My Very First Conversation in India

I hopped off the plane in New Delhi with a bag full of warnings, tips, and precautions which were all swirling around my mind as I made my way through Immigration. Since it was my initial solo debut to this chaotic sub-continent, I decided to be extra safe and booked a pre-paid taxi from inside the airport. I then walked outside and pushed through the masses of Indian men staring at me with big blank empty eyes. I figured I should start practicing the advice I had been given, so I avoided all eye contact, acted like it was just another ol’ casual day in Delhi for me, and found the pre-paid taxi stand. A man immediately approached me, grabbed my pre-paid ticket, and ushered me to his taxi. I sussed him out and concluded he was actually quite dodgy looking, but I figured that maybe that’s just India and he was probably as legitimate as they come. He threw my bags in the backseat and invited me to sit in the front. I slightly hesitated, as I recalled my friends telling me to be rude and not to talk to any taxi drivers whatsoever, but there was no room in the backseat so I took my chances and hopped in. I also noted that he was quite a bit smaller than me and very unhealthy looking, so if need be, I could probably take out the little sucker.

Thus begins my very first conversation in India, with my taxi driver. He first started gently, asking me if it was my first time in India. I slowly and confidently said “yes”. He then asked me if I was all alone. I slowly and confidently said “no”, that my friends were waiting for me at the guesthouse he was taking me to. I faked a quick phone call to add an extra element to my bullshit. Then the pace of the questions picked up. The more questions he asked, the quicker they got until they were flying at me at breakneck pace. I could barely finish answering one, when he was already half way through his next question. Below is how our conversation unfolded, and keep in mind that breakneck speed…

“Where did you fly from?”-Taxi Man
“Kathmandu in Nepal”- Me
“Are you married?”- Taxi Man
“Yes”- Me
“Where your husband?”- Taxi Man
“He was with me in Nepal, but couldn’t come to India” – Me
“When do you see him next?” – Taxi Man
“Two weeks” – Me
“Do you love him?” – Taxi Man
“Very much” – Me
“Where did you get married?” – Taxi Man
“Zimbabwe”- Me (I decided since I was already lying, I might as well be creative with it)
“Are you rich?- Taxi Man
“No”- Me
“Do you have mother and father?- Taxi Man
“Yes”- Yes
“Is your father rich?”- Taxi Man
“No”- Me
“Are you rich?”- Taxi Man
“No”… again – Me
“You have child?”- Taxi Man
“Yes, one daughter”- Me (why not!)
“How old?”- Taxi Man
“Two next March”- Me
“What’s her name”- Taxi Man
“Shaniqua”- Me
“Does she look like you?”- Taxi Man
“Kind of, but she’s a bit smaller”- Me
“Why were you in Nepal?”- Taxi Man
“Visiting my friend”- Me
“Man or woman?”- Taxi Man
“Woman”- Me
“Without husband?”- Taxi Man
“My friend has a husband, and so do I”- Me
“What does she do for work?”- Taxi Man
“Manages a hotel”- Me
“How many rooms does the hotel have?”- Taxi Man
“About 100”- Me
“WOW, big hotel. She must be very rich. Do you want whiskey?”- Taxi Man
“No, I’m okay”- Me
“Do you drink?”- Taxi Man
“No”- Me (oh, the lies…)
“Do you want hashish?”- Taxi Man
“No, thanks”- Me
“Do you like India?”- Taxi Man
“Well, I’ve only been at the airport and in your taxi so far, but the people seem friendly and inquisitive”- Me
…Just then, a motorcycle clipped the side of the car I was sitting in and knocked off the side mirror so that it was dangling. He threw a fit and yelled for a minute, and then quickly turned his focus back to the interrogation. I stifled a laugh. I was no longer afraid, just entirely amused.
“Where were you before Nepal?”- Taxi Man
“China”- Me
“Big country!”- Taxi Man
“Yeah, it’s pretty big”- Me
“Is China close to Nepal?”- Taxi Man
“Yes, it borders Nepal”- Me
“How long was the flight from China to Nepal?”- Taxi Man
“About three hours”- Me
“What did you eat on the plane?”- Taxi Man
“We didn’t get food”- Me
“Not even Coca Cola?”- Taxi Man
“No, not even Coca Cola”- Me
“That’s bad, that’s no good at all”
“It’s okay, I’ve made my peace with it”

And on we went for thirty minutes or so. After some time I sort of dazed out, absent-mindedly answering his questions, but I felt I finally understood all the warnings people had given me about not talking to taxi drivers.

Welcome to India!

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4 comments

  • Very good, Em! Good luck – have fun, be safe and we await more stories from India. Love you xxxxx

  • Lol love how “you could have taken out the little sucker” that’s my Em! Sounded a little like Taken there in the beginning of the convo- good for you and shainqua keeping your wits about you- better come home in one price! Xoxo

  • Ha, fun isn’t it. I was wondering if you would like to visit my friend in Jaipur to do some volunteer work for a week or a month? Her name is Shuchi and her main focus is women’s issues. Easiest to contact her through Facebook I think. I know you are going to be home for Xmas so prob have limited time but it’s a great way to interact with the people. Love from Ines.

    • Hi Ines! Have just seen this. It sounds like something I would really like to do, but I don’t think I’ll be able to spend much time, if any, in Jaipur. But I’ll let you know if something changes! Thanks!

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