“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

I do not know what was going through William Shakespeare’s mind when he penned these words in the play ‘As You Like It’. But I can sure as hell say that sharing a ride with strangers make these timeless words a reality. During the ride… the cab; train; bus; airplane; etc metamorphose into a stage and my fellow travelers become the actors… ready to present to me unmatched entertainment.

Here are some classic experiences which have left me wanting for more.

I missed my regular office bus, since I had some work at the school in which my daughter is studying. Too lazy to drive thereafter, I chose to share a ride with one of the cab aggregators. Surprisingly I was the first to board the cab this time. I took my preferred seat when sharing rides, which is next to the driver. I got into my usual reading routine and in no time there was a buzz from another person who wanted to share the ride. The cab driver headed towards Chikka Banaswadi Road. Well past CMR College there are a set of apartments, which is where the next pickup location was. As we neared the destination I could see a gentleman with a backpack [commonly used to hold laptops] standing alongside a lady. I could guess that it was his spouse standing beside him. Now don’t ask me how I guessed this, just blame it on human instincts. I could not help envying the guy. Here he was, going to work with his dutiful wife alongside to see him off. I made a mental note of this, to humor my wife when I get back from work.

As the cab neared the couple, I could not help look at the side view mirror, expecting a very romantic send off. As the cab stopped, the guy opened the rear door of the cab. The lady quietly walked in and took her seat. The guy then handed the backpack to her and stood his ground. I did not bother to see who closed the door and what happened thereafter. WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL WAS THAT?!?!? For sure chivalry is not dead!!! I was too much in a state of shock to laugh at the incident. I quickly erased my mental note and decided not to mention this at home. Looks like my mind went into a tizzy expecting fiction more than reality. That poor soul!!!

Anyway… the lady in the back seat was not the protagonist of this blog. She disembarked the cab in less than three kilometers at her office on outer ring road. As we were heading towards ITPL again, the lady of the story boarded the cab. I could not see her as she boarded the cab. She was already on the phone speaking to someone as she got into the cab. With what followed thereafter, I could not continue with my reading.

It took another 45 minutes or so to reach ITPL and the lady was talking nonstop on her cellular. She reminded me of the mascot [A bunny if I am not wrong] of Duracell batteries, which is supposed to go on and on and on and on…

Even though I was listening to only one side of the conversation, it was easy for me to guess that she was talking to one of her friends [another lady to be precise]. The topic of the conversation was a lunch that took place the previous day and what happened thereafter. The lady in the cab had met a few of her old “girl gang” friends the previous day. The lady on the other side of the phone had supposedly missed the event. During the lunch, madam was advised by one of her friends that she must not postpone her decision to bear a child. That was enough for my entire body to turn into one big ear. I cannot imagine how someone [a chum to be precise] could give such an advice. What followed was even more explosive. Madam was explaining that she was also interested to get into the “family way” very soon, but that her husband wants more time. It seems he was very focussed on his career. She even went onto say that he was on business travel quite often. And when he is not on travel, he returns home late and tired. HOLY CRAP!!! Her friend on the other side of the phone must be someone privileged and with whom she has no qualms about sharing such intricate and touchy topics.

It also emerged that the poor soul was under a lot of pressure from both her parents and in-laws as well. She particularly spent a few minutes talking about how her mother-in-law was proving to be difficult. Foremost of madam’s complaint was that her mother-in-law always wanted her breakfast on time since she was diabetic. In the daily rush to office, madam was finding it difficult to cater to this colossal task.

During this discussion, I am not sure what her friend asked, but madam then went onto explain that everything was fine with her marriage. It seems it was not like the years before marriage or the early years after it, but there was nothing alarmingly wrong or worrying.

I was dumbfounded to say the latest. I never knew that such specimens existed in this world. She and her friend exemplified the term “Alter Ego”.

Her office was somewhere in Prestige Shantiniketan [PSN]. She got off the cab and continued her conversation on the phone as she headed towards her office. My only grouse was that I never got to see the lady’s face. It would have been really nice to see the person who did not mind me hearing so many of her woes and some of the classified information of her personal life. I intend to return the favor by keeping all of this a secret!