I don’t know about you but I hate it when taxi drivers talk and then talk endlessly. When I am in a taxi I want to be left alone with my thoughts and as many women are categorized into this category of non-stop talking I can say without any doubt that men have the tendency to speak as much as women does because if not why would they talk when somebody is clearly trying to show that they want to be left alone.
I have been riding on Uber and Careem for this past month and so, as my brother is out of the country and I have to go somewhere for a temporary job. For most of the days, the drivers were mostly nationals so I didn’t have to speak to them as they didn’t understand English and I didn’t understand Arabic like only shoya shoya.
So mostly the rides were a peaceful commute or sometimes a deadly boring one on the days I forgot my Ipod at home. As from my personal experience I hate Careem because of the service I had in Pakistan but now when I am here a lot of people suggested that I should switch to Careem instead of Uber because they have some indo-pakis as drivers so it will be more convenient.
Today was the day when I encountered one as for the past few days I have been traveling on Careem but haven’t found one Non kharjee driver. As I booked my ride back home I saw that the driver was a Pakistani or to be more specific our Pakhtoon brother.
As he reached I checked it and was coming downstairs to see where he has parked the car, as first I couldn’t see, so I called to ask him where he was but as I was dialing and roaming my eyes around I saw the car and dropped the call. I reached the car and sat in. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t planning to talk to him. On closing the door he asked me in Arabic if he should drive now but as I wouldn’t have been able to communicate I said “ji chalein” ( yes, let’s go). At first he couldn’t comprehend it so he asked again and I said again “Ji chalein” and then he got it and “oh acha” ( oh okay).
As he pressed the accelerator the journey of almost 30+ minutes of talk started and I at once regretted speaking in Arabic because now I was not in a position to be rude to just shut him and carry on with my music. So I listened to him as he started discussing Saudi’s foreign policies and how the recession has created a problem and then he said how I should be careful while booking the ride either on Uber or Careem because there have been reports by nationals against Saudi drivers and as there is no authentication there could be fraud and other cases so I should try to go for Kharjee drivers even if it costs me 5-6 more riyals.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting this from him because since the beginning of this ride I was figuring out a way for him to just drive and not talk but then all of a sudden when he showed concern and told me that we are from the same nation so you are at a place of honor and respect I would tell you the same what I would tell my wife, sister or daughter.
I listened to him and nodded when he shared his story about his first wife who died of Hepatitis C and was doing her Ph.D. and how he wasn’t much educated but she was and even when she was dying she was still worried about her studies. He told me how he again got married to another cousin of his who was an orphan because her father and brother had both been killed in a family clash. Even though he wasn’t interested he thought if I wouldn’t stand for her and her family nobody else would care either.
So he married her and now he has three kids. As he was telling his story he received a call from his wife and he said “dekhein phir jab jazbay sachein hon to dil miltay hain” (well you know when you truly care and love on another your hearts are connected).
And I told him “ap pehle Pakistani hon gey jo aisa keh rahay hain” (you know you must be the first Pakistani to say this) and he laughed so hard on this as he received the call.
He talked to his kids as we reached my home and after the call, he showed me the picture of one of his sons. All this time I kept thinking well talking isn’t that bad sometimes. You have got to give people some chance so you can explore some of your own sides through their lens. Before dropping me off he again told me to be careful as I am our Nation’s pride and gave me his number in case I sometimes need a private taxi. He let go of me with many prayers and beautiful wishes and didn’t go until he made sure I was inside my house safe and sound.
I came home and pondered on it how it would have turned out if I didn’t speak Urdu or pretended that I don’t know or had spoken in English, I would have missed this interesting talk just because I didn’t want to talk. Sometimes the things you hate the most can turn into some of the most unpredicted and beautiful pieces of your life.