Co Passenger

via The Co-Passenger – Tidbits

As I was leisurely packing my bag, stuffing the laptop and the lunchbox in the back pocket, I heard a notification from my phone. Using Uber Cab service for some time now, I easily guessed it was the notification from Uber- your uber has arrived. I stood up and checked the phone. The cab had arrived, ten minutes earlier than it had shown on the Uber app.

Standing in the elevator, as it descended towards the ground floor, I wondered if I had read the waiting time wrong. But I had a strong feeling that it had shown eight minutes. Maybe the app malfunctioned. So was it a technical glitch? I wondered. But a doubt had crept in, and there was no way to confirm now.

Magnolia, The building in which I stayed in was around four hundred meters inside the main entrance of the society. It was five minutes walk, I had timed it once. It bothered me for I hated when someone else made me wait. So as soon as the elevator door opened, I rushed out of it and started walking briskly towards the gate.

Reaching the exit gate, I saw a white Wagon R waiting on the opposite side of the road. I glanced at the number plate to confirm it was the same cab I’d booked. It was the same cab. After checking both sides for an oncoming vehicle, I sprinted across the road and reached the cab.

“Sorry for the delay,” I said as I slipped into the cab and closed the door behind me. The driver smiled back and started the car without saying anything.

After I settled and caught my breath I unzipped the front pocket of my bag and took out my Kindle. With work and girlfriend taking the better part of my waking time, I had decided to use the time in the cab for reading. I was near the end of a Dan Brown thriller and the whole mystery about who killed Edmund Kirch was killing me. I just couldn’t resist.

Soon, I was absorbed in the plot and lost track of the surroundings.

A sudden halt pulled me out of my imaginary world and brought me into the reality. The car had stopped under a huge building with one of the fanciest gates I have seen in a long time. From it came out a girl. After confirming the driver her name, she slipped into the passenger seat beside me.

The girl started settling without looking at me, so I resumed reading on my kindle. But then I saw from the edge of my eyes, the girl was struggling with something. She was holding a little bag in her hand and was staring at the space between us where my laptop bag was lying.

Instinctively I pulled up my bag so that she can place her bag in that space. As I looked at her and realize it was rather a small bag – a little brown handbag. And I had unnecessarily pulled out my bag for their was ample space where she could have kept it.

She must have been taken a little back for she stared at the empty spot for some time. And then after a couple of moments, realizing that I was waiting for her to keep the bag, she lowered her bag to place it at the place where my bag was kept. But to my utter surprise, she had placed her bag right in the middle of the available space. And then after ensuring that the bag is settled, turned her face forward, again without looking at me, and started fiddling with her mobile.

Realizing that the girl is lost in facebook now, I placed the bag near my foot on the floor and decided to resume reading the book, which was a better use of my time compared to asking her to adjust my bag which could have lead to a lengthy conversation. (They sometimes does)

But then for some reason, my mind kept on returning to the fact that how little regard she had for me, her fellow passenger in the shared cab.

As I was pondering over whether to talk to this girl about the etiquettes of sharing a cab, I saw the girl suddenly turning her face up from the mobile as if she remembered something and sharply turned towards left. It was then I saw her, she had kept another bag, a bigger one, on her left side, along with the other one she had kept in the space between us.

I was hit by a wave of disbelief.

In India, we have a total disregard for public space. Families talking loudly in trains as if it was their living room. People creating a mess in metros. People wasting electricity and water in offices for they are not paying for it. There is an utter lack of sense when it comes to respecting other people’s space.

I nodded my head in disagreement, realizing that it’s possible that telling her about her behaviour in the morning will only lead to an argument. So I swallowed the extreme urge to tell her about her behavior and dig my head into my kindle again.


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