Mind Speaks: Trust and Friendship is Forever

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62506000_10156304988136088_267775633059217408_oI have written about him before too. In this photo, I am with Sandeep Dubey… He drives a taxi in Mumbai, India

My love for photography was the reason I met him. Monsoon in Mumbai is always a fascination for me. It was about 17 years ago, when I was waiting in front of my hotel, looking for a suitable taxi – a Maruti High Roof Van those days, that will give me a good view and options to click the Mumbai city on a rainy day that I met him. He was young and knew very little English that time, and with my Hindi and English we managed.

One full day, we drove around through various lanes and highways of Mumbai. Just like we try and run our fingers through the veins on our hands. In a short time, he knew what I was looking for and I knew, he was one person I can trust. Since then, each time when I touch base in Mumbai, he is my man. It has been a long friendship that remained from that rainy day.

Mumbai has that magic. People come from various places, different religion, different languages, but once you bond with each other, the friendship remains.

My repeated visits to Mumbai is also one like that. It is because my father’s close and only soulmate, roommate, friend for life (many derivatives for him) lives there. During their bachelor days in Mumbai in the 1960s they lived and worked together. Their friendship remained forever and passed on to me by both. I try and find reason to go and meet him and his wife, WHENEVER I CAN. With all the roadworks, changes and progress, Sandeep has been my “go to man”. I can tell you, I entrust him with all my luggage and valuables and go everywhere in Mumbai and he will make sure, they are safe, as well as me too. Over the period of time, his Maruti Omni Van was discontinued and he now drives a small car without air-conditioning. But, that’s never an issue for me as his humble and ever-smiling service is of great value than the comfort of driving around in a luxurious or modern taxi.

This time, in fact, after repeated requests for a long time, I visited his home….

It was another opportunity for me to visit the narrowest bylanes of Mumbai city and see and understand how people live happily within their modest means.

Hospitality at its best, by his mother, wife and 2 sons. I had known them since several years, as we always talked continuously during our drives. However, only this time I met them. He had told them about me, his daily life struggles, children, family in Mumbai and back home, the same way I introduced him to my family.

It was one wish that I fulfilled before my father passed away 2 years ago, to bring him back to Mumbai and drive around with his close friend and see all the places where he and his friend lived and worked. With Sandeep, I was able to do that and also an opportunity to introduce him.

As we entered his tiny little home, I could feel an extra special parental relationship. His little son came running and hugged him closely by his feet calling him Papa, aah aap jaldi vaapas aya kaam se? (meaning, Dad, today, you came early from work?). Hospitality was at its best, from his elderly mother and wife and children in whatever little way they could. As I left his home, touching his mother’s feet, it was a special feeling, beyond I could explain and ever imagine!

We returned after a short while and when I walked back to my hotel room, I re-affirmed myself one thing, Trust and Friendship, has no barriers. It will remain forever.

{Read my blog post about him done earlier Mind Speaks: Some connections happens just like that And stays forever }. You can find his phone number in it and in case you are in Mumbai and wish to have a ride with him, you can call him.

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