This is an actual conversation I had with a taxi driver on my way back.
A bit of background:I work in Mussaffah; the prime industrial area in Abu Dhabi and share a carlift with a colleague to and fro the city. At times when our carlift cannot make it we call a trusted cab driver (Nxxxxx) from Transad (a taxi provider in Abu Dhabi).
Today my colleague has not come to work and I don’t have a carlift. Nxxxxx cannt make it and has instead arranged his friend Wxxxxx (will be referred as W in this post) to pick me. W has picked my colleague and me earlier and so know us.
… and begins the conversation:
Me: Hello WXXXX, how are you today?
W: (smiles wide) I am good and how are you?
Me: I am grand.
W: Nxxxxx told me to pick you. I had a passenger to Dubai and I am returning from there now.
Me: That’s nice, so you didn’t have to do an empty trip back to the city.
W: Yeah but I am wanted to go via Yas Island.
Me: (hmm so what should I say for this) ok
W: Where is your friend?
Me: She didn’t come today.
W: Why she is not well?
Me: Hmm I think she is not over with the long holidays?
W: How were your holidays?
Me: Good. And yours?
W: No holidays for me. On 2nd I took an off. The roads were so crowded and I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic. You know now it has become difficult for us, they are reworking on our contracts and that will mean a cut in our salaries. So I am trying hardto be on the roads and make the maximum money I can.
Me: Oh ok.
****silence for a couple of minutes****
W: Are you living alone?
Me: No I stay with my family.
W: You have husband?
W: Then with parents?
W: How many brothers and sisters you have?
Me: none. I am the only child
W: so lucky
Me: (smiles) why lucky?
W: simply. You know I have 2 sisters and 1 brother.
W: It is more than ten years that I have seen them.
Me: oh I am so sorry to hear that.
W: yeah. They are married and working in Kuwait.
W: maybe in Feb I will cancel my visa and go back to my country . I miss them a lot. I will sit in my house for one month and do nothing
Me: (only smiling)
****silence**** It’s been ten minutes since I am picked and we have not even crossed the bridges. We are stuck amidst traffic and hongings.
W: There is a lot of traffic today.
Me: Yeah the GCC summit is happening.
W: is it? Nobody told me.
Me: (huh! Somebody was supposed to tell you. Whatever)
W: how old are you?
Me: (where did this come from?) 24
W: I am 34. I am big
Me: (yeah right you are big. You are so tiny that if I blow you will fly out of this cab) ok
W: Is this your first job?
W: Where did you work before?
W: Where is that? In Dubai?
Me: In Europe
W: Why did you come here?
Me: My parents live here.
W: You are very nice
Me: (this is my second cab ride with you and you have decided that I am nice?) thank you
**** I decide it will be a good idea to close my eyes for a while. I had this splitting headache and it will also get W silent for some time. But suddenly I realize I am alone in the cab and he has reduced the volume of the music being played in background. Not safe. It is better to keep my eyes open and so I OPEN MY EYES!****
W: You woke up?
W: are you tired?
W: Do you cook food?
Me: ( ewwwww!, where is this going to?) yeah
W: abu dhbai is beautiful
W: I like abu dhabi.
W: you are also beautiful
Me: (I didn’t want a compliment now. I WANT TO GET HOME) so are you excited to go home.
W: yes. I want to see my mother and father. I miss my family.
Me: how many kids do you have?
W: (looks back with the best smile he has) I am not married. I am looking for a good girl.
W: why you think I have children?
Me: oh I am sorry, I just asked.
W: Do I look old?
Me : (yes you do!) No, no you look younger than me.
W: thank you
W: what does your name mean?
Me: its means star.
W: you are like a star
W: you are nice
W: What will you do once you are at home? Bath and sleep?
Me: No I will go gymming.
W: yeah you are little fat
Me: (ewww! That’s the last thing I wanted.) ok
W: you must run every day
W: are you eating a lot of rice?
W: then why?
Me : I don’t know
W: you are telling lies. You must be eating a lot of rice.
Me: (the last thing I wanted was to argue with him on why I was on the healthier side) yeah maybe.
W: See that is why. Don’t eat rice.
W: you are nice.
Me: (somebody save me) I still have a good ten minutes to get home. I pick the cell phone and call up a friend
****10 minutes of phone chat followed by moments of silence. Summer of 69 being played in the background***
W: you like this song?
W: you want more songs.
Me: this is fine
W: Next time I will give you a collection of good songs. Just like you.
Me: (a song like me????) drop me by the bus stand
I hand over the money.
W: Thank you Pjahdbv (I didn’t get the word right)
Me: your welcome
W: you know what is Pjahdbv?
W: it means angel in Sinhala
Me: okay (and I get down exhausted)
I have had enough for today.