Bombay Nights3 mins 440 3 mins 440
It all began on a late Friday night when Mahesh wanted to get to CST station. The only means available were:
A. To walk
B. To walk
But that’s when option C made itself available, in the form of a battered taxi trudging along PV road.
Mahesh frantically waived his hand. And almost with the air of doing him a great favour, the taxi came to a halt.
Mahesh ran up to it and peeked in.
'CST station?' He inquired.
'Baitho sahab.' Spoke a deep harsh voice from within.
Mahesh really didn’t need to be told twice. He leaped in. Maybe he would be in time to catch the last local home.
Living in Kalyan and working in Colaba meant a daily commute of 2 hours. But Mahesh loved his workplace. Old Bombay had a different air to it.
The arched pillars and gothic statues were almost the opposite of today's frantic Mumbaikars - Graceful and still.
'Aur kya karte ho aap sahab?' a deep voice echoed from the driver's seat.
Inwardly Mahesh groaned. He really wasn't in the mood for any conversation. Especially not after going through the company's expense ratio quantification for the last six months.
Mahesh spoke curtly, 'CA hoon.'
'Waah. Matlab bahut smart ho. Accha hai.'
To Mahesh's immense relief, the driver fell silent.
But then the radio began 'What's up friends? Main hoon aapka RJ Sandy, bringing you all the updates from aamchi Mumbaaai!'
Something about this radio sounded strange to Mahesh. Like when he knew the answer was wrong, but could not figure out which step had the error.
The RJ was still chattering on when the driver looked back and softly enquired 'Kaunsa saal hai?'
'Yeh kaunsa saal hai sahab?'
Mahesh peeked out of the cab window. The car was moving too fast. He had no way to get out without creating some conflict with this drunk old man.
He would have to play nice.
'Do...do hazaar athra...'
'Aur, aur kya India ne do hazaar gyaraah main world cup jeeta?'
'Uh haa...' replied a confused Mahesh. RJ Sandy continued to blabber in the background.
Again Mahesh had a feeling of something being wrong. Sneakily, he took out his phone and googled RJ Sandy.
And there it was. RJ Sandy had died in 2008. The first few words on the result page exploded in Mahesh's mind:
'....taxi driver and popular radio jockey killed in 26/11 attacks as terrorists made their way from the sea to the Taj hotel...'
Abruptly, the taxi came to a halt in front of CST station. Mahesh stepped out. A harsh voice again echoed from the dark corners of the cab.
'Aapka stop ah gaya sahab. Main ab ghar nahi ja sakta. Aap jao.'
The radio sputtered and RJ Sandy spoke 'Mumbai-walo, pesh hai aaj raat ka aakhri gaana...'
As the taxi slowly faded into darkness, a song echoed in the young man's heart.
'Aye dil hai mushiil jeena yaha...'