I close the door behind me. I have the cell in my hand and I wait for the cab to move.
‘Hai, I am James’, he says. ‘Are you Hindu?’, he asks me in the same breath.
‘Ya-ha!’, I reply.
‘Namaste’, he adds.
‘Namaste’, I reply, with a smile.
‘How do you say your name?’, he asks.
I roll my eyes and then hope he didn’t catch me at it. I reply ‘M-AH-NOH-GNAH’ “. (Or should I have told him I am Queen Bee? I wondered)
I sat with my fingers crossed. I didn’t want to write another blog post about my name. Let this be something else! I hoped.
‘I see you have a ‘bindu’ on your forehead’, he says eyeing me from the mirror.’ Married , right? Married women wear ‘bindu’ “, he adds.
That’s new, I thought. I gave a snort-like laugh.
‘Ya-ha!’, I reply again and this time I wonder if I am beginning to sound like Monica after all the FRIENDS watching spree!
Before I elaborate my ‘ya-ha’, James plunges into conversation.
‘I met many Indian women, they told me that ‘bindu’ on forehead means that the person is married’, he says again and I begin to wonder if its his way of questioning me.
‘Yes. Indian women wear BINDI on their forehead, more so if they are married. Some wear it no matter what and some don’t at all. It is all personal choice nowadays. But I love my Bindi and I wear it and ‘yes’ I am married.’ I reply. I was sure I answered all his seemingly innocent questions.
‘So if you are angry on your husband, do you remove your ‘bindu’?’, he asks.
I ignore to answer the question. I find it very rude.
‘Indian women are generally married before they are 30 years old. Divorces are uncommon among you people. Arranged marriages are a norm. I also know that traffic in India is very bad!’, he says.
I let the left eyebrow shoot up into my hair, like a bow which just fired a well directed arrow!
MARRIAGE- DIVORCE- TRAFFIC, not exactly the topics to discuss in the same vein. Not if you are expected to debate about them to an unknown cab driver, bent on having his culture lessons through a 15 minute drive.
Even before I reply, he adds, ‘I want to visit India someday.’
I understand that he is not exactly a person who waits for an answer, until he truly seeks it.
‘Do visit India. There is more than just the traffic there. Indian cities are all as crowded as New York!’, I reply.
I look out of the window, if crowd in New York is good, then so is it in India!
‘I am 40 year old divorcee. I married a beautiful woman, but my parents didn’t like her. She had this multiple personality disorder,you know?’, he asks.
I do know, I remember Aparichithudu movie, thanks to Shankar!
‘I know,so sorry’, I reply.
‘Now, at my age, I know that beauty is not everything, but nature of a person is’, he says.
‘Hmm. Yes it is’, I reply. My destination is a mile away, I note.
‘I want to date an Indian woman, but there are less for my age. Practically no divorcees at all!’, he adds with a flat voice.
He then continues talking about how he has another job and he is just a cab driver for the sake of it. God knows what that means.
‘Must be fun’, I reply.
Before long he asks ‘what is your age?’
‘Aha!’, I say under my breath. Almost like a Eureka moment. This was what he was driving at? I wonder.
I blurt the answer before saying,’ That’s my destination’, as I open the door and jump out.
‘Have a good one’, I say behind my back.
‘You too’, James replies.
Phew! So much for a casual talk, in the cab!
- This post is not intended to hurt anyone. It is just to show what people may be thinking about Indian women and India.
- James was friendly, he also told me about the good Indian places to eat at. Although I replied to him that ‘no Indian restaurant I have been to, has as good food as we have in India’ and thats true. I do miss Indian restaurants more now.
- Let me add, there are many friendly cabbies in Charlotte.