As you must have guessed by now, The Man from Madras Musings was recently on a train and that also means he had to reach Central Station. He decided to book a taxi for this. MMM was informed by several nears and dears that such services were a mere telephone call away. And sure enough MMM found that this was indeed so. A very professional voice answered the phone at first ring, did not swear under its breath that another ‘customer of death’ had come and asked MMM for his personal details. Having done the booking, the voice rang off assuring MMM that the taxi would manifest itself at the appointed hour. Shortly thereafter MMM received a text message on his cell phone which gave the impression that serving MMM was the only raison-d’être for the taxi service’s existence.

Much flattered, MMM awaited the taxi. The appointed hour came and went. The clocks ticked on. No taxi. MMM decided to call the helpline. A pre-recorded voice, exuding much the same warmth as the earlier human voice, now asked MMM to select from several choices. MMM realised that he had but two choices – either reaching the station on time or missing his train. He opted for the former and was ranging hither and thither for an autorickshaw when the truant taxi arrived. The driver apologised profusely, said he was caught up in traffic and could MMM forgive him. There was no time for all that and MMM barged into the cab and asked the man to drive at topmost speed to the station.

The driver then clicked a few buttons, turned on the airconditioning, asked MMM if he was comfortable and set the meter ticking. He then just sat looking through the wind-screen. What was he waiting for asked MMM. For directions to the station came the reply. He was new to the city, he said, and he did not know the way! At any other time MMM would have been reminded of the two drunks who saw the star and argued over whether it was the sun or the moon. They decided to ask the opinion of a third toper who said he was new to the place and so did not know.

But this was not the time for levity. It was more a time for silent prayer, which alone gives the necessary strength. MMM made it to the station, but just about.