13 June, 2021

Training At T-Point

Auto drivers, bus drivers, cabbies get a quick souse in good manners

Training At T-Point

The teacher stalks up and down the front row of the class. “Tanaav ka kuch kaaran bataiye”—please list the causes of stress— she says, in a voice ringing with authority. “Long hours? Pressure from family? Alcohol abuse? What makes you tense?” she hurls the questions in Hindi, pausing before a man with vividly hennaed hair, and examines his notes gravely. Someone at safe wisecracking distance from the back of the class whispers a loud stage aside—“Tanaav nahi hai, bhook hai!” (we’re not tense, we’re hungry).

This may sound like casual collegiate banter, but these are no gum-chewing college students. They are Delhi’s taxi, bus and auto drivers, more likely to be chewing paan than bubblegum, and ever-willing to toss out a stream of billingsgate, along with a spurt of red—at least, that’s the reputation. 

This reputation is what the Delhi government wanted to erase, or at least cover up, in preparation for the Commonwealth...

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