After a brawl with my regular auto driver, I have now started using Ola cabs for my daily conveyance to my office from home.
These cab aggregators are best things since sliced bread,
especially in Bangalore where you cannot rely completely on public transportation or keep your calm with the auto drivers. I normally give a default #4**** ranking to my drivers unless he has proved to have no spark of decency (in which case #1* and a strong email to OLA)or the driver has gone out of his way to save my day.
Like one day, I boarded this cab at 08:20, a minute later than my usual 08:19. Now Bangalore is a city where 1 minute late can make you 5 minutes too late to reach work and 2 minutes early can give you 10 minutes of coffee and grooming before you log in on time at 09:00. Even the GPS lady predicted I will reach office at 09:06 instead of the usual 08:55. I had two options- beg my driver to drive fast or call my boss. I went ahead with the first option; explaining to my driver why it was important to reach before 09:00 was more comfortable than explaining to my boss why I will be late again. It was easily the best decision of the day as my chauffeur vroomed through Bangalore’s pothole filled roads and I reached my office early enough to prepare a cup of filter coffee.
Probably on a less panic situation, I would have cursed anyone driving at that speed. That day, however, his speed helped me reach office on time and he was careful in doing that. He didn’t cross red lights or break any rules and neither was anyone hurt or a scratch made on any vehicle. He just drove fast. Ethically right or not, he got a full #5***** ranking from me.
Next day, I was seated in the cab on time and felt relaxed. I was all beaming with a big smile on my face thinking about the payment confirmation I received early that morning;
only a sales person can understand the glory in getting that news.
I instructed the driver to start the ride, took my earphones out and just when I was about to play Walker Brother’s No Regrets I noticed the song my driver had put on his car radio. I heard a familiar voice of Yesudas- dad’s favorite, but I couldn’t hear it clearly to figure out if it was Tamil or Malayalam. To put an end to my curiosity, I decided to ask my driver what song was it.
“Tamil devotional song Madam”, came the reply.
“Oh. Ok. Nice”
“No. I am from here only. You like listening to Tamil songs?”
Though I do know over 50 Tamil songs and some of them are my favorites, I don’t follow the genre now. I didn’t want to say NO either because I wanted to be polite and frankly, it sounded as if his question had two hidden questions. Do I like Tamil songs and do I often do what I like? I kept my answers crisp so that I could end the conversation and go back to “No Regrets”. Almost five minutes later I regretted asking my driver about the song.Every song he played thereafter, he looked back and asked me to “Madam please listen to this song. Superb it is”. I did for the first time but the request kept pouring in with every other song on his playlist. I put my earphones and 10 seconds later he would want me to listen to another of his songs.
Two things are most important for me during the ride to my office. I should reach on time and I should be allowed to peacefully listen to my playlist on my mobile.Every song on my playlist is in there for a reason. I am very particular about music and my boss is particular about the time I report and hence that becomes important too. Although I know the driver was only doing this out of his love for music or perhaps he was excited that I cared to enquire about the songs he played, I also know he had no malice in his mind, but towards the end of that 30-35 minute drive, I was a mad woman.
I reached on time but I missed out on the joy I derive from closing my mind and getting entranced in the lyrics, melody, and the visuals of the music video appearing in front of me as I rest my head on the seat and stretch my spine to relax. Music lets me forget my worries. I have never been grumpy for missing my breakfast, restless may be but never grumpy. That day, the entire day, I was grumpy and I spent four hours contemplating how to rank that driver.
I understand that people do get rhapsodized on certain topics, but I cannot get over the fact that I missed my daily ritual and hence this particular driver was ranked #2**.
At this stage, you, the one reading this blog, perhaps might laugh, ridicule or get really critical about my judgment. So I ask you. How do you rank your Cab drivers?
P.S: #3*** are for those who insist on reminding me “madame 5star ranking” just when I am focusing on getting myself and my 3 bags out of the vehicle stationed next to a moving traffic.