The Long Drive Home


We love conversation. The ability to just sit and talk. About life, about anything, about everything. Under the moon, with all the time in the world, the full-speed train that is our lives slowing to a crawl. Bound by no obligations, barred by no human limitations. To speak without regret or fear of consequence. To talk for hours and reflect upon what’s really important in life.

Because conversation is food for the soul and if you’re brave enough to start one, on the other side lies peace. Knowledge. An answer, delivered.

There are definitely answers that only the cab drivers of a city can give us.

Oni, a gabby cabbie, drives Safia home from a faraway workplace. A long day at work is trailed by a long drive home through which deep, rich, authentic, pertinent, stimulating, intellectual, controversial, spiritual, philosophical conversation flows, stirring mind and soul.
And just like that, the drive home isn’t long anymore.


If you had to speak with someone with a point of view not quite like yours, for hours on end, day after day, would you?
There are many possible outcomes:
You could never see eye to eye again.
You could master a level of persuasion very few have.
You could become more tolerant than you were ever meant to be.
You could agree to disagree.
You could choose to remain silent.
And, if you haven’t changed his already, you could’ve changed your own point of view.
You would have given away something. Or you would have something to take away.

But you simply cannot walk away. Not only because you don’t want to but also because you’re in a moving car and it’s pretty cool the conversation doesn’t break when the car has to – through rough roads, smooth roads and anything in between.

Safia and Oni are two thinking, feeling, believing, informed, conscious, separate, opinionated individuals. Conversations with cabbies like Oni could well be the most enlightening.
They know the place and hence, its problems.
You’d need a suitable passenger to match that light.
And Safia can sure keep a fire burning. Even if Oni can almost always douse it.

Sometimes, they get to each other.
Every so often, they get through to each other.
One stands firm, the other bends and burns.
One convinces, the other resigns.
Sometimes, one is right. Or they both are. And as much as they reserve the right to be right, they also reserve the right to be wrong. Admit it when they are so, and get back on the road anyway.
These issues are pressing.
The discussion drags, the debate rages on, tempers flare, tempers soften, explanations are provided, reason is invoked, perceptions change, emotions are high, language is key and concerns win because they’re being addressed, spoken about at the very least.
There’s no better known way of riding out a long drive. Especially when none of these conversations are forced. They come straight from the heart. Hopefully, they hit home before the cab does.


Oni: Are you a feminist, Madam? Safia: A feminist? That’s intense. I’m not sure. Oni: Well, you’ve been a female for a while now. It’d be...


Safia: Okay, when you told me there would be a lot of traffic today, I imagined a ten-minute delay. Oni, we’ve been stuck in...


Oni: (Singing with The Eagles) ‘…You thought you would be satisfied. But you never will – Learn to be still’ Safia: (Joins in) ‘We are...


Safia: Do you have a daughter, Oni? Oni: Not yet I don’t. But I hope to, someday. Why’d you ask? Safia: When you have her, will...


Safia: I’m ready. In fact, I can’t wait. Oni: What for? Home? We ARE on our way. Safia: For a Uniform Civil Code, Oni! India’s waiting...


Safia: And the day has come when the risk to remain tight in a bud is more painful than the risk it will take...


The radio’s pelting out an Alicia Keys rendition titled “We Are Here”. Oni lets his fingers drum along on the wheel. Safia’s heard this...