Rakshabhandan to taxi drivers

Extraordinary Comes From The Ordinary

About 19,000 kaali peelis and 67,000 aggregator cabs run on the roads of Mumbai. Nonetheless, festivals like Rakshabandhan do not obstruct the smooth functioning of cabs in Mumbai.

It was drizzling outside and all of us were in a rush to reach Iskcon for the Maha-Aarti. “Beta how long for the taxi to arrive?” asks Maasi, who had come to Mumbai especially on Rakshabandhan so that my sister and I could tie a Raakhi on my 4-year old cousin’s wrist. I respond, “Maasi, there is an Ola crunch due to rains. So it might take a while for the taxi to arrive.” It is our Indian culture which drives us to take blessings of our gods and goddesses on important and auspicious days.

It is a common sight in an Indian household to see grandparents telling the younger generation to visit a temple on such days. Out of curiosity, I once asked my Nani, “Why so, Naniji?” To which she replied that it ignites a fire of hope and positivity in us. She also said that we pray in the hope of having a better future or in the hope that God will give us the strength to face the hardships in our life.

A call from Aashish Choudhary, 24, the Ola driver notified me that our ride was finally here! My little brother sat with me in the front seat next to the driver. We were stuck in traffic between the musical sounds of honking horns. And Aashish suddenly asks my little brother in a jovial manner, “Who tied you so many raakhis? Look! I haven’t got any on my wrist yet!” Instinctively I looked at my watch and it showed 23 minutes past 5.

I wondered how ordinary it was for me to start my day by tying a raakhi to my brother early morning, but in the process, I realised that perhaps people like Aashish could hardly find time to celebrate Rakshabandhan. I asked him, “Don’t you have a sister?” He replied, “Not one but two! I have an elder sister who is married and a younger sister who has been calling since morning to warn me that I wouldn’t be let inside the house in case I’m not at home before the day ends.” “Then why didn’t he ask his sister to tie a raakhi before leaving for work?” I asked, to which he responded, “I have been making sure since three in the morning that brothers and sisters reach each other in time but my own sister is yet to tie me a raakhi… now she will definitely throw a fit when I reach home late.” I asked him to try and reach home before the day ended. He said, “ghar ki janata se pehle desh ki janata aati hai (People of the country come before people at home).” I was astounded.

We have certainly forgotten that extraordinary comes from ordinary. Aashish continued speaking to my little brother while I was still entranced by this conversation. It was only the chanting of Hare Rama – Hare Krishna which made me realize that we were on time for the evening Maha-Aarti at Iskcon.

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