Of cab rides…

I needed to get to Raghuvanshi Mills this morning by 11 am for work. On normal days this would not be a problem. I would sit in the car, and say in calm, measured tones, “Tulsi Pipe Road, le lo, jahan pe High Street Phoenix aur Collective hai, Jahan hum us din poora din andar rahe aur tumne phone kiya aur poocha Madam, sab theek hain na….”

Alas and alack, this is Ganapati festival time and time for said driver to take around 10 days of his annual leave and go visit his native village. Which leaves me, to say the least, lost. It started with me chewing off the spouse’s delectable ears last night (no, not in the manner you are thinking, gentlefolk) while he tried to read a book on derivatives. A book which demands peace and quiet and no panic stricken wife asking for road maps and directions when it is being read.

“What is the fastest route to reach Tulsi Pipe Road,” I broached gingerly. Me being a non driver.

“Train,” he grunted, fully intent on scaring the blush right off my cheeks.

“Train,” I blanched. True to form. Before I get them righteous folk who give me a dressing down on looking down on travel by local train, let me insert right here, that I do not look down on travel by local train, but I have over the course of the past decade that I’ve stopped travel by trains, lost the essential survival skills requisite to negotiate train travel.  I did travel by train every single day of my life before that. There. Now with that out of the way.

“You know,” I said in mournful tone, “Things have changed so drastically since I last travelled by train. Ticket windows have changed locations. Platforms are different. The trains themselves are different. It will be a challenge, but let me try.”

I gave the man a sly look. “What could happen. At the worse, I will get off at the wrong station and get into a cab that takes me to a place I dont know, and strips me of all my jewellery and slits my throat.”

The man raised his eyebrow, looked at me like I had just deposited my brains in the dustbin before this conversation. And the next morning, he dropped me off to my meeting. Of course, he did tie it up with a visit he had to make, but that is incidental.

Yes, yes, tell me again why I love him so much.

I was unfortunately on my own for the return journey. Mustering up all my courage I stepped into a cab. It was a quick efficient ride back to Bandra, where, in the true spirit of thriftiness, I disembarked and got into an autorickshaw for the rest of the journey back to the boondocks where I operate from. Returning back to one’s place of origin is not as terrifying. One knows the route and the destination. It is the going to unfamiliar places without trusted mode of transport that freaks me out.

God help me if I have ever to do a cross continental journey on my own! I can just see myself wondering if I could be driven across.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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21 Responses to Of cab rides…

  1. aneela z says:

    tut tut..you do know pherangi me took the borivali from churchgate EVERY DAY for a month. Now where is my medal.


  2. Rani says:

    I went to Mumbai last March. By train, from Bangalore. It wasn’t the 1st time to Mumbai but the first time alone. Also, I had decided to not stay over at cousins’ so I went from Dadar to whats-that-place, Kopar Khairane by a local. The first time. Alone. To an unknown place.

    In the train, I studied the route map pasted above the door and counted the stations.

    And from the station I took an auto to the friend’s friend’s house!

    It wasn’t bad at all. 🙂 🙂


  3. Kiran Manral says:

    Aneela: *hands over medal and slits own throat*

    Rani: You are a better person than I, Gunga Din. LOL. Im a coward, I know. But if you know me ITRW you will also know I am most scatty, disorganised and dreamy headed. I would never reach Koperkhairane without some misadventure.


    • Rani says:

      I had to google for ITRW. I am so lost with these abbreviations!!

      What makes u think I am organised? 🙂

      But I guess its not your fault, the husband has spoilt you 😉

      btw, you don’t drive?? why??


      • Kiran Manral says:

        Rani: I have a valid license but I dont drive. Been in too many crashes. Am terrified. Yup. Thats what I tell him. You spoilt me now you ensure I remain spoilt.


  4. ruchira says:

    Oh god kiran I hate public transport though I spent all my university years hanging otu of crowded Delhi buses. I drive now but my sense of direction is so bad that I need a map whenever I am out of my familiar territory of south delhi 🙂


  5. R's Mom says:

    hey you know what..your husband is right…train is the best way to travel…I do it everyday and trust me its so much more faster and better…and for a 11 o clock meeting it wont even be crowded….try it the next time…its so much faster and better..:)


    • Kiran Manral says:

      R’s Mom: Lost the stomach for the pushing shoving, and the reflexes to be quick enough to grab for seats…etc. Ive gone soft in my dotage.


  6. Deej says:

    You know, the first ever time I went to Bombay, I travelled alone by train from Madras. Dad plonked me on the train there and told me his former colleague will pick me up. I hadn’t a clue what the chap looked like! I’d never send my kids the way I travelled!


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Deej: I tell you. Was just telling the K last night that when I was two years older than the brat I travelled alone Bandra to Goregaon everyday and was a latchkey kid. Cant imagine the brat getting to the local supermarket on his own, just two gates away.


  7. Amit Bhowmik says:

    If only you cycled…



  8. anna says:

    he is a gem!!


  9. Vidya says:

    Kiran,Its so awesome to have such supporting men in our lives,isn’t it? Whats even more sweet is that you have acknowledged his good gestures many times on your blog 🙂


  10. Sumit says:

    public transports really sucks in India, and specially in Mumbai as lot people use it as their daily routine…


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Sumit: true. Having said what I did, I still think autos and taxis in Mumbai are better than Bangalore or Chennai. Have been there a few times and really got frustrated at the public transport issues there.


  11. sj says:

    I have 3 letters for you GPS. This is one of the reasons I love the US. Life is made easy with technology and everything is organized, works well.


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