Yet another strike. Damn these Kerala politicians murmured the cabbie. The lockdown has taken our jobs and now these strikes.
He lingered outside the Karippur Airport, out of sight of the union workers. They would not take kindly to him talking on passengers today. But he needed the money. An Emirates flight had just landed. If lucky, he could sneak a passenger on the sly. He decided to take that risk. His eyes locked on a single passenger walking hurriedly towards his cab.
“I want to go to Kozhikode Medical College. Will you come? She asked.
“Madam, there is a strike today”.
“It is an emergency” she pleaded.
“Risky madam, but for 2000 rupees I will take you”
“Agreed” she said and jumped into the car.
The cabbie couldn’t believe his luck. 2000 bucks for a 15 minute ride! He started the car.
“Madam, if you don’t mind, can I ask you why you are going to hospital? Anything serious”?
She caught he eye through the rear view mirror. A hesitant glance. But then what the hell thought she.
“Yes. My sister. She attempted suicide two days ago. She is alright now. Not discharged yet”
“Oh I am so sorry madam. Will get you there in 10 minutes”.
“Would you like to say what happened madam? Sorry to intrude, but if you talk to someone, you will feel better”.
“I can tell you” she said. “What difference will it make?”
“Although we are from Kozhikode, myself and my younger sister were brought up in Chembur in Mumbai. She fell in love with a guy named Chandran who stayed in a nearby apartment. They were going steady and suddenly one day he decided to move on. Nobody knows why. Anyway, it affected her deeply and she attempted suicide. She was on rehab for many months and gradually recovered. We decided to move to Kerala so that she can start a new life here. She was ok for a couple of years and now suddenly she attempted suicide again. Mom says that she wants to meet him one last time. We have no contact details. That guy used to work in an IT firm but the firm has shutdown. We don’t even have a picture. I haven’t seen him either”.
“We have reached. Where did you stay in Chembur Madam?” asked the cabbie whose voice seemed to quiver with emotion on hearing the tragic narrative.
“We used to stay in Woodland Apartments near the railway station. Thanks for listening. What is your name?” she asked as she got out and handed over the fare.
“My name is Krishnan, lied Chandran, struggling to hide the tremor in his voice. I don’t need the money madam. Hope Trisha will get well soon. I will pray for her”. He slowly drove away.
She moved towards the hospital entrance, taken aback by his reaction.
How did he know her sister’s name? Stop she screamed at the speeding car. It never did.
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