Call Taxies and Call drivers have become an integral part of our lives these days. This article is about the ubiquitous Call Drivers who have become essential service providers to all those, particularly senior citizens like me, who own cars but do not have the confidence to drive their cars because of poor reflexes and weakening eye sight.
I had resisted the temptation to hire the services of call drivers for a long time because of a sense of insecurity I felt in hiring them. I did not like the idea of all kinds of strangers coming home and also the thought that my car would be ruined in the hands of such drivers with their varying driving skills was unnerving. However, when my part time driver quit his job and I found that I don`t need the car every day, I was reluctant but compelled to start using the services of call drivers. Looking back I realize that over 90 different drivers have had the pleasure of ‘raping` my car in the last one year. A few of them repeatedly. Yes, that is how I feel every time a driver doesn`t handle the clutch and gear system properly. As a person familiar with the rules of correct driving, it is a painful experience to sit helplessly in the backseat of the car , when the driver is mishandling your car.
The service provider whom I have been using claims to have over 1500 experienced drivers on his roll and has given me satisfactory service so far. Except once in the last one year, the drivers generally have arrived five minutes before time. And those who don`t know the area where I live, call me and ask for directions. It helps that most of the drivers have their own two wheelers which enables them to reach their customer`s place on time.
The drivers not only come in different sizes, shapes, driving skills but also some with irritating habits. There is a Carnatic music fan, who starts listening to the music from his `Thumb Drive` which he will plug into the audio system as soon as he is ready to drive. If by mistake you ask him `who the singer is?`, he will start waxing eloquent about Carnatic music, assuming that you are also interested in his favourite passion. Another driver , in his fifties, has this habit of driving very close to the median. So close that I would be worried that he might hit the median any time. When I question him on this bad habit, his response, `If I leave a gap some stupid driver will try to overtake me saar, and I don`t like anybody overtaking me when I am driving!` This guy also has the weird habit of showing signs with his hand to cars coming from the opposite direction, sitting inside an air conditioned car!
While most of them are the quiet type who hardly talk, there are a few given a chance , will start revealing their whole life story . I don`t mind such types because I pick up ideas for my stories from such talkative drivers. Some who are gossip mongers happily narrate interesting anecdotes from the lives of a few celebrities whose cars they drive frequently and so the list goes on.
Whether I like it or not I have learnt to live with the services of call drivers whenever I have to go out in the evenings or travel to distant places wading through heavy traffic during the day.
This article appeared in Adyar Times issue dt 17-23rd September,2017 under my column `Rajan`s Random Reflections`