Letter To Mssrs. Quadro and Thampi Esquire

Good Morning.

Here, have a coffee. My treat. Why? Because you seem to be sleeping, perchance to dream. 

Now I know you’re not supposed to be sleeping. Not today. Not on the morning there’s a CNG gas shortage, right? Because that means so many of your flock (of good-natured, virtuous, clean-living and high-thinking rickshaw and taxi drivers) are in deep, deep trouble.

Poor babies.

As you pointed out last year when you demanded a very rightfully earned fare hike, these guys are a poor lot in any case. They have to deal with so much for so little a price. Just imagine. The unthinking rudeness and leering at passengers, the meter-tampering that would put Ocean’s Eleven to shame and the glorious refusal of fares as if they own the road, the RTO, the Republic of India and all its dominions. For that kind of service, of course they need to be paid a little more.  

Because they’re our only hope against walking to the nearest railway station of our choice. Without them, we are nothing. It’s us who need them after all. They are the saints, the martyrs, the noble ones, who’re sacrificing their life’s worth to bestow upon us the great privilege of letting us ride in their little metal death-traps with the smelly rexine seats.

So I can only imagine their misery today.

As they charge passengers twice, thrice, four times the meter rate for every ride. I can almost see the tears rolling down their cheeks as they struggle to take advantage of this situation, milking it down to the last rupee. Of smiling woefully all the way to their little cooperative banks, no, who am I kidding, with the money they’ll make today, HSBC will probably run after them with a free account opening form.

Don’t get me wrong: I know there are exceptions. The guys who are even now sitting at home, wondering about where their day’s meal will come from. And my heart goes out to them, all sarcasm aside.

But for the rest, the extortionists and the looters, the opportunists and the cheaters, perhaps it’s time for you to notice them? Snap out of whatever pleasant fantasy you’re busy living and realise that these bastards are giving you, your kind and humanity at large a bad name. A particularly unprintable one.

So sit back a moment, take a good, long sip of the coffee. Savour its sweet-bitter taste. And wake the fuck up.

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