Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
My train reached London Euston station. A proper London railway station, it was intense for it was my first time in a train station in London. I would have loved to hang around the station a bit and romance its history but I had a mission to accomplish the moment I got there – in a sort of a James Bond style. Catherine had offered shelter for that night, she lived somewhere close to Whitechapel, sharing a flat with her boyfriend. I had to get there immediately for Catharine needed to leave on an assignment and asked me to reach her place by 1730. London Euston promised an interesting time but I had none for it that evening. (indian railway stations – railway children – nesbit’s book)
Reaching Catharine’s flat the economical and normal way would take 1 hour 20 minutes. And I had only 20 minutes. I dashed out of the station and took a taxi from the station’s taxi stand. The taxi driver didn’t help me with my awkward luggage, not that I minded it but I had taken a taxi in Liverpool and the driver there was a gentleman who helped with the luggage – London’s perhaps different. I got into the taxi and told him where I needed to go.
Catharine was on the phone and though I understand her urgency, it was embarrassing for me to ask the taxi driver how much time it would take for us to reach Whitechapel – actually that wasn’t the embarrassing part. After the taxi driver said ‘about 20 minutes,’ Catharine wanted me to ask him if he was giving a correct estimation or if it can get late. That question I didn’t want to ask but had to and I did, hesitantly.
Positive that he had given a definite estimate, I was relived to hang up. Having spoken for a minute, the driver got a little curious and I was happy to share details with him. I told him I was from India, on a holiday and that I had spent 12 lovely days in England and was heading back to my country tomorrow.
It made me smile when he asked me about the traffic in my city. It’s interesting what topical questions come from people given their backgrounds and interests. I told him about my commute to office in great detail. He was fascinated. (what i told him – hyderabad – 2 hr commute – pace – accidents)
He then complimented me on my English, it most pleased me – a wonderful souvenir from England, the compliments of an English taxi driver in London on my ‘wonderful’ English. He then asked me how many languages I spoke and seemed impressed when I told him how many. I took an instant liking to this taxi driver after we started chatting. (about picking up languages in india)
He could sense I was tensed about reaching Catharine’s place on time. He assured me that we would be there on time for he always gives his customers atleast 8-10 minutes buffer time lest the traffic gets worse. The traffic was bad but didn’t eat away all the buffer time, just five minutes and we reached Whitechapel in 15 minutes.
It’s a pity I didn’t hand him my business card, how cool it’d be to be friends with him. It’s a shame that I don’t remember his face! If it weren’t for the buzz in my head, I’d have certainly heard my journal yelling in my head to note down his taxi number.
This is a story only for the memory. Im a story teller and I believe great stories happen if you dream about them. I wouldn’t believe it is not possible that I should get into the same taxi on my next visit to London.
It was a perfect London taxi, like this one but not this one.
And yes, taxis in London are super expensive.