Saturday, March 26, 2016

The drama of city life in Thimphu as seen through the eyes of taxidrivers

Photo of a group of taxis in Thimphu. Image courtesy: Google

With rapid development of modern infrastructures and public facilities, Thimphu is now growing into a city that hardly sleeps as it gets crowded with people from all corners of the country. It is estimated that there are over 50,000 people currently living in Thimphu city who have come for various reasons: employment, education, business, etc. As a result, we get to see different people with varying lifestyles and strange behaviors in the city every day. But more than anybody else, the taxi drivers get the opportunity to watch the real drama of the city life as they ferry passengers from one place to another every day. I have personally talked to a couple of taxi drivers in Thimphu and they have shared the following stories:

Taxi driver 1:
“I was once flagged down by an old woman, who could be in her late 50s and she asked me to take her to Langjo Phakha. When we got there, I thought she would take out her wallet to pay the fare. But instead, she leaned towards me and grabbed my private part with her hand. I was totally shocked and nervous. I didn’t know how to react. I was afraid that she might blackmail me if I have sex with her because I had not forgotten the story of a taxi driver who was charged and imprisoned for raping an old woman some years ago. So I politely asked her to get out of the taxi and wait for me as I turned the car. Once she got out, I sped off towards India House and returned to the city from the other side of Langjo Phakha. I had to even give up my taxi fare on that afternoon.”

Taxi driver 2:

“As I was passing through the main town one evening, a young couple waved me to stop. The boy asked me if I could drop them at Buddha Point. I told them to jump in. It was about 9 o’clock. As I slowly pulled out of the town, the girl asked me to stop for a minute. She wanted to buy some Doma. After she went out, the boy whispered to me ‘Aou, mo nge gi dari gi maal ain’ meaning ‘she is my trophy for tonight’. I knew they were going to Buddha Point on date. I wanted to ask him more details but the girl returned within no time. I dropped them at their destination and I don’t know what they did there or when did they return. Scenes like this are common in Thimphu.”

Taxi driver 3:

“It was night and a young girl flagged me down. My taxi was empty. She jumped in and told me she wanted to go to Kala Bazaar. On the way, she told me she was a student of a private school in Thimphu and that she was finding it difficult to meet her expenses. Soon we reached her destination but instead of paying me the fare, she asked Nu.200 from me saying she had badly wanted it. She told me she was ready to do anything for me, indicating she could even have sex with me if I wanted, but looking at her situation, I felt very sorry for her. I gave her the money and told her that she wouldn’t have to give me anything in return. I didn’t want to spoil her life by exchanging her body with just Nu.200.”

Taxi driver 4:

“I was coming down from Motithang after dropping some passengers when a girl stopped me. She jumped into the back-seat and as I pulled on, the girl began to talk with someone on her mobile phone. She sounded stressed and frustrated. I figured out she was talking to another girl who was probably responsible for hooking her up with a guy. Over the phone, she was accusing her of introducing her to a wrong guy because the guy had left her and that she was now pregnant. They were literarily quarrelling over the phone. The other girl was equally angry and was saying she had never told her to have sex with him and that too without condom. The girl was on the verge of crying out of frustration and stress. She looked very young, as though she were in her teens. I dropped her at the town. I am still wondering what could have happened to her.”


The above stories represent the views and experiences of only a few taxi drivers whom I am personally familiar with and hence, it should not be generalized. But I guess such things can happen in urban centers.

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