I don’t have to explain it to you … no hunting for the car keys, no need to worry about reaching behind you to retrieve a thrown sippy cup and no longer the requirement to be “on your game” while behind the wheel.
Guess what else comes with having a driver? Someone ELSE cleans up the car. It is freshly washed first thing in the morning, and several times throughout the day. The interior is cleaned DAILY. No more finding rancid cheese sticks or melted fruit snacks.
If I’ve had a long night, I can doze on my way back from school drop off. If I want to read the paper, I can do it in the car. If I’ve let my purse get out of control, I can simply go through it, en route to the next destination.
The interesting thing – on the days I choose to look out the window – is that there are loads of other women sharing the same road.
Some of them are fellow expats. It’s obvious that they are expats, though not visually apparent from which country they hail from. Some (if not most) sit in the same seat as me, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, nose buried in a book, or fingers typing an email. Some appear to be exhausted, succumbed to the daily grind of getting through their days in Delhi. Head resting in their hand, body slumped.
Others appear to be actively engaged in discussions with their children, or the fellow female passengers – possibly on their way to a lunch date or a morning coffee.
Some of them are young students, crammed into a tiny bus, with brilliant white uniforms (how they keep them white is a secret I may never know). Hair braided into two braids, tied off with big ribbon bows with oversized barrettes holding back the wayward strands of hair and bangs.
One day I saw a very white and very blond woman. If I had to guess, I’d say she’d only been in the country for a day or two, judging by the paranoid look on her face. A beggar approached her window, which was rolled down, and pointed out the baby on her hip. She got aggressive and began holding the baby up physically to the window, speaking to this petrified woman through the open window.
I could see the look in her eyes, as she glanced towards the rearview mirror – trying to ask the cab driver silently with her stare – to help her. The air conditioning must not have been working in the cab, and that day the heat was stifling.
She let tears fall and tried to close her eyes. Each time she attempted to shut out the drama right outside her window though, her eyes sprang back open. As if she couldn’t help but look, listen and experience. The relief on her face as the traffic light turned green, and her cab inched forward, away from that woman and the baby, was evident.
I see blue license plated cars, which means its a diplomat’s car. Is the woman riding solo in that car the diplomat, or is she married to one? Does she like it here or would she rather return to their last posting? Does she speak multiple languages and have a road map of history that would take years to tell?
I also sometimes glance out of my window and see a yellow and green rickshaw. Because of the way they’re constructed, often times you can’t see the passengers inside, only their feet, and their hands – most often folded neatly in their lap, clutching their bags.
I see all of these other women … every day. I’ll most likely never know their stories.
What if I did know their stories? Would I take the time to listen? To offer a bit of advice or a shoulder to lean on? Would I smile a fake plastered grin and say “yea, lunch sometime sounds nice.” Would I take the time to really get to know them … if the glass between us wasn’t the barrier, would I bother getting to know them?
When it’s not convenient to make a friend … do you make the effort anyway?