Monday, October 22, 2007

Seth and a cabbie in India

This letter from Seth was printed inside the issue of Cicada that has yesterday's image as the cover.

"On the second day of my vacation in India, I found myself in the back of three-wheeled Delhi taxi dirven by a jolly, bearded Kashmiri with a shrewd sense of business. An experienced world traveler, I have learned that it is prudent to fix a price before receiving any services, and in this case I negociated a generous 80 rupee fare to bet me within walking distance of the Delhi Plaza Hotel across town. Several bumpy minutes through road construction later, my cab pulled off the road in front of a park full of cricket players, with no hotel in sight. The road construction detour, my driver explained, would adda nother 60 rupees to my bill. He insisted I pay him before he took me any further. I wasn't about to pay twice for a cab ride whose price had been carefully set; however some exchange seemed required to break the stalemate. I pulled out my notebook and pen and started scribbling while the driver looked back at me, tapping his palm in a 'give me money' gesture. A minute later I smiled and handed him [a cartoon similar to one of the frames in yesterday's Cicada cover] and said I would be paying for the extra miles with art. A moment passed. My driver stopped tapping, blinked twice, then nodded his head and hung my drawing prominently on his dash next to a small picture of Ganesha, the four-armed elephant god. I never again managed to pay for a cab with my artistic currency, but since then it has been my pleasure to handout countless drawings to all sorts of people who ask me for a little something extra."

1 comment:

Shawn said...

That is a lovely story and seems very typical of Seth! Thanks for sharing.