Little Moments In The Cab
Little Moments In The Cab
Sometimes people meet you at the most unexpected places, for brief moments, and yet stay in your memories forever. This is about one such encounter. There is something about working in night-shifts that people who have worked long enough can only relate to. After 1 AM the mind starts to function differently. The passive mind takes over the active one. It affects your sleep patterns, makes you grumpy, affects thinking, or simply messes your life. In today's dog-eat-dog world you are left with no other option if you desperately need a job. It is a different story when you are at home waking up late versus being in the office. Trust me, it's not the same. We used to work in the US Shifts for Sprint Corp, a major telecom giant of the US. Our shift timing was 6 PM to 3 AM IST. At 3:30, the peak of night, our cab used to leave for home. We used to be completely exhausted by that time, waiting for our cab-mates in the basement, cursing our job, the work, growth prospects, rather our life. Moreover, waiting in the basements for the cab was like hell, especially in summers.
This is when she got transferred to my cab. We were three people now. I didn't mind the first person as his home was barely 5 mins from the office. But for her, we had to detour and that was unbearable for me. After the shift, I simply wanted to go home and sleep. I was never a night person and I hated every moment of those night-shifts. I fought with the supervisor warning him that I would raise the concern in the transport department but he said there were no other cabs in her route and in-order to drop her, he would have to do a separate cab that would cost him double. Since these guys used to make a meager profit in the entire process, I accepted his request only after he reassured me that he'll transfer her in some other cab as soon as there will be a vacancy in some other route. So like always, I sank into the first seat muttering. After dropping the first guy, we drove off towards her house. Now since her house was in a gated community, as per the company policy, the female employee needed to be assisted by the guard or the driver for safety reasons during night-shifts. Sometimes I didn't understand the rationale behind it. What if something happens to me when I'm alone in the cab? I too was at a risk but again I had no choice. The worst part was that it consumed another 10 mins and as a result, I started reaching home late. This went for a week.
One night, while coming back, I had to sit in the rear as the first guy came early and captured my seat. She sat next to me. I could sense that she wasn't feeling well that day, as she was constantly coughing. Initially, I ignored it but then I offered her some water. Since I suffered from a perennial throat infection, I always used to carry a throat lozenge that caused instant relief from coughing. I offered her and after taking it she was feeling better. She smiled and thanked me. The calmness on her face forced me to smile back. I guess that must have been the first time that I smiled in the cab. I knew her name, her team, where she sat but still pretended to be cold only to avoid engaging in small-talk. I guess she too knew about me as we'd exchanged glances in the office. After dropping her, we suffered a flat tire. But that night, it didn't matter.
To be continued…