My mother in law once remarked that most housemaids in Mumbai are called Laxmi and most of the drivers call themselves Raju. Well, I did have four Rajus out of a sizeable number of drivers that have worked for me over the years.
Obviously I don't drive so I have to depend on Rajus and over the years I have employed many of them and each one has been an eclectic personality in his own right. While I take pride in being able to retain the oldest of clinic and home staff from the time I made Mumbai my home,this driving force has been an ever changing aspect of my life and a frustrating one at that.
Read about a few particularly interesting ones we can never forget...
Raju no. 1- Lasted one year.
Pet peeve-sleeping on duty,body odour,absconding to his village every now and then for months together.He killed imaginary family members one by one,some of them even twice to find an excuse to abscond to his village.
Good natured fellow,but would sleep through duty hours thanks to his night duty as a watchman elsewhere. BO was taken care of by my son by gifting him a stock of deodorants. We could however do nothing about his favourite chameli ka tel (a very strong smelling Jasmine oil ) which he so generously applied in his hair .He finally went back to his family in the village ,and I am sure must be sleeping on duty somewhere in Moradabad .Raju no.2 -Lasted 4 years
Fiercely loyal,extremely skilled ,he was the best of the lot.He would somehow manage to make an appearance in our family photographs! All the snaps during that period have him in a far corner with a corner of his 'rumaal'( handkerchief) pressed between his teeth.Mumbai weather took a toll on his health and he relocated to Hyderabad. Family misses him in the photographs now.
Raju no.3-Lasted 2 days
pet peeve-too short a time to register
He was a parking lot driver who turned overconfident a little too soon.My cars have bruised bums thanks to him reversing right into the wall ,any wall !
Saw him at a mall a few days later...reversing an unsuspecting shopper's car .
Raju no.4-Lasted for a month
pet peeve-Forgetting his way around.He had this uncanny ability to get lost on his way back. I tried very hard to understand how and why,but gave up eventually as he would keep forgetting the way to my house. One day,when he overshot the last turn to my lane,I thought he was dreaming,but no... he couldn't recognize the lane because ,in his own words -"Woh eent,patthar kahan gaye?Road saaf ho gaya to pehchaan nahin aaya."(What happened to the construction material on the road ? I could not recognize the turn because of that) Fixed landmarks were obviously of no importance to him.
He just could not remember the landmarks,the roads,nothing at all.My phone bill was the highest in that month and my hairpulling reached its peak during his tenure.
Raju no.5-Lasted a month
pet peeve-impatience and his reluctance to park the car anywhereelse but the building garage!
This one made us the laughing stock of friends,family and staff.He would drive us to our destination,but on our return there was no guarantee that he would be around waiting for us.He would drive all the way back home and park the car back in the garage.He refused to wait if the mall was not to his liking, or it was too hot for his liking,or he couldn't find a parking slot close by or any other reason that he fancied.So after being left in the lurch twice, we let him go. Wonder where he is now? Someone ,somewhere must be pulling his own hair in frustration .
Raju no.6-Lasted 3 days,
Speciality- Death personified ,extremely dangerous to all living beings on the road and off it!
Again a parking lot product,he was danger unleashed on the road!!
Day one ,my heart was in my mouth when I reached home after an hour of being in the back seat clutching the door handle.
Day two, my head was hanging in shame due to the choicest abuses that were hurled at us all day on the road .No one, I repeat,no one spared us.Car drivers,Rickshaw drivers,scooter, motorbike drivers,they all glared and abused.I was witness to the world's worst road rage that day.Driver saab though, was unruffled. He sat like Buddha in meditation,concentrating on the road ahead ( whatever that meant to him!)
Day three ,people saw me escape a near death situation when suddenly Raju 6 decided to enter at full speed between two speeding trucks jostling for space on the narrow road ahead .Fraction of a second and there I was, all shaken up as if my arms were cut off from my body. Reality soon dawned on me that I was unscathed but my car had lost both side rear-view mirrors as it emerged from in between the two giant trucks.I took a cab home and didn't see his face again.
More recently,the last Raju we employed, refused pick ups and drops to and from the airport.Some kind of superstition, according to his friend. Before he could refuse to drive down to and from more such sites on his list ,we let him go.
Why don't I drive ? Now that is a very good question !
I have a reputation of bringing danger to the roads and to myself,when I drive.
I am not good at it...driving is not my forte - there ...I said it !!
This is for A to Z April challenge.