I arrived in Chennai around a month back to join a company as my first job after MBA. Well, it was not new to me, neither the company nor the city, as I had been here before for my summer internship. At that time my friend (Ingle) and me were counting days of our 8-week MIP period (later I even started counting hours left till our flight’s scheduled take-off), as we desperately wanted to get out of this place. But exactly one year later here I was on the same airport looking for an auto-rickshaw (notorious for their ridiculously overpriced fares) in the middle of scorching heat to reach company guest house. From my past experience I knew that there was little scope for a non-local-language-speaking-individual like me for bargaining. So, after not any bargaining I got a cab for myself.
The moment I got into the cab with my baggage I decided to make up my mind that no matter what happens I will take everything as a positive and if I can’t then I’ll try to enjoy the surprises that this city throws at me. Suddenly, I felt a rush of positive energy running through my spine but moments later I realized that it was the stream of sweat rolling down my t-shirt. So, I asked the driver to switch on the AC. He responded in Tamil, which I interpreted in 2-3 attempts, (thanks to some non-verbal communication classes back at college), as “The AC is not working, so roll down the windows.”
The cab rolled on and I decided to do some sight seeing just to explore the city. The cab made its way through the traffic and the driver kept on applying brakes and stepping on accelerator. It was indeed a “shaky” start to my journey but I didn’t notice it much. It kept on happening and I wondered that how come there is so much traffic in the city on a hot afternoon?
Soon, I was on the IT- highway where I could see the cars cruising past my cab (A 1979 Yellow & Black Ambassador). But then it happened again. With the road all-empty in front of the cab, the cab was shaking to and fro like the engine is dying down. I turned to the driver to ask him about the reason and at that very moment I had my heart in my mouth. In the middle of the highway, amidst fast moving cars the driver was dozing off. I could not believe it and before I could see my whole life moving in front of my eyes I decided to shake him and wake him up. In the grip of fear I said to him, ”Abey kya kar raha hai? Marwayega kya?” (“Hey, What are you doing? Gonna get me killed?”). But he ignored me and almost saw through me as if nothing had happened. Then I realized that he would not have understood anything I said. But still, thankfully for me, he got the point I was trying to make and drove without any glitches from there on. Once I got out of the cab, I felt like kissing the ground just like Pope John Paul II but omitted it for obvious reasons.
“Talk about taking positives now”, I said to myself and entered the guesthouse.