Sunday, December 13, 2015

The English-Speaking Rickshaw Driver

Yesterday I boarded a rickshaw to return home. It was a Saturday, around 5.30 PM, and I was
returning from an exciting day.

As we took a turn, the driver asked me why it was so less crowded today, and whether it was because it was a Saturday. I just nodded, not ready to delve in any kind of conversation.

In a few more moments, the driver started talking about how he was learning English from his son and telling incidents about his passengers.

He told me about two Iranian girls who had boarded his rickshaw. One of the girls wanted him to go faster and faster. So his answer to her requests was, "Next time you call me, I'll come on bike."

He narrated how he was learning "good manners" and had a good sense of humor. He narrated another incident of how he replied to one of his customers by saying that he was "at your service."

He also asked me whether I knew who the father of the constitution was. When I answered correctly, he showed me some script tatooted on his right forearm.

He told me right at the start of the conversation that he was learning English from his son. But then he also quoted quite a lot of sayings in English. I thought that either he was too good at his studies to learn so much so quickly, or else he was lying about how he had just started learning.

Frankly, I was a little unhinged.

He probably had really good intentions. He didn't make any untoward remarks. He did seem respectable and honorable. But still I couldn't really be comfortable.

I just couldn't figure out whether he was real or fake, and what he really had in mind.

I still keep on thinking whether it was necessary to judge him. But I cannot help but also think that in today's world, one cannot be too free with strangers, especially those who start a conversation without any reason, and who try to be too familiar and pleasing.

My suspicion made me stop the ride a little further away from home. I didn't want to take the risk of letting him know my home.

It was kind of a muddled experience.