Airport taxi from Bodh Gaya to Gaya
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The mistaken case of the Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport taxi
“Chalein Sir?” The driver asked my Grandfather politely. As he instructed the driver to start the car, I already started to regret my decision. The two of us, never spent hours at a stretch talking to each other. My mother warned me about his conservative nature & that I behave myself on the five hour trip.
As the driver turned on the ignition, I was thinking of the events that led me to consider a Bodh Gaya to Gaya private taxi. My parents told me the night before that I was to travel to Gaya. At first we considered going by air, but it had been long since I took a road trip. I had taken a taxi service from Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport once when I had to give an exam on a short notice, but that’s another story. My excitement fast turned to annoyance when they told me that my grandfather would be accompanying me. He had to attend a wedding. They said I could use some ‘quality’ time with him.
Ten minutes had past and it seemed like an hour had gone by. Suddenly, my Grandfather broke the monotony by asking the driver a few questions like places to visit between Bodh Gaya and Gaya. After their conversation came to an end, he turned to me and started asking me about my life, this is what I was dreading the most.
At first he lectured me about how I should have taken my CPT exams seriously, or maybe studied hard for a government job. This became more irritating when the driver jumped into the conversation, with an expression of excitement saying, “Sir, mere bete ne abhi-abhi CA final clear kiya hain!” I thought to myself, this time the Bodh Gaya to Gaya car hire wasn’t such a good idea.
The expression of pride on my grandfather’s face was like the cab driver’s son was his son.
“Arre yeh toh badi acchi baat hain, bhai humaare pote ko bhi sikhao aapke bete ke gun”
Not knowing how to reply to my grandfather’s statement, the driver just laughed heartily.
I could soon feel the friendly vibe they shared. My grandfather soon turned to me and said, “So, tell me about your friends Sahil?”
“Well there is Anuj, there is Shagun, there is Farhan, there is Aks-“
“Farhan! Are you friends with a Muslim?” Shocked,he asked me. Then began a tirade, against Muslims.
“They are not like us! We have nothing in common with them Sahil! Will you ever start thinking properly?” I started to zone out as I realised that saying anything would make things worse.
Earlier during the day, my aunt called my mother to tell her that my uncle would pick us up near a pizza shop at the Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport drop taxi stand. They soon started a conversation about the shopping she did for the wedding. In the course of the conversation, my mother forgot to tell her that we were coming from Bodh Gaya to Gaya by private taxi.
We were entering the city when my mother called to say that we would be picked up at the airport, she sounded guilty. We had to turn around and take the one way taxi from Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport.
On reaching, my grandfather took out his wallet, paid the driver and tried to strike up another conversation but the driver seemed too tired, so he let it be.
My uncle greeted us. My grandfather seemed happy, then he turned to me and said “Merko kabhi tum dikhne nahi chahiye uss Muslim Ladke ke saath.” I ignored him.
My grandfather was leaving with my uncle, then turned back and eagerly asked the driver “Arre bhaisaab, aapka naam toh pucchna bhul hi gaya.”
“Mohammed Khan” The driver replied with a poker face.
I put all energy into controlling my laughter. My Dadaji just became friends with Mr. Khan a few hours ago.
Till today, Farhan continues to be one of my closest friends, my grandfather never saying a thing.
The taxi from Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya that changed his life
“For the love of God baby, please get back in the car!” Shruti shouted, her voice cracking, her beautiful oval eyes pleading for me to get back into the cab.
“No freaking way, first you tell me the truth! Did you sleep with him or no?”
“How many times should I tell you the truth! He-Is-Just-A-Friend!” Tears rolled down her cheeks.
The vehicles behind us were getting restless. The skinny-looking cabdriver rushed towards me -
“Sir, main samajhta hun aap dono ke beech jhagda hain, lekin agar hum ne gaadi agge nahi badhayi, toh koi police bula lega.”
I had recently come back to India and we had booked a one way cab from Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport. I heard about policemen ill-treating civilians here. So even though I behaved ignorant, the driver’s words made sense, I got into the car.
I banged the cab door. Shruti covered her face with her hands, crying. Still not able to absorb what had transpired an hour ago.
Back to my homeland after 4 years, I was here to marry my childhood sweetheart Shruti. It burned me to discover that she was cheating on me. His name was Akshay.
Akshay’s face looked like he was punched in the nose once and the bruise never wore off. I stalked him on Facebook and figured he didn’t look like her type. I couldn’t wait to meet and punch him again in person.
Shruti kept weeping. I did not know what to do. A part of me wanted to just leave her to herself, the other wanted to hug her tight and tell her it will be all right. But was it? Could I forgive her?
I turned and looked straight at Shruti.
“Okay, you say you haven’t cheated. Then why would you send him a message saying I love you?” I asked.
“I never sent him such a message Sahil!”
“YOU ARE LYING STRAIGHT TO MY FACE SHRUTI!”
I snatched her phone & opened Whatsapp. The very first chat was her and Akshay –
Akshay: I ‘<3’ u Shruti :P
Shruti: HAHAHA I ‘<3’ u too Akshay :p :p
“So what is this?” I questioned her, shoving the phone in her face.
“That is just a joke baby-“
“LIES” I had suffered enough “just shut up, we are done, and we are canceling the marriage. When we reach Gaya you can go your own way!”
“How long before this Bodh Gaya Gaya taxi came to a halt?” I asked the driver. He said it will take a couple of hours.
“Just 2 more hours’ baby, then we are done. You won’t have to see my ugly face again, you can marry your ‘just-friend’ Akshay” I mocked.
“But..But…I did not even…he is not even…” Her lies had turned to mush.
You would expect me to be angry at her, but I was angry at myself. Shruti finally stopped crying “Can I have my phone back?”
I took out my wallet to pay the taxi fare from Bodh Gaya Airport to Gaya, just then I saw her phone light up and buzz. ‘Akshay calling’
I warned Shruti to stay quiet & answered the phone.
“Aur behen kaisi hain, Have you picked up Sahil, baat toh kara uss hottie se”.
‘Hottie? He really is a douchebag’ I thought to myself.
Akshay went on “Say something at least, tell me how is he?”
I remained quiet.
“You know if you stay this quiet, it would be easier for me to steal Sahil from you-”
I hung up. I was processing what just happened. Akshay liked men. I jumped to conclusions, for no reason. But there was one thing I couldn’t understand.
I turned toShruti.
“Baby, why didn’t you tell me Akshay is gay? I would have never doubted anything, to begin with.”
“You should have never doubted ANYTHING, to begin with” she replied. “And you know what? Screw the marriage! I would rather marry a ‘gay’ guy like Akshay than a ‘straight’ guy like you!”
The journey seemed long now. She told the driver to stop at Gaya’s bus station.
“Get out! Go back to Vancouver! Don’t ever come back, we are done!”
It’s been 10 years since we covered that distance between Bodh Gaya & Gaya. A lot has happened since. I remember apologizing a thousand times, but ‘no’ was all she said. Shruti I hear is married now, I do not know the details.
I am married and have come a long way in my career since. The taxi fare from Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport cost me more than just my money. If only I did not doubt her, things would be different.
The Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya taxi fare that cost more than the mileage
‘This is way better than I imagined’ Aarushi thought. She is taking a taxi service Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya. She lives close to the airport with her mother and father, who are out for work most days of the month. The driver Ajeet is polite and her mother Gayatri is not in her usual nagging mood.
Ajeet is enjoying the drive, the cab is gliding down the highway and the weather is perfect for a hot cup of tea. While Aarushi and Gayatri look out the windows on either side, Ajeet is happy to get time away from his annoying teenage daughter.
The cab’s AC is at its coolest. Tiny droplets of sweat run down Gayatri’s large forehead. She’s constantly looking at her watch for the time.
‘There are still a couple of hours left before we reach Gaya’ Gayatri finally speaks. She can’t figure how to bring up the topic she wants to talk about. She begins by signaling Aarushi to take off her earphones.
“Yes mother?” asks Aarushi, looking into Gayatri’s eyes with a cold stare.
“Where did you go with your friends yesterday?”
“Didn’t I tell you already?”
“No, I just remember you rushing out of the house as if it were on fire.”
“It was Prateek’s birthday; he took us out for a movie.”
“This horror movie called Annabelle, it-”
“Who’s Prateek, you haven’t spoken about him before, is he your new boyfriend?”
Aarushi is red with anger. She thought to herself, taking a taxi for Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya would have been less traumatic. This inquisitive nature is what Aarushi doesn’t like one bit. She doesn’t like being treated like a child at the age of 24. She is not in thistaxi to have her mother nag her all the way.
“Why should I tell you?” Aarushi burst out at Gayatri.
Gayatri turns to reach her brown leather purse. She opens the zipper, takes out a plastic bag and waves it at Aarushi’s face.
“Because I found this in your laptop bag.” It’s a pouch filled with low-quality marijuana.
There is a sign of embarrassment on Aarushi’s face. She is shocked. She knows her mother is relatively open-minded. But knowing this could be the end of their relationship. Aarushi is dumbfounded; she doesn’t know how to respond.
Gayatri is angry. Even the driver Ajeet can feel the tension in the Hippocab. He wishes to stop the cab and take break. He focuses on the road instead.
“Bhaiya! Cab Roko! Please!” Aarushi suddenly shouts from behind. The sweat which was on Gayatri’s face is now on Aarushi’s. As soon as Ajeet stops the cab, Aarushi runs to a bench near the Gaya-Bodh Gaya highway. She takes out her breather and starts puffing.
Gayatri follows her. “How long?” She asks.
“Six Years.” Aarushi whispers.
“But why? Why did you start doing drugs?”
“You won’t understand, besides you don’t even care!” Aarushi runs back and takes her place in the passenger seat. Gayatri sits in the backseat.
“Make me understand, and don’ttell me it helps you relax. You have had asthma ever since you were 12.” Gayatri’s words sound more like threats.
Seeing the two get back into the cab, Ajeet stubs the cigarette he lit and gets back to his seat. “Chalein Madam?” Drop-dead silence is all he gets in response. Taking it as a sign of approval, he starts the car.
Aarushi reaches out to plug in her music. “Don’t you dare try to avoid this topic? You better reply now or I will ask Ajeet to turn the cab around and take us back to Bodh Gaya.” Gayatri’s threats are more direct now.
“Oh Come on! Like you would ever do that. Don’t you remember mom? It was you who wanted to go to Gaya in the first place! I have no interest in attending the wedding. You forced me to come along.” Aarushi isstern;her voice has a renewed sense of purpose.
Gayatri is furious. “Yes of course, you are only interested in doing drugs, drinking, hanging out with strange boys...”
Aarushi can’t hold back anymore, she let’s go. “YOU ARE ONE TO SAY? IKNOW WHY YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE WEDDING SO DESPERATELY MOM! I KNOW ABOUT YOU & AJAY UNCLE.”
Gayatri is dumb-founded. Suddenly, this Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya taxi ride seemed never ending to her. She wishes she could go back in time and put Aarushi’s weed back where she found it.‘But how could she have known…Does that even matter’ a voice in her head replies.
“For how long have you known?”
“Since I was 18 mom, 6 years basically. You gave me your phone to check my 12th results…that’s when I saw the chats between you two.”
“Does your father know?”
“No, he does not. I did not have the guts to tell him. After I found out, I was numb. My world came shattering down. I couldn’t tell anybody. I had no close friends. So I made friends with a habit, a habit that felt right to me, that never left my side. I knew that’s all I had. I hope you know which habit I am talking about mom?”
“Yeah, I do” Gayatri replied, meekly. She couldn’t bring herself to say anything. The reached their destination, Gayatri held on to the same purse, took out the money and paid the cab fare. The two never spoke about the incident again.
Gayatri is still cheating on her husband. Aarushi never gave up the habit. But for Ajeet, that oneBodh Gaya airport to Gaya taxi service he delivered changed his life. Ever since then, he quit smoking and spent more quality time with his daughter.
The Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya drop
All my life, I have been a scared person. Scared of my wife’s anger, scared of our children’s demands, scared of the neighbour who always parks in my spot. This is the story of the bravest moment of my life.
Chapter 1 - The Pick Up
“We have suffered enough! Starting today, I pledge my unconditional support to our cause.” roared Mr. Smith, amid hoots and claps from his supporters. Mr. Smith’s oratory charm was such that he could say anything he wanted, and get away with it. Even I, someone who considered himself as being above the divisiveness of religions, admired his thoughts & actions. I wanted to listen to the speech further but I had to change the channel as I drove into an elongated driveway (Passengers do not like nosy drivers you see). However, I still couldn’t get over the fact that my would-be passenger had crores of followers’ world over & was probably one of the most famous & respected figures of his religion.
“In news, a 10-year-old’s death has led to-”
I turned off the radio as I parked the Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport carright in front of his wide doorway, took a deep breath and reminded myself to keep calm. Even though he was a celebrated figure, I had to think of Mr. Smith as just another passenger wanting to make his way to Gaya airport.
“You have to do it Sagar, stop acting like a wuss, and he is just a man” my reporting manager had reminded me the day before. I dropped my manager a message saying I had reached Mr. Smith’s house. I also texted Mr. Smith, informing him about my arrival.
Normally riders with a celebrity status are not ready at the time they specify, but not Mr. Smith. He walked out of his home exactly three minutes after I sent the message.
In first glance, he seemed to look more like a young politician, from his slickly pushed back hairdo down to his blue Hawaii chappals. A clean-shaven man wearing a white Kurta over a pair of jeans is rarely thought of as a religious leader. But that was Mr. Smith for you.
Other than his punctuality and clothing choice, his etiquette seemed to be that of a humble man. I wanted to put his luggage in the cab’s boot, he politely denied the offer. I was beginning to understand why so many people admire the magnanimous Mr. Smith.
“Chalein sir?” he asked, smiling politely. “Ji sir” I replied, as I opened the backseat gate to let him in.
It took us half an hour to reach the Bodh Gaya to Gaya Highway by cab. As we crossed the Bodh Gaya toll booth, I heaved a sigh of relief. This ride was going smoother than I had anticipated.
My relief was short-lived. I felt cold hard metal being pressed up against the back of my head. I looked in the cab’s rear-view mirror. Mr. Smith had a pistol in his hand, and it was pointed straight at me.
“Whatever you do, just don’t stop the cab”, Mr. Smith said, again smiling ever so politely.
Chapter 2 – The Stranger
“What do you want? I will do whatever you tell me to do. Please just leave me alone. I have a wife and 2 kids!”
Mr. Smith looked calm as ever.
“What’s your full name?”
“My name’s Sagar Sharma?”
“Do you smoke Sagar?”
When I decided to take this Bodh Gaya to Gaya airport drop I was hoping to get a nice guy like you.
He reached inside his Kurta’s right pocket and took out a packet of Marlboro. Offered me one & took one for himself. From the same pocket, he took out a gold-plated lighter, lit up his cigarette &then mine.
As I took a puff, a strange thought occurred. ‘Maybe this is some kind of TV prank.’ I began to tell myself that this is the case. That I am stuck in reality-show.
“You know, I have never smoked while having a gun pointed towards me, feels like I am in a movie” I said.
“Hahahaha.. You’re a funny guy? Got any family?”
“Yes, a nagging wife & two of the most demanding kids you will ever meet.”
“Do you want me to kill them?”
‘Okay, this is definitely not a TV prank’ I thought. My heart beginning to pound.
“Then you got to do exactly as I say Sagar. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you do to anything evil.”
“Okay, what do you want me to do.”
“Firstly, you need to keep your hands where I can see them.”
I put both my hands on the steering wheel.
“Stay still, I am going to take a picture of this Bodh Gaya airport to Gaya drop taxi. Give me your phone...don’t worry, you’ll get it back as soon as this ride is over.”
Why did he want to take a picture on my phone? Maybe he was a sadist. I did not think too much and opened the car’s dashboard, shuffled around for my phone & gave it to him.
“Good. Now comes the last step. Right next to the Gaya-Bodh Gaya midway is a very small lane. I would like for you to turn into that lane.”
“Because I need to complete a task before we reach Gaya.”
“You’ll know soon. I did not take this Bodh Gaya Gaya taxi airport drop to answer useless questions. For now, you can put on a nice melodious song; I see this cab has a great sound system.”
I turned the volume up.
So here I was, Sagar Sharma, a simple hard-working driver stuck in a cab with a crazy religious loon. I knew for sure that Mr. Smith was a psychopath, not because he had pulled a gun on me or threatened to kill my family. He was crazy because of the extremely calm conduct he maintained during the entire conversation.
But I didn’t get it? What did he want? Why was he doing this? Was he going to kill me at the end?
I knew he wasn’t going to answer any of these questions. But I had to ask one, one which I desperately needed to know the answer to –
“I have a question I would like to ask if you allow?” I asked, hopefully.
“Yes, sure. Go ahead” he was smiling as usual.
“You are a man who is followed by so many people, of all religions alike. Nearly everyone respects you? What will you get from killing a driver?” I just wanted him to say that he isn’t going to kill me.
“Don’t worry, I am not going to kill you, you’re just an unwitting member of the larger plan?” I felt relieved & nervous at the same time. What plan was he talking about?
“What larger plan?”
“A plan to take revenge on the people who have wronged us.”
“Who has wronged you?”
He did not reply.
“You know what I don’t care who has wronged you. Can you please just let me go?” He clearly did not want to tell his ‘Grand’ plan. I decided to beg for my freedom instead.
“I can’t let you go”, he said.
“Because you’ve seen too much.”
“But you said you weren’t going to kill me!”
“That’s right; I am not going to kill you. But you are going to die today Sagar.”
Chapter 3 – The Plan
Before picking him up, I had seen, read & heard all of Mr. Smith’s interviews & speeches. That is why I couldn’t understand the reason behind his actions. He had always proposed non-violence & inclusiveness as the best features of a progressive society. His charitable work included people from all religions. Then why now? Why would change his ideology? Why couldn’t he just let me go!
After about half an hour or so, it clicked. I suddenly remembered the speech I was listening to when I entered his house. He had said something along the lines of –
“The Indian government must stop avoiding the casual racism faced by Indian Christians. We will not let Josie Millett’s death go in vain. We have suffered enough! Starting today, I pledge my unconditional support to our cause.”
And then it started making sense. Josie Millett was a 10-year-old Christian girl who had been killed in a bullying incident a week back. The incident had created uproar in the Christian community as the children bullying her were Hindu. Mr. Smith was possibly behind some sort of symbolic revenge on Hindus, as retribution towards the killing of Josie.
‘AAHHHH! That’s why I consider myself an agnostic’ I thought. ‘Well, what’s the point anyways? I am still going to die in a religiously-motivated terrorist attack.’
But all this neurotic investigation was just a theory; I thought that I should confirm this theory. I turned around to face Mr. Smith; he lowered his gun’s nozzle.
“Is this to do with Josie Millett?”
“SMART BOY!” his normally calm face expressed amazement.
“But why me? I didn’t do anything to the girl. In fact, I fiercely condemn the incident.”
His expression went back to being calm & composed.
“I overestimated your intelligence. Taking aBodh Gaya to Gaya airport drop car is just a small part of the plan. You have got nothing to do with this. You’re just a collateral loss of life.”
“Please, just leave me alone. I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
Mr. Smith went completely silent, leaving me to my own devices.
I did not want to be another ‘Collateral loss of life’! But what could I do? A single move and he would shoot me. I began evaluating options. I could simply crash the car, but then both of us could die, I could hit the brakes, but he might still be able shoot me. No matter what solution I considered, nothing seemed to end with me living.
I saw a truck approaching us in the right rear-view mirror. Honking loudly, coming up fast. I still remember the thought I had in my mind at that moment.
‘If I do this, at least I go on my own terms’.
“HEY! WHAT THE…”
Chapter 4: A Changed Man
It has been six long months since I crashed the Hippocab into that truck. I was in a coma for five months after the crash. Mr. Smith’s true intentions are still a mystery to me. Some cops did visit me the day I woke up. They told me that Mr. Smith’s luggage was found full of country-made rifles & pistols, he had probably planned a mass shooting. They did not tell me his exact plan, but they did say that he was given a state funeral & the events which occurred in that Hippocab have not been shared with the public.
One of the cops said that stories like these could begin riots; he said that Mr. Smith had been an excellent citizen for most of his life, so they decided to let him be remembered as one. They thanked me for my bravery & warned me to not tell anyone about the events which transpired on the highway.
I disagree and so I decided to tell you this story instead. I don’t care about their ‘warnings’, I have had a gun to my head before.
On a personal note, I am still scared of my wife’s anger & my children’s demands. But my neighbour dares not park in my spot when I get back!
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