It was to be another night of work, another set of passengers.
But it turned out to be a long, unforgettable nightmare.
Here is the story just as the cabbie told me.
I drive this cab mostly at night.
That night I picked up this two women from a posh locality in Pune. They looked short on dress and high on alcohol. I would later learn that they were college students.
One sat next to me in front while the other settled at the back. I wonder if it was the AC or the movement of the car that triggered it. Suddenly, the one in front threw up in the car. Almost at the same time, the other one also threw up. Then they were both out. The stink was very bad. And I didn’t want them lolling about.
So, I stopped the car. Used the seat belt to ensure the front one was securely packed. Did the same to the one at the back.
It must have been after midnight when we reached their destination, a hostel. The security guy took one look and refused to let the car enter.
“Show their IDs.”
“It is too late for inmates to be allowed back in.”
I didn’t like the way things were shaping up. Fortunately, there was a police station nearby. I took the car there and explained the situation. In a jiffy, the cops turned the story around. Suddenly, I became the prime suspect. Where did I pick them up from? What did I do to them? After a lot of pleading, they let me go. The women are your responsibility. In case we hear of any rape, we know whom to book.
So, I drove some distance away and stopped the car. There was half a bottle of vodka and pack of Marlboro lying next to one of the girls. I picked up both and locked up the car. Whenever they woke up and tried to open the door, I would know.
I called up my service provider. Explained the situation. Two executives turned up—a woman and a man. When they looked inside, I could see the woman executive trying not to puke. They requested me to stay with the car and the women. They would ensure that I would not land in any trouble. Plus, they promised compensation. Then they left.
I sat a little a distance away, by the road. Finished the vodka and the cigarettes. I thought I deserved that for all the trouble I was in. After some time, the car alarm went off. They were up.
“Are we safe? Where are we?” They were not out of it yet but at least they were conscious. I explained the situation to them and assured them that they were safe. They were very apologetic. Then they asked me to take them to a resort a little distance away.
It was almost morning when they got out of the resort. When they did, they were clutching two bottles of alcohol. Both were drinking all the way back to the hostel.
They got out and again apologized profusely. I said I had suffered a huge loss thanks to them. One of them asked me “how much”. The fare itself was nearly 3,000. Plus, lost business while I was babysitting them. Plus, more potential lost business while the car remained at the garage getting a thorough cleaning. “Maybe about 9 or 10,000,” I suggested. She went to the ATM. Came back and gave me 14,000.
I pleaded with them not to drink so much. They were lucky they were in Pune and not in Delhi. They promised they would take care.
I never met them after that.