So much of Mumbai and its typical "isms" be discovered in those black-bodied, yellow-topped moving things. Just like India lives in its villages, some part of Mumbai definitely lives in its taxis. Savour this.
On a trip from Churchgate to CST, you ask the cabbie to turn left before Flora Fountain. But he tells you, "No, the Flora Fountain route is shorter. I have done the ARD." I wondered what ARD meant. The pace of Mumbai is such, it doesn't take long to decipher that he means R&D.
Then, another day, you are returning from a gastronomic journey to Mohammed Ali Road. And, there's this one cabbie who wants to go home. Nevertheless, he will drop you at CST first. High on kebabs and nihari, a friend gets chatting with the cabbie. Asks him if it's his girlfriend who called when his mobile rings. On being told that they are waiting for him at home, the cabbie wants to know what he will eat for dinner. "Whatever has been cooked."
When we reached CST, and the meter clocks Rs. 30, midnight charges included, the friend tells the cabbie, "Arre, you're a friend, take Rs. 20, not 30." The taxiwallah understands friendship. "If you're a friend, pay me Rs. 10 more instead. Give me 40," he says with a smile.