Too early to digress, but I need to tell you something about myself here. There's a thing I do, and I don't know what to call a person who does it.
Well, I try to save money everyPOSSIBLEwhere... only to be able to spend in heaps wherever I want. So, for example, if I were just hanging out, extremely thirsty... I would NOT buy a bottle of water... and prefer to stay thirsty till I get home. At the same time, I could spend lots and lots on food.
Back to my Bangalore trip. After having thought of numerous possibilities of reaching the airport at low costs, I realized that nothing but a cab would work. Duh... as if it was some rocket science.
Well, the most popular cabs in Delhi are Meru Cabs and Easy Cabs. Both very professional I think. And both charge rupees 20 a kilometer in addition to some 40 or 50 bucks as convenience charge. Well, that's a lot! So, I, being myself, started searching for a cab service that would charge lesser than that.
After some consideration, I finalized on calling Wyn cabs. They charge 15 a kilometer and don't take any convenience charge. Alright, sounds good till here. The cab was booked for 1:45 p.m. The calculation was simple - I start from home at 1:45, reach airport by 2:45, check in maximum by 3:15, and wait for about an hour for my 4:20 flight! The checkin gates were scheduled to close around 3:35... so the plan was okay, I thought!
When the time was 1:45, I had my wife call Wyn cabs... only to realize that a new driver had been assigned to me. They gave us the number for the driver. When I called him, he said he'd reach in 10 minutes. Okay! There goes for a toss some part of the buffer in my plan. Anyways, it turned out that the 10 minutes were 'Indian' 10 minutes, and the driver took 25. I got a bit nervous but thought we'll make up for the lost time by driving a bit fast.
So, we started at 2:15, about an hour and 20 minutes from the checkin closing time.
The driver looked friendly... until the time he started driving at 60-70km/hr... on a combination of second and third gear! Can you believe it? For those who drive, you know what I'm saying, right?
To add to the situation, he started driving like a crazy lunatic mad weirdo! He was doing a bit of zigzag in decent traffic... where it wasn't quite possible. And to add, on a road without the divider, he was over and over again going into the lane meant for the oncoming traffic. At one point of time, I started holding on really tight to whatever was available. He was actually driving like a crazy man. Now you may say I could have stopped him... but there probably was a part of me that was having cheap thrills simultaneously.
He continued his ways for another minute... and then banged into a car. B-A-N-thud-G-E-D. A Swift was at the receiving end.
I was so late for the airport, and my supposedly professional taxi driver banged the car into another. I knew that was it! I'd not be able to catch the flight. All sorts of combinations of next available flight and justifiable excuses started doing rounds in my head. Just then I realized this psycho was doing a hit-and-run. He started driving away from the crime scene... and I got him to stop immediately. I asked him not to run. The last thing I wanted was the Swift guys to chase us... and then beat the hell out of us.
The crazy wacko looked at me, smiled, and got out of the car. Amazingly, nothing had happened to the Swift. Moreover, the owner didn't even seem interested in making a scene.
So, this guy came back! Yes, the psycho came back. He said the bumper of our car had been cracked, smiled, and started driving again.
And guess what... he started his psychodriving again.
It was the second time in last five minutes that I asked him to stop. He did. I said "let me drive... you don't know how to drive". To which he said... "sure".
And we exchanged places! We did! This is fact, okay... trust me.
So, now, I was driving him to the airport... only to step out of the car and pay him in the end. All I thought was... "heck! I just want to catch the flight".
So, I started driving... through the traffic of Delhi... with a huge Wyn cab sticker on the car. And, you know what this guy did during the journey? Here's him, the psycho!
Hell, man! He slept through it. I swear he looked liked the first person extremely deserving to be killed.
I was getting pretty tensed because I was getting late... the traffic was heavy... and I had to drive this shitty cab. And the fact that this guy was sleeping didn't help either.
Anyways, having entered the airport premises, about two minutes away from the departure terminal, I stopped the car. I told him that there would be police ahead and if I'm caught driving a commercial vehicle with a non-commercial license, there would be trouble. To this, he yawned... and said something to the effect of "it's just two minutes... you only drive". @%#%#^$@!
I didn't want to get into any sort of tiff with anyone irrespective of the frustration that had crept for the last one hour... so I again asked him to drive, very politely. He obeyed. We reached airport about 10 minutes before the checkin closed.
I rushed out... got a trolley for the luggage... and asked him how much it was. I had done the mental calculations already - the meter showed 27 kms... which is 405 rupees (15/km). He looked at me cutely and said rupees 420. While placing the luggage on the trolley, I said it should be rupees 405 and not 420. He said "thoda hi upar maanga hai". And I gave him the amount.
So - let's summarize - I drove all the way. I placed the luggage on the trolley. And I even tipped him 15 bucks.
Who's the psycho, now?
While leaving, he looked at me and said he could wait for me just in case I missed my flight. I didn't respond... and neither did I miss the flight.
Meru/Easycabs would have cost me around 650 bucks... this one cost 420. Worth it?