The Pleasures of Back-seat Driving A Cab

Me: The Ola GPS is asking you to turn left, but we will go right

Cab driver: Right? How will we reach your destination by going right?

So I gave him the route we will take, explaining that the traffic is more free flowing on that route, and added: You’ll be able to drive in the 5th gear too.

Me: वह बायाँ दिखा रहा है, आप दाहिना से लीजिएगा
(The Ola GPS is asking you to turn left, but we will go right)

Cab driver: दाहिना से? दाहिना से कैसे जाएँगे?
(Right? How will we reach your destination by going right?)

So I gave him the route we will take, explaining that the traffic is more free-flowing on that route, and added: आप 5th gear में भी चला पाएँगे
(You’ll be able to drive in the 5th gear too)

Cab driver: 5th gear में?

Me: हाँ। 40 के ऊपर जाते ही 5th में डाल लेने का।
(Yes. As soon as the car goes above 40kmph, go into the 5th gear.)

Cab driver: हम लोग 60 के ऊपर जाने से 5th में डालते हैं…
(We take the car into the 5th gear above 60kmph)

Me: नहीं। सामने रस्ता खुला हो तो 40 के ऊपर जाते ही 5th में डाल लेने का। आप देखेंगे महीने में 3-4 लीटर का तो फरक पड़ जाएगा।
(No. If the road is open with no traffic and fewer signals, put the car into 5th gear above 40kmph itself. You’ll find you save at least 3-4 litres per month.)

Then for some time, there was silence. I enjoyed the good feeling of seeing the abundance of trees on that route and of having shared a tiny something I had learned from a salesman in Udupi’s Maruti True Value store. A little something that was later ratified by my Dad because he keeps a tab on his car, कि वह देती कितना है। By then we had reached the Fort William – Red Road crossing.

I added: आप सीधा 3rd से 5th में भी जा सकते हैं। चार में जाने की कोई ज़रूरत ही नहीं है।
(You can go directly from 3rd into 5th. No need to go into the 4th.)

Cab driver: Gear?

Me: हाँ
(Yes)

But I shouldn’t say ‘cab driver’. I should say ‘chauffeur’. After all, a friend had taken me on a chauffeur-driven ride in an autorickshaw once, when Sarjapur Road in Bangalore was a beautiful open drive and I needed that fresh air to recover from a weakness attack.

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