Mumbai Taxi Ride

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The last few days I have been using the taxis quite extensively. Although they are more comfortable than a bus I think they provide you with a totally different kind of experience. After the bus drivers if there is somebody who can be called the king of the roads it surely is the Taxi Driver. He rules the roads.

They have a very uncanny style of riding their mean machines. There no lanes for them – the road is a road and it’s all ours so we can turn right, left or even break, when we feel so. For this lot, everybody else on the road is a bloody fool and does not know how to drive. I remember a taxi driver once telling a Mercedes driver who got very close to his vehicle:

Drive carefully, you have a lot to loose. My car won’t get even scratched by yours.

mumbai-taxi.jpgI believe these guys should be sent to a driving school for a minimum of 6 months which should comprise of learning and practical sessions. Recently, when I was driving around in New Zealand, I kept telling Nitika that even one taxi driver from Mumbai is good enough to disrupt the traffic around this place.

Oh, let’s not forget about the state of their taxis. Headlights – What are they? Direction indicators – they never learnt to use these. Sometimes the interiors will stink so badly you won’t survive the journey.

All in all I can’t be very mean also. Taxis have been helping Mumbaikars get along with their work and not to forget these are the souls who get you home late into the night when the trains and buses have stopped their services.

Photo courtesy: ddasbg

Oh! Calcutta

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Recently work took me to Calcutta. Now no offense to anyone living there but mentally I have always had this particular image of the city being very poor and under-developed in some way. Maybe it’s always the images which I have seen of Kolkatta in press, movies etc. A few years back when someone visited the place told me it was very dirty with a lot of traffic problems. But I guess I was not 100% correct in imagining the city. They did have some certain pockets of the city which are slowly on a great development phase. There is some very modern construction coming up both in commercial and residential areas which will truly change the image of the city in the next few years or so.

Of course one of the key highlights of the city has always been the numerous “bandhs” and “rallies” which I think often disturb the common man’s life. Thankfully none of this affected my short weekend trip there. Being a business trip I didn’t get chance to do much sight-seeing but I did manage to see a few places like the Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens and some of the recently developed portions of the city like Salt Lake, where supposedly Wipro has one of it’s largest set-up in India. I also noticed that Wipro was not alone, a lot of other tech companies like IBM had also invested money to set-up their operations in this city. Now this was very new to us who live in Mumbai since I had not read much about the tech facilities in Kolkatta. When you think of tech or call centers you usually think South India, Gurgaon and Mumbai. But I think this only goes a long way to show the great market demand for a larger skill set of Indian talent to cater to the growing demand of tech and other related services. Way to go India.

Didn’t get a chance to capture too many photos, but I thought the public transport was indeed very interesting around this place.
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They use the old ambassadors yet as a taxi. The government has not allowed any other car manufacturer to get a license for this!
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The very popular hand-pulled cart. I really missed out a ride on this one. Maybe next time.