The Smiling Cabbie

Were you ever welcomed by a cab driver to his cab wholeheartedly? You don’t really have to stop one, but he pulls up right next to you. Through the glass you see him exhibiting his, not so white teeth, cutting his handsome face into two halves with a big smile. The moment you open the door, he beats the dust off the seat and he greets you in,”Kuzu-zangpola, gen, gen la.”


I came across with one in the morning, and I was thinking to myself, it’s rather a very rare scene in Thimphu, unless you are some kind of expats or known to them. Because for the cab drivers you are just another passenger and you got to act like one, when he is like, “I own this cab, so I am the boss.” Though I was a little taken aback by the unusual royal treatment early in the morning, I had no wish of beginning my day with a negative thought, so I greeted him back with a smile and settled in my seat.


The cab started to roll, but he won’t stop looking at me time and again, and his smile, what to say. That made me a little uneasy, but he was too smart to read the signs on my face, when he stopped doing that, however, asked me for a favour in return. “Can you please write a sms for me?” Again he smiled, but this time it was a little shy one. “I had a little problem with a girl last night, can you write a message for me please?” No wonder you gave me the largest smile of all the cab drivers and the royal treatment, I thought to myself. This time I could not help than to smile. “Okay, okay,” I replied, he promptly passed me his black and white cell phone.


Fixing my thumbs ready on the key pad to type, I waited for his message. He cleared his throat. I could see his Adams apple climbing up his neck and fall back again. Then he began, “you see, that’s the problem with me, I don’t know how to speak and write in English. I have to depend on others.” I did my best to catch up with him and typed very fast. “No, no, you don’t have to type this,” he laughed at me. “Hahahaha,” I had to join him. “Please, tell me when to start, okay.”    


Now write this he said, “You told me to come to your place and to come alone. I came there last night as you said. I was on time. I was alone. But, when I called, you rejected my calls several times and later you switched your cell off. I have waited for you hours all alone in the dark, hoping you would come. You never came. You know I came from distance. Later I had to sleep in my cab. How could you do this to me? Why did you lie to me?”


I didn’t believe his single word, yet, I felt sorry for one moment as I typed his message, for he appeared to be some kind of an honest cab driver who works day and night to make some cash and later lured off by some smart girls. I have heard a lot of similar incidences. However, I was a little skeptical about the authenticity of his words, still what is there to lose for typing his message for him from his cell? 


I listened to whatever he had to say and typed letter by letter. Gosh, the predecessor of cellular phone was such a hassle; got to press three times on the very same key just to get the desired letter. I wondered how I used to take pride in owning a black and white cell phone a few years back and typing was fun, not to forget the snake game. Just a few years down the lane and everything has changed drastically. At one point, I felt like telling him to buy a simple phone, which supports easy, but a very handy mobile application like Wechat, which requires no technological knowledge, other than holding the button when you speak and release it. You don’t even have to press the send button to send. Again on the second thought, I thought the black and white is better. 


His message was getting longer and it was getting a little tense too. Sentence after sentence it was overwhelming with anger and frustration. I obliged him very politely to the point when he told me to write, “You mean nothing to me. Girl like you is flooding the city. I will wait and see how far you will get in your life without me. Such a cheap girl.”  Now that made me to stop then and there, I felt cheated for he used me to convey all his anger and hatred. I thought he was going to let me write some kind of an apology or seeking an apology from her. I asked him, “Who really is she? Your wife? Your girl friend? Your friend’s wife? Your friend’s girl friend?” “Hahahaha,” she is like a wife to me.” His laugh made me angry this time. Suddenly I saw his smart phone in the dash board of his cab and that made me real angry. 


I didn’t say anything, simply I deleted the whole message and instead sent her a page full of SMILEY faces. He thought I sent his message but, it was one smiley day for her.


I hope, later when he finds out that I have sent her a page full of smileys, he will learn his lesson that, “Girls are neither cheap nor expensive, but simply deserves a  SMILEY.”






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