I could not think of a more relevant title for this blog, one after a hiatus of more than a month. A month is a long gap in between blogs for a blogger.

Just as November was about to begin, my daughter asked me, “Mamma do you know that November and December are the happy months of the year?”

“Who told you? Your teacher? Did you see something on TV?

She smiled with a look of educating me.

“The weather is at its best in those months. When our environment gives us the most conducive conditions to be happy, these 2 months definitely have to be the happy months of the year.”

As adults, we often complicate our thoughts and try to find a reason behind everything. I assumed December = Christmas = Gift from Santa Claus = Happy Child, hence probably the conclusion of happy month.

Thus, my mind discarded her “happy month”, but my heart probably bought in.

Synonym of November and December = Happy months

November on a global scale, saw a lot of surprises – the US elections, demonetization in India, the launch of Dubai Canal…yes, it is big for us, residents of UAE!

Synonym of surprises = Hopefully good!!

If we were to give a thought to how synonyms are presented, there are clearly 3 manifestations – a.) Dictionary/ Thesaurus/ Lexicon, b.) Implied c.) Assumed

Category a.) is simple, so I shall move on to the other two.

Implied. Also, fairly simple.

Examples, a tortoise = slowness, a midnight rush to ice-cream parlor = pregnancy cravings, potholes on Western Express Highway (Mumbai) every monsoon = money making and corruption, people mis-judging you = their truth, your lie…and the list can go on.

Assumed is the most interesting category of all.

If you are overweight, people will assume you don’t exercise. Even if you vouched, they will give you a look…. how is it even possible!

If you are listening to music on ear phones and someone tries to talk to you, you will invariably end up answering back loudly.

If you see a glass containing white liquid, you will assume it is milk.

And with that begins my story.

It was a November morning. Samira called for a taxi from the RTA in Dubai. She had recently relocated from India and did not yet have her driving license.

“Can I please request a big Hala Taxi (Innova Car)? I need to drop my kids to school.” She spoke on her mobile.

(Pause)

“Ok. In case it is not available, a regular taxi will do.” She concluded her taxi request.

Within 5 minutes, Samira received a call that the taxi driver was waiting at the entrance of her building.

She picker her purse, followed by the school bags and called out to her kids, who were busy in the adjacent room.

The taxi driver gave a blank look at his approaching customer, he was expecting more.

Nevertheless, he started the taxi but started grumbling.

“Madam, why did you request for big taxi? Big taxi is for people who go to the airport with lots of luggage.”

“Why? Is there a problem?”

“If people like you book big taxi, then the big taxis will not be available for the people who really need them.”

“There is no dearth of taxis here. I am aware of private taxis like Uber, Careem, also providing service.”

“I don’t like driving in these small areas like Bur Dubai. I usually ply in Jumeirah and Marina. In future, I will not take passengers in these areas”

“Are you Indian? What is your name?” (Samira almost made up her mind to lodge a complaint).

The driver got a whiff of her intention.

“No name Madam.”

“If I am paying the fare, what is your problem? ……..Well then, you should only focus on servicing your passengers with utmost safety. I don’t need a name, a complaint can be done without that, also. In Hindi, “Aap munh mat chalaiye, sirf gaadi chalaiye!””

Pin drop silence followed till they reached the destination.

The driver picked up a Malayali newspaper and did not utter a word. Samira paid 20 dirhams and left 1 dirham change.

Samira did not complain, she never would, she told herself. She did not want to punish that driver’s family for his attitude problem.

The taxi driver left from there. He received the notification for his next passenger pick-up. It was Burjuman Shopping Center, Bur Dubai.

Both Samira and the taxi drivers had their set of notions and assumed synonyms. For example,

Big Taxi = Only for airport transfers.

Big Taxi = Relatively more comfortable ride for kids to school.

Taxi Driver’s service expectation (Key Performance Indicator as perceived by customer) = Meet customer’s requirements with safety.

Taxi Driver’s service expectation (Key Result Area as perceived by Taxi Driver) = Target areas where the Western Expats live, for more fare with lesser number of rides per passenger and less Khich-khich (Nagging).

A taxi ride of only 20 minutes threw up different understandings of the same thing. The same thing meant differently to the taxi driver and his customer. It resulted in conflict too! But then the beauty of conflict is that sometimes we see more sense in adapting to the point we opposed and fought against.

The next day, Samira requested for a regular taxi.

And would you like to know what happened to that taxi driver? He literally followed Samira’s advice.

He stopped giving his opinions and advice. He almost felt that he would have lost his job the other day. His daughter’s wedding was only a month away.

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