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It was Monday, the start of another week. After enjoying two days at home I had to return to the metropolis where I worked. I savoured the three-hour bus ride on the expressway, and upon reaching the metropolis hailed a cab to take me to my office.
I had a nagging suspicion that the cab driver was taking me for a ride. I had been in the metropolis for six months now and always visited my hometown, which was only 180 kilometres away, on weekends. I took an early bus to reach the metropolis around 10 am, and then a cab or an autorickshaw from the bus stand would take just 20 minutes to reach my office and the fare would be around 40 rupees. I had become quite accustomed to these journeys, and had become quite familiar with the surroundings.
But the cab driver was driving on a road which was unfamiliar, and the surroundings did not strike any chord. Maybe he is following a shorter route, I thought to myself. En route, the cab driver pointed out landmarks of the city as though he were a travel guide. He had recognized I was a stranger in these parts - these cab drivers have an uncanny knack of recognizing strangers from natives.
Even after 30 minutes when I could see no sight of my office, I began to get worried. There was no doubt now that he was taking me for a ride. He was following a longer route to charge me a higher fare. But I could do nothing about it now.
After nearly 40 minutes of driving, the familiar buildings and restaurants began to show up. Five minutes later we were at the gates of my office.
"How much is the fare?" I asked him, quite sure he would demand nothing less than 60 rupees."
"Eighty-one rupees," he said.
I had been expecting it but I did not want to leave without giving him a piece of my mind.
"Hey, you think I am an absolute stranger in these parts? You are wrong; I have been here for six months now. I am certain you purposely followed a longer route to charge me more," I told him.
The man listened with his head bowed down as though overcome by remorse. I felt happy that I was making an impression. Maybe my reprimand will reform him, I thought.
I removed my wallet, counted 80 rupees and handed the money to him.
A few more words will rub it in well and good, I thought. "If you think you can do business by cheating people, you are wrong. No one will travel in your cab."
The man listened without uttering a single word of protest; his head was still bowed down.
I had reformed him! there wasn't any need to say anything more. It is always better not to overdo things. I made to go. He called me and said, "The fare is 81 rupees. You have to pay me one more rupee."
I dug into my pockets, removed a one-rupee coin, gave it to him, and without another word crossed over to the other side of the gate into the safe premises of my office complex.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu