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The Taxi Driver

An Air Warrior and devotee of Lord Krishna has published over 120 short stories and 15 books on fiction and 4 on military history.

the-taxi-driver

Build-up

Well, how does it feel to be moving around in Dubai with a girl driving a taxi? For me, it was a pleasant surprise when I landed at the international airport and my friend hadn't come to pick me up. I got an SMS message from him that I should take a cab and come down to the Expo 20 at Jebel Ali which is about an hour and a half drive from the airport, almost midway to Abu Dhabi. It's an upcoming locality and housed the Expo 20 exhibition which was the showcase of Dubai. The exhibition is now over but the memory of this visit will remain.

I collected my bag, finished my immigration in just 10 minutes, and a wonderful gift was given to me by the lady at the immigration counter with a local SIM card charged with one GB of the Internet.

I came out and right in front of the airport was the taxi stand. All the Taxis were standing in a line and I quickly walked to the taxi, the first one, and was pleasantly surprised that the driver was an African girl. I was caught off guard to find a friendly woman dressed in a lavender shirt in a well-kept car. I would have sat in the rear seat but I changed my mind seeing the driver was a girl and decided I would sit in the front.

The girl helps me put my bag in the dickie and I sat in the front, with the cab driver. She was no doubt an African but I could make out that she was not a Muslim because she had no headscarf. I also realized she was very young maybe 22 or 23 and she looked really attractive. The only thing that I thought about at the time was how come on the very first day of my visit to Dubai, I was being driven around by a girl cab driver.

She asked me where I wanted to go and I told her that I wanted to visit Expo 20 where my friend was waiting. I also told her to drive to parking lot number two and I hoped she knew about it.

"Of course sir," she replied, " I know the place but the drive is pretty long and with all the traffic, it could take us an hour and a half to get there."

I replied tongue-in-cheek," that's so nice because I will have the privilege of your company for some length of time."

Just then I got a call from my friend and he asked me if everything was OK. I told him," nothing to worry about, because I'm in the taxi at the moment, and believe me I have a very beautiful girl from Africa driving the taxi." He laughed and clicked off.

She looked at me with a smile and said," who were you talking to?"

"My friend"

"But you told him about a beautiful girl driving you."

"Yes," I said, "I hope you got no objection because you are the loveliest taxi driver I have ever met."

The Ice is broken between us and," I asked her, " where are you from?"

She replied, " I am from Ethiopia."

I gave her my intro and asked her name.

She replied, "Mary."

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My hunch that she was a Christian was confirmed. This is the beauty of Dubai so cosmopolitan and free and no wonder it is rated as the El Dorado of the east.

the-taxi-driver

The Tale

We kept on talking for a long time and I came to know that she had come to Dubai about nine months back and got a job as a taxi driver. Things were very bad at home in Ethiopia and that is why she had come here. Her father had paid a sum of money to the agent and she was helping her father. She liked the place very much and hoped that she would make enough money in 3 to 4 years to go back and get married. I wanted the trip to go on longer so I turned to her and said, "I want a cup of coffee; how about just driving into one of the drive-in cafés near the gas pumps?"

"OK," she replied she replied with a laugh," but the meter keeps running."

She pulled up the car at a swanky pump with an eatery and then said," you sit in the car I will bring the coffee for you. It will cost you 12 dirhams. I give her a 50 dirham note and said, " bring two, one for you."

She looked at me a little quizzically and said, "you know what I like."

As she walked to the counter I had a chance to observe her. She had a sculpted figure which was twine-thin. Her waist was tapered and she had a burnished complexion. Her gait was enticing and I could discern she had lovely legs, though she wore trousers. As she returned with the paper tray and cups of coffee, it was a pleasure to see her flowing, moon shadow-black hair. with small breasts set against a flat midriff. I felt she had a bouncy personality and looked vibrant. I liked her but at the back of my mind, a voice told me 'take it, easy man, you are getting closer to 48 you don't want to be involved with another girl less than half your age and of all people a taxi driver. Your friends may laugh.'

We sat and drank coffee and talked about everything under the sun. She was impressed with whatever I told her about my flying fighters and now being a corporate head. We extended the time drinking coffee and I came to know a lot about Ethiopia, a country I had never visited. I told her that the only thing, I had heard about Ethiopia was about Major General Charles George Gordon and his death at the hands of the Mahdi in Khartoum. I also told her about the film Khartoum, a 1966 British epic war film with Charlton Heston as General Gordon. She did not know anything about this history and said so.

Our topics meandered along, slow and winding like the river Ganga and after some time I told her that she was very beautiful and she had the most expressive eyes. She liked when I told her this and commented, "I know you are from India because we have so many Indian businessmen in Ethiopia and I can see that you are a very nice man."

After some time she asked me," you been flying planes; tell me how does it feel to fly at supersonic speed and at that time what do you think? do you think of your God or do you think of some beautiful person in your life?"

I laughed and said, "I don't know but in case I had met you earlier and I was to fly at Mach 2, I would have thought how you would look as God made you."

We have been conversing for a pretty long time now and my comment did not elicit a protest but she just covered her face with her hand and said, "my, my, you have an imagination."



Deja vu

My tale must now end and I must confess that at the time a feeling of déjà vu came over me. A feeling, of familiarity with Mary, giving a peep into the future. But the reality is something else and after another 45-minute drive, we neared Jebel Ali. We drove to the parking lot number two but my friend was not there and I dialed his mobile and told him I'd arrived. He replied he would be coming in another 15 minutes and I looked at Mary and said," Thank you, Mary, You can go now, my friend will come in another 15 minutes."

She just smiled, " You expect me to go away? leave you in the parking lot? No sir, I will be with you and you sit in the cab and wait for your friend till he comes. The meter will not run."

After a long time, there was silence between us, I just held out my hand and she gave me hers, and not knowing what I was doing I brought it to my lips and kissed her hand. After a moment she took it away and I said, " If the Lord Krishna wills we will meet again?"

She just smiled, "It's not what the god wills, it is what you will, if you desire we will meet again and all you have to do is ring the agency and give my name."

I could see my friends Merc coming and I got ready to get out. I looked at Mary and waved to her. She waved back as I walked briskly to the Merc. The future, yes, but that's another story.

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