Black and Yellow Carbuncles

One of my favorite fantasies has me riding shotgun on a large bulldozer with a huge flame-thrower cradled over my shoulder. As soon as I come upon a black and yellow (B & Y) cab that is crawling forward at less than 30km per hour, or cutting in or not giving way or taking a turn without signaling, I just vaporize it and then instantaneously flatten it into scrap metal…
Perhaps 20-30 years ago, sitting in a B & Y cab was considered a big thing. Today, the cabs are dirty, they smell, the drivers stink, the music is loud, the agarbatti fumes overwhelm, the windows let in noxious gases, the inside is hot, the air suffocates and the drivers jerk and brake all the time.
And to top it all, our B & Y cab drivers actually have the guts to hold the Airport authorities and us to ransom, driving away the new fleet cabs, which are much nicer and cleaner and only a shade more expensive. Or perhaps they have realized that the writing is on the wall and are reacting like a drowning man thrashing blindly in all directions in an attempt to survive. But, like pus-spewing carbuncles in the middle of a dirty armpit, it’s best that they be quickly surgically excised and removed. Only then can we move forward in our attempt to becoming a world-class metropolis.
Having said all this, I do owe them my first published article! Nine years ago on my blog, I posted a piece titled “The Top Ten Rules that Mumbai Taxi-Drivers Follow for Passenger Comfort and Satisfaction”. It was promptly plagiarized and published under her own byline, by a young, rookie journalist from an afternoon daily. Though the article was withdrawn after I protested, I was still threatened with legal action when I demanded an apology from the journalist and the paper.
Those rules however are still apt.
10. Keep the taxi in a rickety condition, so that the ride is as bumpy and jerky as possible. The passengers will get a free body massage.
9. Brake hard, suddenly, every 3-5 minutes. This will help passengers exercise various body parts in an attempt to prevent them from being flung around.
8. Push the front seat as far back as possible. This will cramp most passengers in the back seat, thus keeping them awake and alert.
7. Blow your horn as loudly and frequently as possible. This will prevent most passengers from falling asleep, thus allowing them to use their precious time for more fruitful activities.
6. Always swear at other drivers who either drive too slow or too fast or cut you or don’t allow you to cut them. This will expand the passengers’ vocabulary.
5. Exchange the standard four-cylinder engine for an imported, junked, three-cylinder one. This will prevent the taxi from going over 40km/hour, thus making it safer for passengers.
4. Always drive in the middle of a two-lane road so that no other vehicle can pass you by. This will prevent noxious fumes from other vehicles entering your taxi, thus keeping the air inside clean and breathable.
3. Break signals and drive through one-way streets from the opposite direction whenever possible. The passengers will reach their destinations faster, thus saving time and money.
2. Never carry small change. This will teach passengers the new concept of rounding off to the nearest ten rupees.
1. Always refuse short-distance rides. This will make people healthier by forcing them to walk.

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