Monday, April 07, 2008

scoring Mumbai (0-1)

Reminded of the episode on F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Phoebe goes on giving points to Las Vegas and London to know which is better. I landed in Mumbai yesterday and have seen some of it already and have started scoring Mumbai, against... well itself.
The morning started with us reaching Mumbai half hour ahead of the schedule on LTT at around 4:15 am. A friend was expected to come there to receive us (yes, at 5 in the morning!) but the unexptected arrival made sure that he couldn't make it. We had to go to Kurla local station to take a train which would take me to VT (CST, whatever) and Mithun to Byculla. But when we came down from the train there and gathered courage to move with the luggage, with no coolies around, we met the first devil from Mumbai... a taxi driver.
A taxi driver is a species always ready to literally take people travelling for the first time to Mumbai for a ride. Even though I was told that you can walk from LTT to Kurla stn, I wasn't sure if we were in the condition to do that, mostly because of the luggage and partly because the person who had told me that it was a walkable distance also had taken a whole lot of tired people from CST to Gateway saying "bas pahuch gaye". So we decided to take the taxi. the taxi driver and his accompliced were very interested in us. Had to be, new faces in town (city), heavy luggage, confused conversations, indecisiveness. In fact we were so indecisive that after sitting in the taxi and loading all the luggage, we decided once to walk, however hard that would be, and whatever time that may take, suspecting that something is fishy with the projections from those two people. Inconsistency in what is the approx distance we need to travel and what time it would take. And of course taxi couldn't take the route people walk and will have to go a long way. Anyway we were back in our seats ready to go to Kurla. They soon knew where we ultimately needed to go. They tried convincing us that with such luggage it was impssible to travel on a local, but 5'o clock in the morning on a Sunday, we were ready for it. So now they knew we didn't want to go that far in their taxi. So their returns had to maximized within the short distance that is between LTT and Kurla.
I had never been to that part of the city but it seemed to that instead of taking a chord, we were covering the major segment of the circumference of a circle. It must have taken us some 15 minutes or even less to reach Kurla station. The taxi driver proudly showed us the board saying Kurla to prove that we were taken to the right place and thus not cheated. But now came the surprise. Demanded fare, Rs. 170... only. It seemed we were taken from Airport to Taj in a Merc. Well, had Taj been that close to the airport. Both sides started bickering. Mithun was in a mix of surprise, anger and wtf. They were much more animated and aggressive. I saw all the tactics and lines being tried there, "take your money, I don't want it"(followed by one guy leaving and other staying back), "bohni ka time hai", "dimag mat kharab kar", "we aren't asking for alms", "i am only asking what the meter shows", "do you think the meter is false?", "chalo (police) chowki chalo, wahi baat hoga", "samaan waapas daalo gadi me" and what not. All crap you can think of. By this Mithun had offered them Rs. 50/- which seemed to be only a little over what it should have been for the distance travelled. Seeing that 170 was a little too much they asked for they also started to come down. 160, 150, 120, etc. Ultimately we settled for 75/- feeling bad about parting away with the money, and good about parting away with those 2.
Thus Mumbai goes down 0-1
NB-reminds me of a quote, "only the strong survive" from my I3 t-shirt.


Vivek Malewar said...

Reminds me of a Delhi Taxi-wala who took me and my dad for a ride.
My dad's friend had arranged for our stay at a hotel. The taxi guy took the hotel name and phone number, stopped at a place and called the hotel. The guy at other end of phone told my dad that there's no room available right now. Alright, no problem! The taxiwala took us to a different hotel.
Now, the trick here was that he never really called the hotel. Instead, he called his friend who just said that there's no room so that he can take us to another hotel where there's more commission.
Neat Trick :)

saurabh said...

hmm.. lets not talk bout the bangalore autowallahs