my cellphone I kept meditating on the meter.However to my surprise when we reached Mahim it read only 2 kms inspite of all the traffic.It started raining and the poor guy while driving turned the windows up at my side too juggling between the steering and the window handle of the rear window.
Silence after some time becomes a bit irritating when two kind souls destined to exchange philosophy are within the perimeters of speech.After a long drive of 2 minutes(Considering the traffic conditions in mumbai between 9-10.30 pm on a rainy day 2 minutes of drive is parallel to one complete round of the grand prix circuit) and a halt at one of the jams near the mahim causeway words materialised from his side.He asked me where do I intend to go? I told him my destination, he promised me to fetch me an auto till the destination and consulted me to catch one in east after descending the flyover.I put a quick glance at the meter.It read 2.5. I was pleasantly surprised.A perfect meter.I calculated the difference , and finally concluded that i would take the taxi till my home.It would just cost me 80 rs more but I would reach home comfortably.I asked him whether he would drop me, he agreed.
A major traffic jam awaited us at Bandra east.The taxi halted, he again lowered the windows on my side as well as his. He then asked me " son returning from native place? "I said ,"no had been to a small pilgrimage".He replied " people at your age go to pilgrimage to ask Him to grant some wish."I smiled back I said "well you may say so."He then asked me about my education.I began calculating those years after 10th.I had come across this situation earlier with one of the autorickshaw drivers.When I told him I was a mechanical engg. exploring the field of IT after spending millions of my gray cells translating that sentence into hindi he had bluntly asked how many years after 10th.So I began calculating ,and finally gave up then told him am a mech engg and if things go right will be an IT graduate too.To my surprise the taxi driver understood and immidiately bestowed a "padakhu"(hindi for scholar) title upon me. He then said "you may not like it but I feel I.T is useless" I replied well "what makes you say so ?" He said" it replaces people with computers and that is the last thing we want in this country" On another occassion I would have cut the conversation and lit a cigaratte , but somehow this person appealed my mind.His ettiquetes & his flawless hindi lured me into taking the risk of carrying the conversation a bit further to glance at the scenario from his point of view.
Well, such situations can be very risky if your judgement about the person misses.These people can chew your brains all along the road bombarding you with remnants of articles in the newspapers which they read.The newspapers they subscribe to publish articles which are case studies on bad writing and they further galvanise it through their wit.Such conversations generally end with them trying to convince you about they being more knowledgable than anyone around.This "THEY" include taxi drivers,auto drivers, lonely "uncles" u meet in the train on official duty travellin in second class while claiming the fare for first class.
So our conversation continued I told him that I.T infact is responsible for generating maximum job opportunities in India.Silence reigned again as his leg enjoyed the touch of accelarator for some time.After some moments we must have reached Khar and again the wheels halted. He replied,"Well in that case whats the use of computers and I.T if so many people are needed."I began translating the answer into hindi in my mind about the advantages of I.T viz. ease of work,accuracy of data,security of data,higher speed, greater levels of standardisations but before the thoughts could be shaped as words he spoke again." Son no nation can thrive without food , water, clothing and defence.What I.T is doing is shifting the employment from the poorer class to the middle or higher middle class.Its shifting the focus from villages to the metros.It is making us dependant on other nations who need these services in abundance.We earn foriegn exchange from them and then because our focus is on the service sectors we import infrastructure and basic necessities from them.While they are busy producing the basic things we are investing our energies and resources in the service sector.Moreover they earn the money which they give us for hiring our services back when we buy these basic things from them at higher costs.The government talks of growth but those percentages and numbers are no good than ink on paper.Real growth will take place when common people will own assets.What assets do people reaping profits from shares in IT sectors have?unlike production or agro based industries where there is machinery, land , stocks, livestocks.Now if u observe closely food,petroleum,spices and other necessary commodities' prices are sky rocketing but useless things of luxuries like AC,TV,mobiles, are becoming cheaper.This proves what we are surplus at and what we are lagging behind in.This kind of economy is designed for the rich where in a specific class gets richer while the common man of India gets poorer.Moreover such development strategies also make countries dependant on trading partners.Its like exchanging chapatis with toothpaste with my neighbours.If I have surplus chapatis I command where as if I got toothpaste one fine day my neighbour may say I will brush my teeth with salt dont need your toothpaste."
I was listening paitently to what he was saying.Probably if not all of it most of it made sense.His point of views were based on common sense and simple examples and not on theories taught in the books on economics and sociology.Moreover if what economists were taught made sense there would never have been problems in the generation and distribution of the resources amongst all.
Such conversations make me wonder if common-sense is the tool,with which knowledge which is omnipresent, can be tapped.And whether academic institutions have their focus set on imparting the skills of justifications rather than solutions to various problems which arise in the multiple domains of sciences.............


Rahul Parab said...

hey buddy nice post..keep on posting ....rahul

Sanket said...

thanks buddy ,its very encouraging,my first comment

Salil Mirashi said...

Superb!!!.as I said before....And i say it again!!!

Rahul said...

gr8 men,keep on writing