Taxi Chronicles (Inspired by True Story)
Taxi Chronicles by Prasanna
A vacant taxi is speeding towards central Kathmandu on a hot summer’s night. Suddenly the taxi driver catches glimpse of a few lit mobiles waving him to stop the vehicle. By the time, he stops he has already passed the location where the mobiles were being waved. He backs up, stops the vehicle and gets out but can’t see anyone. He shrugs it off and keeps driving. After awhile he comes across a woman by the road who waves at him to stop. He stops and lets her get into the vehicle.
Soon they arrive at a house where she tells the driver to stop.
“Please stay in the car, I will go into the house and get the fare.”, she says.
“Ok. But please hurry.”, he replies.
The woman takes out a key from her purse and unlocks the main gate. Then she goes into the compound, unlocks the front door and gets inside the house. Time passes, ever so slowly, while in wait.
After about ten minutes the driver becomes restless and goes inside and knocks on the door.
An elderly looking man answers the door.
“Can I help you?”, the man asks.
“Sir, a lady just went inside the house saying she will get the taxi fare. I have been waiting outside for some time now but there is no sign of her.” the driver replies.
The man puts on a quizzical look and replies, “The woman you speak of is my daughter. But she has been dead for a few years. Strange. How much is the fare?”
“Its…..It's Rs 300 sir.”, the driver replies.
The man pulls out some money from his wallet and gives it to the driver. The driver returns back to his vehicle visibly shaken.
A cold, wintry, hazy night in the heart of Kathmandu. The night is still, occasionally punctuated by a cry of street dogs. A gentle rain starts to fall glistening the pavements. There is usual hustle bustle around Bir hospital. Late night tea and momo stalls selling their concoctions to the whomever come who may.
A woman is seen waving a taxi to a stop. The taxi stops and she get in.
“Where to?”, the taxi driver enquired.
“Can you please take me to Chauni?”, she asked.
After about half an hour they arrive at Chauni and the woman instructs the driver to stop the vehicle in front of a house with a white picket fence.
“Can you please stop in front of this house?”, the woman asks.
“Ok.”, the driver replies and stops the car glancing at the meter that reads 200.
“Can you go and knock on the front door? My brother lives here and he’s going to pay for the fare?”, she enquires.
The driver goes inside the compound and knocks on the gate. After a while, a man comes out.
“Can I help you?”, he asks.
“There’s a lady in my taxi who says that she lives here. She told me that her brother lives at this house and he’s going to pay for the taxi fare which is Rs 200”, the driver explains.
The man hesitates and replies, “I used to have a sister just like you described, but she has been gone for a few years now. She died at Bir hospital.”
The driver is horrified to hear this and rushes back to the taxi to find it utterly empty.