Wednesday, August 17, 2005

HUMara FM?

I had to work late yesterday. So when I got off work, it was too late to catch the bus, otherwise I'd end up getting home really late. So I hailed a cab. The driver was a Pakistani guy.

Now, I have nothing against any country in particular, or people, or religion. I've had the most wonderful conversations with Pakistani and well as Indian taxi drivers. I always found it interesting to hear about life from another perspective than just my little existance, which kinda explains my addiction to blogging. Anyway, this guy, was different.

I asked this guy to swtich on the radio, so he put hum fm ( one of the stations here). Then after some time, the Azan started playing. Now I have nothing against Islam. It's just another religion. I feel the same way about mine.I respect Islam just as much as I do Hinduism and Christianity, or any other religion. Cos in the end, its the person that matters na?

No offense, but I really didn't wanna listen to the Azan at the time. So I asked him to change the channel. He refused! I thought I should let it go, it's his religion and he wanted to listen to the prayer, so that's ok. I started listening to the radio on my cell phone. But the volume in the car was way too high for me to listen to my cell-radio. So I asked him to please reduce the volume. He refused!

Can you believe it?!!!!

The asshole started preaching, about how he is a Muslim and even if the shiekh came and asked him to switch it off he wouldn't and how can I listen to music, but not listen to the azan, that the person who was speaking was holy and blah blah....

I got so damn angry! I had hired the cab and the radio is for ME to listen to. If he wants to listen to something, that's fne, but not when he is working, not when I had hired him! I have to pay 25 bloody bucks to get from here to there as opposed to the 2.50 I usually pay on the bus, and I HAVE the choice to listen to whatever I wanted to. That's what the damn radio was there for! For the passengers!

Now my Hindi is pretty bad at the best of times, but when I'm angry, the only language that comes to me is English, and this asshole did not understand it! Arrrrrgggh!

I told him to shut up and he wouldn't, obviously, so we both yelled at each other and the Azan got over by the time. ( How ironic is that?) But we still kept yelling. It was so frustrating! He said if I told him to shut up he would stop the car and I could get the hell out. I told him no way is he gonna do that in the middle of the highway where there was no chance of me getting another taxi, I would not pay him, and to take me to the police station. And he said fine, but he didn't obviously. He took me home. And I paid him. And that was that.

All this ... for what? For asking him to reduce the volume? Is that an insult to ANY religion? When I was in Delhi, there used to be people ( hindu people) who used to sing religious songs on the loudspeaker ALL NIGHT LONG, and they did NOT sound anything like Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik! I used to get so damn bugged. That happens in Kerala too. And my house is right next to the temple! So during festivals, I could pretty much say adios to my eardrums.

Do whatever you want, but why impose it on someone else? If I played nickelback LOUD all night long, won't they complain? Course they will. Suppose I sang all night long? hah!

What happened to respect & tolerance? Was it ever really there?

Sigh! Such a waste of emotion.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Religion aside, the first thing you should have done is call the customer service number of the taxi. I personally know an incident where the customer complained of overcharging where the Dubai Taxi official (a national) came and broke the cab driver's patahaka (civil id) on the spot, and fired him from service. The taxi services take customer service seriously.

Sonia said...

i would have, i seriously considered it. But they're all muslims! how wud i know whose side they wud be on?

First Rain said...

Tolerance. Most wanted. Least found.

The Arbit Council said...

relax.. no reason to get too worked up.. _maybe_ he did have a strong reason :-D

Anonymous said...

True, sonia-ji, there are rotton apples in the basket and it depends on what apple one gets access to in such a crisis situvation. There was an incident in my company where labourer roommates (one bihari and one keralite) got to fist fights to settle old scores. The bihari started it but he got bashed up bad, bleeding from the face and head. Company called the Police, bihari (was a muslim) tried to bring the religion into it saying the roomies booze, smoke and raise hell in room because of which he cannot pray, etc. The cops quizzed men in nearby rooms and found that actually the mallu guy was a non-smoker non-drinker and dedicated family-man and in fact the bihari was the drinker. The Police got real angry with the bihari. Net result: bihari terminated by company and sent home. The mallu guy had the good fortune that the cops were fair in this case.
(The bihari in the story is one of a type who gets very religious during the holy month, just to avoid work.)
Next time you travel, if you notice, Metro taxi drivers are almost exclusively Pakistanis. Not that I have anything against them either.
Actually I would prefer to hire a Pak cabbie rather than, particularly a mallu cabbie. Before I got my licence, I used to travel a lot on taxi on company business, so I know it, but you cannot even imagine the cocus under the surface.

Rhyncus said...

If you hadn't had a yelling match with him, the situation had its share of humour. Okay, black comedy even. :)

കലേഷ്‌ കുമാര്‍ said...

If you were in Saudi, the situation would have been Worse. Dubai is the most conservative place in the middle east as far as i know.

Sorry to hear your experience,but, tolerance is the best thing to observe in Middle East!

Sonia said...

FR: Tell me about it! i was so bugged cos he wanted ME to listen to it too! he would not be satisfied with listening to it himself!

Arbit Council: WTF???

anonymous: WHY are u anonymous?

Rhyncus: ha ha!

kalesh: actually Dubai is the most liberal of them all. Its Saudi that's most conservative.

injinuity said...

Religious sentiments run high in the middle east, best not to tinker around with those sentiments until and unless you are certain that you have solid backup.

And since when does one start expecting good service in the gulf, there is so much money around that all products and services get sold quickly, so good customer service is not an issue in our part of the world.

Mirage said...

Oh well, he was prbbly frustrated and u were prbbly tired! Frustration and fatigue dont make a pretty picture!

Arun R said...

Nothing more to get u pissed off, that too after a days work!!!!

the wise old man said...

Possessive little thing you are, aren't you? Never heard about a taxi radio becoming the passenger's property..and that too for a, what, 20 min drive? Come on lady, you gotta be kidding me!!

Jithu said...

i think tolerance still holds...

Sonia said...

to injinuity: customer service is KEY!

to mirage: probably.

to arun r: i know!

to zerish: i don't own it, but all the facilities in the cab are for my use. I got that from a taxi driver himself! and i don't even care about that. What i was bothered was that he was not satisfied listening to the azan, he wanted ME to listen to it too!

to jithu: ummm, dunno what u mean.

Slice Of Life said...

hi
it was a thought provoking post...people make big fuzz abt religion...in the name of religion they can do anything...
like ur experiencelike living near a temple, during my student i found diificult to study during my exams due to blaring music from temples
uma

Rahul said...

You should have complained and got him fired. Such a departure from Mumbai cabbies...they have been just wonderful to me. About religion, i have always believed that a faith is only as good as its followers are. There is no point in claiming that it is misinterpreted. That's what religions are meant to do- guide the followers on the how to's of life. We carry political correctness too far these days.

Sonia said...

Rahul, not all cabbies are like that. I've met some very nice people, indians and pakistanis. this one was an unfortunate exception.

Rahul said...

that's right! Anyway, you probably had your long time's share of bad experience there and can look forward to sunny days :-)

ചില നേരത്ത്.. said...

Sonia,
Iam a muslim and am agreeing to some points u mentioned here.
U have enough freedom to choose ur channels while u r at a cab.
In any point of view, I canot justify the doings of ur cab driver,Cauz azaan is for muslims to head for Prayer.It is very important to observe prayer then after aazaan.
AS a muslim, I feel very sorry to u to such a bad incident u had in the name of Islam.
I would like to consider this incident to invite u to learn about Islam.That will heal your discomfort about Islam.
Please spare ur leisure time for that.

ibru-

Sonia said...

to Ibru: I do not have any "discomfort about Islam." I respect the religion, like I do all others. I live very close to a really old and very beautiful mosque here in Dubai. I've lived here for a long time, and can hear the Azan playing from my house. When I listen it, it brings back fond memories of different times.I have fasted for Ramadan and celebrated Eid. I know enough about the religion to not be bitter or harbour bad feelings against Islam, or any religion for that matter (except maybe scientology, MAYBE!). I was just bugged with that cab driver. But thank you for the offer.

vAgue said...

now that was a rant!:)
but I know how you feel- these arguments can be so heated, so pissing and so pointless. I am left simmering for a long time after...
hope you cooled down quicker!

zombie said...

yello lady!!

Jes read all your interesting posts ...I have missed out on so so much man..this incident was really funny and funnier was to see that so many ppl felt so strongly about it...

well I shall join the gang: here's what i have to say: atleast he had the sense to take you home so that he gets his dough!

:-) quite a ppint of view isn't it? ;-))

Sonia said...

vague: yeah, i've cooled down. it helps to blog about it!

zombie: good to see ure blogging again. and ure point of view is NOT so good. imagine the emotional trauma i had to go through from that horrid old man! i should sue him! (big theatrical sigh here! *grin*)

Lost in trance... said...

"when I'm angry, the only language that comes to me is English"
WOW...never thot i'd find a partner....:o)

Sonia said...

to lost in trance: lol! i know loads of people like that! funny how u focus on the minute details!

Amrit(raj) said...

classic!!

you go girl.. hah! :P