Note: Some of the words are written in Hindi in the below post. The English translation is in Blue.
Having taken my decision, it was now time to act on it and yet I had an uneasy feeling. I was unsure. “Why was I unsure?”, I ruminated. The comments on the post What’s the Right Decision? Why is it so difficult to decide sometimes? and the good wishes and prayers that you’ll had sent my way had made me feel more confident. Yet, like they say, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the sip”, I couldn’t be completely sure. “Is this the right time?“, I mentally calculated, mechanically entering the cab waiting for me.
Preoccupied, I told the driver the destination. A big-sized man in his late fifties ( I gathered because the taxi companies here don’t employ drivers over 60), he looked way older; the silvery hair and the white beard having a lot to do with it. He appeared to have been squeezed in; his head, a few inches away from the roof of the taxi and his entire frame jutting out on either side of the driver’s seat. Looking up for a brief moment to ensure he had taken the right road, I turned towards the window, lost in my train of thoughts until we reached the roundabout, when I muttered, “Straight”. Still early in the morning, my voice came out in muffled tones.
“Not Right turn?”, he asked.
“No”, I replied, in a pensive mood
“Wahan se kam nahin hota?” he continued in Urdu which I understood, in Hindi ( “Isn’t it lesser when you take the other path?”).
“Nahin. Wahan se bhi utna hi hota hai jitna es raaste se ” I answered in Hindi, looking in his direction now and he understood it in Urdu. ( “No. The charges are the same on both the routes“).
“Zindagi ki tharah. Aap jo bhi raasta apnaay, aakhir mein wohi hota hai jo hona hota hai“, he continued (“Like Life. No matter which path you take, in the end the result is the same as it’s already decided by Him“).
The comment had done the job of snapping me out of my reverie. Paying close attention now, I responded, “Sahi hai!” ( “correct“), fully awakened by this exchange. “Was he a mind reader?”. The rightness of the decision I had taken, is all I could think of. I was confused and worried about the consequences.
“Would I worry if I knew in advance the impact of my decisions on the future?“. ” I wouldn’t!”. Here was this person telling me, quite literally that I had nothing to fret about, the consequences in the end, the very end, the bigger picture would always end up being the same. Those little turns did not matter in the final scheme of things. I probably would not have completely agreed with him on most occasions because I believed in actions, the power of changing one’s destiny; but not today.
I was desperately looking for answers, for cues and signs so I knew what I was doing was right. (I have been taking a taxi to work every day for the last 4 years and not once has a taxi driver engaged in such a philosophical conversation).
This man from the land of “The Kite Runner”, the land of the “Kabuliwala” , with a voice so deep, it resonated, of the mountains that he had grown on, with lines on his face that resembled the rugged terrain he came from, and eyes full of wisdom ( I managed to get a peek through the rear-view mirror), had managed to calm my tormented mind. “A sign from the heavens, was it?”
“It doesn’t matter which road you take, the result is and will always be what it’s meant to be”he had said. Not something that an skeptic would accept but I wasn’t a skeptic; so I heard the rationale without questioning it. I believed in little miracles and this for me was the universe conspiring to reinforce the decision I had made.
“Kuch log paise, kuch shohrat ke peeche bhagthe hai. Lekin utna hi paate hai jitna unke naseeb mein likha hai. Usse ek guna jyaada ya ek guna kam nahin” he continued (Some people run after money, some after fame but they can enjoy the fruit of their success as is their fate decided by God. Not one penny more. Not one penny less).
“Left”, I managed to say, as we neared the office, clearing my throat (it was as if the thoughts racing across my head had jammed my throat).
“Shukriya. Aapne mere bahut saare sawaalon ka jawab diya. Jin sawaalon ko lekar mein aaj ghar se nikli” I said with a smile full of gratitude and got out of the cab. (“Thank you. You ( said with respect) answered many of my questions – the questions I had, as I walked out of the door today).
“Acche logon ke saath accha hi hota hai. Khuda Hafiz” (Good things happen to good people. May God be with you), he said and drove away.
Crossing the road to the office, my heart and head felt lighter. “Who was he?”, “Why had he got into a random conversation with me?”, “Why had he said all the things that he had?”, “Was he right?”.
I did feel better. And that’s what mattered. I would probably never see him again.
This conversation with the cabbie…”Is that what they call a conversation with God?”.
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