Thursday, 12 November 2009

Khan Chacha

Wisdom is an ability in which you learn most profound things, from the least expected sources.

To elucidate, knowledge is thrown at us from all possible directions, some useful, some crap. Its upto us to pick them up and process them. Specially at times when we don’t want to be educated.

I wouldn’t say I am a wise person, but I did come across one. Who was kind enough to share it with me. Which led me to think, “I am such a numbskull !!!”

He’s a Taxi Driver.

Tuesday evening I got dropped off at a signal by my friend, from where I jumped into the nearest taxi available. I was greeted by this man who is old enough to be my grandfather.

He was fairly wheat skinned, possibly an Afghan or Pakistani, white hair crowned with a black prayer cap. But his best feature was the snow white beard framing his face in the most regal manner. The kind of royalty on his face that makes you immediately respect him. And the kind of a big broad shouldered frame which made you want to cuddle in his arms and crib about everything in the world. Okay I’ll get out of my 5 year old self.

I was having a rough week as I had had two major brawls with my close friends. For trying to be honest about something. This apart from other issues haunting me.

Me : Assalam Alaikum Khan Saab, Bur Dubai chale

(Peace be on you Mr. Khan, to Bur Dubai please)

Taxi Chacha : Walaikum as salaam, Main to nahi chalunga, par doosra driver bhej dunga aapke saath. Sach baat batau to poora din zaleel hua hu, abhi abhi workshop se nikla hu aur meri halat bohat kharab hai.

(And Peace be on you as well. Well, I wont be able to take you, but I will have another driver drop you, In all honesty, I have had an insulting day and returned from the workshop just now, I am very tired)

I asked if I should get down, and if he wanted to go home and rest. He said he would go home anyway, but would leave me with his partner driver to drop me to my home.

For those who don’t know, In UAE, every taxi has 2 drivers. One for the daytime, and his partner for the night. This way, taxi operates 24x7, and drivers get to decide with their partner which shift goes to whom.

There on ensued a conversation which made me realize some simple truths I’d conveniently chosen to forget in my week long cribbing mode.

Apparently, Chacha’s driving partner was a younger man, a newbie in the taxi world. I don’t know his name either, but I will use the name chacha gave him……Satan.

Apparently Satan was the reason why Chacha had had a very very bad day at work (sounds familiar doesn’t it). So Chacha had told satan for quite a while to get the car serviced, seems some bearings had come off, and satan kept procrastinating saying, “karenge karenge”. Which means, “I’ll do it, I’ll do it.” Which in turn means, “HAAAH In your dreams!!!!”

Eventually, Chacha let the car in the workshop on Monday evening, and early morning on Tuesday, went to the workshop to get it, which was again delayed for almost half a day…or maybe 3/4ths of his shift. No surprise that the workshop will filled with Satan’s minions. So After a lot of pushing and pulling at that front, he got the car, and by the time he was on the road, he had managed to do just 1/3rd of his daily target. Which meant his monthly target percentage would come down. Which meant he would get lesser salary this month. All because Satan was too lazy.

Chacha went on to tell me how satan had once jumped a red light, got caught by a policeman, and had no knowledge of Arabic or English. The smart cop told him, “Accept either that you jumped the signal, or you were speeding and couldn’t stop on time.”

Satan weighed his options and thought, “Haah, a light should be a lesser punishment than the speeding, speeding could have killed”. And he pleaded guilty for Red Light Jumping.

Cop went, “HAAH, Sucker!!!”

All in all, He was slammed with a fine of 30,000 AED. Which amounts to about 3.9 Lakh Indian Rupees. Obviously, Satan came crying to chacha for help.

And Chacha told him a loophole through which his fine could be waived. Chacha’s condition was simple, “DO NOT TAKE MY NAME.”

As you might have guessed, He got the partial waiver, AND he took Chacha’s name.

Another story about how the front tyre had gone bald and Satan was too afraid to go to the depot to get a change. He sent Chacha instead, saying that “I have a red mark in my file, they will fine me for the bald tyre and lack of Stepney”

Chacha promptly went and got it done, and when the question came about who was responsible, the authorities knew his partner was the clumsy oaf. Chacha had a clear record.Because of this, Chacha wasnt being assigned a new taxi either. As his partner had the Accuracy of a pelican.

I told Chacha to stop helping him.

Chacha let out a sigh and told me, “I don’t bother much now. My elders used to tell a story of a traveller who saw a scorpion sinking in a bucket of water. The scorpion struggled to get out, and the traveller put his hand in, and took the scorpion out, which conveniently stung him. The man dropped it back. And people asked him, “Why did you put your hand, you know it’s a scorpion and it will sting.” And the traveller replied, “It is my habit, I cant let him drown, and he stung me according to his own habit.”

Just like that traveller, I cannot change this guy, but if he is in trouble. I cant stop myself from helping.”

And then he pointed his forefinger to the sky and said the magic words. “I do it in the name of Allah. He knows my deeds and my intentions. And those who do it for him, they leave it to him with faith."

Here was a personification of the phrase, “Neki kar aur dariya me daal” (Perform Good deeds and throw them in the ocean)

A big grin crossed my face and I opened my eyes to this age old lesson.

What made the maximum impact was, that even after all this crazy day antics he had been through, his shoulders were still firm, his neck was held upright, he had the same voice which makes you call out to your enemies and say, “Touch me, my grandpa will tear your limbs with his bare hands.” And his demeanour was nothing but Energetic.

I was Stunned. This man was fighting to survive and keep bettering himself, at an age when he should be snoring on porch chairs with a cup of tea resting by him alongside open books written by dead poets. And he was full of life at it. Not a hint of complain.

I felt like saluting him, and slapping myself. I couldn’t help but deciding that this is how I am gonna live my life.

Journey was coming to an end, he slowed down searching for Satan to take over.

Now I knew for sure this wasn’t the same satan who possesses little children and makes them talk in weird voices. But when I saw him, All I could think of was, “You serious?? This guy?? He isn’t even capable of possessing his own undergarments.”

He turned around and gave me a grin like he was happy to be alive. And then he drove like he wanted to die.

P.s. Chacha is going to get a new partner, an old timer like himself, from his own village back home. And both the old timers are eager to get started. And they will be getting a brand new car too :D


Meetz said...

I am serious..dead serious like many times before.. Faraz you should write a book and get it published! period.

susie said...

agrees with meeta.. :) awesome write up :)

@topic: well, isnt that what they call the old world charm.. :)