Share your cab ride and pay up to 50% of your regular fare. We all love discounts. We all want something for cheap. Anything you do to end up having savings is a great thing.
After Ola, Uber joined the team and said “share your rides”. Now I am sure you know how this works. The empty seats in your ride will be occupied with someone else, literally a stranger.
I have not one, but multiple stories to talk about:
It was about 9.30 in the night and I booked a cab. Uber usually takes longer to book a ride in POOL compared to Ola when there are no cabs going in the same route. I keep staring at the screen for confirmation. About 30 seconds later, I see a ride for me. 8 mins is what I see first and as I looked at the bottom of the screen, I smile immediately. “You’ve been matched”. Those words I tell you, for a single guy like me are golden words. Especially, what comes after that message can be ruining this moment or some times it cheers you up even more. Your mind actually runs faster than a computer, so did mine. As I noticed the next message, I felt joy. It said “You are traveling with Spandana”. That’s obviously a girl’s name and I am super delighted now.
I stand on the road talking to a friend and hoping this ride will be a good one and I get to talk something. Who doesn’t get excited at this? Now I am just waiting for my cab to come. 10 mins passed and it’s still not here. The Uber partner calls me up to ask for directions and then I guided him. He says “Sir, I am in the opposite lane. Will take a turn and be there”. Anxiety kicks in and I am just waiting to see who Spandana is, if she will be beautiful or if she will be married or if she is an old woman and all of these questions start hitting my brain. As I eagerly look at the road for the cab, I notice a Tata Indica coming towards me. It looked ugly, it wasn’t a great looking car at all and it stops in front of me.
Before I judge the car I was getting into to spend 30+ minutes to reach home, I notice a big guy sitting in the front seat of the car leaving no leg room for someone sitting behind him. He was tall, heavily built and hardly could fit into the car. He looks at me and smiles. Now I look behind to see if there is someone else and I notice that car was empty. BUMMER! I spent the rest of my ride watching iisuperwomanii’s videos and reached home.
Since cabs have now become my mode of travel to work, I book one on just any other day of my life. I noticed I was now getting into a ride which was being taken by someone else. Now it’s time for me to notice the names right? Just the same drill. I see at the bottom of the screen and I notice it’s a girl.
So joy again on my face. As I get ready for office and now with more excitement I decide to go to the main road instead of waiting till the guy comes to pick me up. As I walk towards the main road I look at every cab with anticipation that it will be the one I should get into and 6–7 of them pass by and yet I don’t see my ride. Now I am already waiting for 15 minutes on the main road looking for my ride and turns out that guy is stuck in some lane because he was following Google maps. This just had to happen with me. I guide him to where I was and now I am simply waiting for that fellow to appear.
As I look at the phone to track him I notice a car stop bang in front of me. That’s the one I was supposed to get into. As I look up, I notice two women already sitting in the back seat. I hope you know for a fact that you can book up to two seats even in a POOL ride. Though my mind says I should talk to them I don’t have the courage to start the conversation. As I sit quietly in the front seat just to pretend not listening to them, I realized from their conversation that they were junior doctors. Holy Cow! But wait, they are students. Nothing with that right and all I get to know is just that. I failed miserably to strike a conversation and now I am just sitting there talking to the driver about politics and state affairs and traffic and stuff like that. We both end up dropping them at their hospital and I head to crack just any other day.
This time I made up my mind about POOL and also I made up my mind to talk at least this time. So, another day and another morning time to go to office. I book a cab as usual and this time I see a message which says “Looking for another rider”. Now that’s a good sign because you can be happy about it rather than sharing a ride with a man. That’s not because I am against men or I am a sexist but because I am straight, single and my attraction towards women is more. I get into the cab and the driver starts the trip and just before we get on to the main rod, the driver’s phone shoes a notification that there is another rider to share the ride. I quickly turn on my phone to check the name of that person. Again the words “You’ve been matched” pop-up and now it shows a name of a woman.
Did I miss telling you that out of all of my share experiences and rides this time I decided to hop in at the back seat instead of the front so that there is a little chance for me to strike a conversation with the person sitting behind along with me. So now that I know it’s a girl who will share a ride I was excited. As we reach her location the driver calls her to inform her that we arrived. And the first thing he says was “Sir, I am here”. BUMMER!! Again!! I am like crap, today I had to sit here and now look at this!
But there was a little hope saying how is the phone showing a girl’s name? Could it be her dad or brother who took the call? As my mind again starts running, I see a man with a lunch box in his hand walking towards our car. The little hope also died now. And as he approaches the car, his wife also walks along with him and gets into the car. Since I was sitting G behind, the guy points at his wife to sit in the front seat. And there you go, my shot of striking a convo with a new person is gone again. Not because she was married but because it’s hard to do it with her sitting in front and me sitting in the back. We can still talk but it’s a pain.
As the trip progresses, there is another share ride booked on the same trip and wait, it’s a guy. He was a nerd sitting beside me and was seriously taking calls from his office till our ride ended.
So many rides and so many failures and the spirit in you just doesn’t die yet. This time it’s the similar situation again that, I was the first one and again I decide to give a shot by sitting behind. And as we cross the busy lanes of Secunderabad, we get a share ride.
My drill continues to check the name and as I notice the words, this time it said “You’re pooling with P”. Yes, it just said one letter P. At times like these your mind runs faster than light. #justsaying. You now have no clue as to who that person is. As I look outside the window in the crowd at Railway Station to see who will get into the cab, I hear the noise of the storage behind the car. I hear luggage being dropped into it and it’s a guy. A tall, dark and heavily built guy with black suit and a white shirt sits to my right side behind the driver. He had a laptop bag along with him and a blackberry phone. He was a baldy and was sweating and oh he also had a french beard. By now did you guess where he must be from? Yup! Kerala. I didn’t judge him by his looks.
I was little disappointed that another day and another ride just went for a toss. But my goal has always been to strike a conversation. Now he was beside me and I wasn’t busy writing this story, so he starts talking to the driver about his destination. And he strikes the conversation with me. That is how I get to know that he was a lawyer and it was the first time in 40 years of his life that he visited Hyderabad and was leaving the same day back to Kerala in a flight. He had a few meetings with his clients and he also asked about the best Biryani place in Hyderabad which we suggested as Bawarchi. I also get to know more about what kind of things he likes, how many languages he can speak and also about his married life.
Remember the little disappointment I had? That was gone. This was a great ride and one of the most memorable ones for me till date.
Last one I wanted to talk about but wait I promise this won’t be boring and will also be the shortest of all.
The same drill as the previous two that I was the first one to book and all I see on the app was “Looking for another rider”. The cab arrives at my place and just as the last time I decide to sit behind and try my luck. I walk towards the cab and as I open the door of the back seat and sit inside the cab, I hear the driver stopping me as if there was something on the seat or as if I was sitting on a bomb. I look at him and he tells me “HARISH!! Come and sit in the front!”
I reply back to him, “why?” He replies back with this — “Someone might come sit there, you please come and sit in the front.”
And that’s it. That’s a wrap of my various trials of hitting off with a conversation during my rides to office. Well, I am still taking more and more rides and still trying to strike off a conversation with another stranger.1