(T)ravel(20) Lesson


“Oh no, we have to go back home I forgot my phone at home,” I told Shaji. We halted our car 300m from home. My first instinct was to ask him, “Can you reverse and go back?”I looked at my watch. I was supposed to leave by 6.15AM but it was already 6.20AM. Without waiting for his response, I jumped off the car and started walking back. I got the phone back in 5 mins and we were ready to leave for the airport.

While I was packing my bag (30 mins before I had to leave for the airport) I was having a creepy thought that I will forget to get my phone, which was kept for charging. Now my thought had manifested. I should have autocorrected and told myself that I will pick it up rather than telling I will forget. We need to crush those ANTS.


“Sir, can I tell you something? Do you believe in astrology?” Shaji asked me.

I smiled and asked him “why?”

“Sir, this is Nimitham.”

Nimitham in Malayalam can mean either the cause of an action or an omen for things to come. It felt like the latter, I was in a state of anxiety. I noticed that he was driving at a moderate pace of 20kms/hr and his whole energy was in talking and not on driving.

He started telling me a story about how he reminded a Brigadier to check all his belongings before he stepped out of his house. Still, the Brigadier forgot his ticket ( before smartphone era I guessed) and how he returned and got back safe on time for his flight. Then he jumped to some superstition around how he responds to those beliefs like a cow coming against a journey, cat jumping. I recollected my own old beliefs in the past when I was doing all that and beyond.


I was typing on my notepad as he was narrating. As I was not responding to him on this subject, he turned to some philosophical insights as he started narrating his tenets in life. One golden nugget for me was, “If you start looking to make things Viable anything and everything becomes enviable” (some parts of this line I completed in my mind). He added that failure is a stepping stone to success. He then went onto say that in life we have a quiver and each arrow is meant to serve different purposes.

He had my attention now. I understood that he is a good reader, knows three languages. He asked me if I had read “Wings of Fire” by APJ Abdul Kalam. Then he went on to talk about the books “Freedom at midnight” by Dominic Lapierre, the poem “Daffodils” by Wordsworth and the book “Fidelity” by Wendell Berry. Then he switched to his most favorite writers which included Robert Browing and Shakespeare. I was taken by surprise how much he remembers Shakespeare’s works particularly Macbeth and Cleopatra. He then went on to share Shakespeare’s personal stories. I did not know that Shakespeare started his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London.

In the first five minutes of our journey, I was uncomfortable. But in the next 20 minutes, I was impressed with his attitude towards life and his intellect. I reached by 6.42AM, 8 mins before time. I told him I did not know how the last 20 mins passed by.

“What do you think is my motto in life?” I asked him as we were saying goodbye.

“You are about action and positivity,” he said. “As soon as you told me about the phone, without waiting for my response you opened the door and started walking towards your house.”

They say “never judge a book by it cover”, similarly I have decided that I will never judge a person by his appearance. In my view even though I knew him from my first trip I still judged him. I learned from this incident that even though he was a cab driver he had a very deep intellect which I truly believe was extraordinary. To me, he embodied a tribe of people whom I will look forward in life to learn on the go. So next time when I start judging some person by their appearance I will remember this Travel (T)20 lesson.


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