The Readers' Digest survey which labelled Mumbai as rude could be partly true, if one has had an experience with the city's cabbies. Most of them are downright arrogant, refusing to ply you to your desired destination.
However, the reason why I say the survey is 'partly true' is that for every 10 rude cabbies, you'll have atleast one cabbie who is polite and responsible. And in Mumbai, that's a lot of good cabbies. A recent experience in boarding a cab from Colaba reaffirmed this opinion.
I'd tried about 7 cabs whether they would ply me to Churchgate station. A curt 'No' was the reply from all of them.
"What's wrong about Churchgate?" I asked one of them, dejected.
"Arey... there are so many, why don't you ask them?" replied one.
Frustrated (and determined to write a blog on this), I moved ahead, still searching, when from a far distance, I saw this cabbie with a 'Chalo...tum ko lekar... chale' smile , burgeoning me to come in. From the looks of its, it seemed he'd take me anywhere I ordered him to. He waved at me. I waved back asking him to halt.
The conversation that followed, was a pleasant surprise. Here we go..one, two three.. zatak!
Cabbie: Saar..ek taraf se aage aa jaiye, please saar...baithiye..! Saamne aa jaiye!
Me: Churchgate station?
Cabbie: Kyun nahin, saar? Bas baith hi jaiye, uss meter ko zara down kijiye..haan bas!
Me: Hmm.. (relieved, shutting the door, sighs)
Cabbie: Saar, kya badhiya perphume lagaya hai. Kaunsa hai?
Me: Yeh? (giggles with surprise) Zatak.
Cabbie: Deo hai kya spray?
Me: Erm.. Deospray.
Cabbie: Same wohi hai kya, jisme sab girls idhar udhar se uss aadmi ke paas aati hain?
Me: Kaun sa? (wonders) Oh.. nahin. Woh toh Axe hai. This is Zatak.
Cabbie: Accha, lekin khushboo badhiya hai. Iska naam zatak nahin, zhakaas hona chahiye, nahin?
Cabbie: Memsaab se milne aaye the?
Me: Kya? (surprised)
Cabbie: Aap apni memsaab se milne aaye the?
Me: (smiling) Nahin.. ek meeting ke liye aaye the.
Cabbie: Wohi, memsaab se meeting tha?
Me: (giggles) Nahin.. office ka meeting tha. (smiles again)
Cabbie: Aap naukri karte hain?
Me: Haan. Andheri mein. Tum kahaan ke ho, bhai?
Cabbie: Hum to saar hai Kalyan se.
Me: Arrey waah..hum aap ke wahan Ambarnath ke rehne waale hain.
Cabbie: Roz up down karte hain kya?
Me: Nahin nahin, Andheri mein rehna padta hai. PG ke taur par. Vahin mera office hai.
Cabbie: Har meeting ke pehle deospray lagana padta hai? Yeh Zatak?
Me: (laughs, thinking about it) Kabhi kabhi. (spots a babe crossing the road) Bambai mein hasina ko dekhkar pasina aa jaata hai na.
Cabbie: Woh toh hai (smiles). Accha bataiye saar, aapko Eros ke paas chhod doon toh chalega na?
Me: Chalega, no problem.
Cabbie: Zatak kitne ka aata hai? 130?
Me: Haan.. aisa hu kuch. 140 shaayad.
Cabbie: Toh aap kya Zatak leke ghoomte hain?
Cabbie: Don't mind saar, hum par bhi zara spray kar denge. Acchi khushbu aa jayegi.
Me: Haan, haan, kyun nahin.. (opens the bag, sprays some on him)
Cabbie: Thank you saar, abhi accha lag raha hai. (pause) Kaunsa flavour hai saar?
Me: Pata nahin. Orange hai shaayad. Accha hai na?
Cabbie: Haan woh toh hai. Lo, aa gaya aapka Eros. Woh saamne isstation.
Me: (peering into the meter) Kitna hua?
Cabbie: Total hua pandhrah rupaye, lekin aapne humein spray lagaye, isliye hum saar aapse sirf phorteen rupees lenge.
Me: Waah bhai, kamaal karte ho. Yeh lo (hands out the change.)
Cabbie: Thank you saar. Happy journey saar.
Me: (gets out of the cab) Thank you. Aapko bhi. Jidhar bhi aap jayeein. (smiles, waves)
Cabbie: Take care saar.