In a little while, the cab driver volunteered information about his personal life. He belonged to a staunch Brahmin family in UP and his father worked with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and how his family was well-known in their village. As the only son and no other sibling, they had many expectations from him. They were even looking for a suitable girl in the village.
Thinking his life was sorted, I congratulated him. But here is where the problem lay – he had a girlfriend in Mumbai. He began by saying that even though he is a Hindu, he never felt attracted to Hindu girls. His girlfriend was a Muslim. She lived in a far-off suburb of Mumbai and was a school teacher.
Now, to me, this seemed okay. Boy meets girl in the city and falls in love. Religion plays obstacle. He further added that he had met her sister and that things had progressed between them. However, if his parents found out, he would be an outcast and it would kill his parents. So I asked him what he planned to do. Apparently, his Muslim girlfriend knew him to be a fellow Muslim only. Everything about their relationship was a lie.
This bit of information was really odd. He had lied to her and apparently lived-in on and off with her for the last 7 years. She wanted to marry him. Her family was okay with him too as they thought he belonged to the same religion. But they were now asking him for his Aadhar card.
“Agar Aadhar de doonga toh sab pe paani phir jayega…”
“But Bhaiya aapko Aadhar do dena hee hoga na… agar nahi banwaya toh banwana padega”
“Madam, Aadhar hai magar mere sache naam se. Jaise hee number doonga aadhar ka ya biometric karwaonga, sab pol khul jayegee!”
“Aise kaise bhaiya? Shaadi toh karni hogi na? Ya phir, break up kar lo. Sab sukhi. Yeh toh Dhoka hai.”
“Arre nahi kar sakta break up. Baat bahut aage badh gayi hai. Hospital jana pada tha. Waha pe bhi Aadhar manga. Kisi tarah bhaag gaya main. Jab uske maa-baap se mila, unko bola ki mere maa baap gaon mein hai. Nahi aayenge. Unhone kaha ki court marriage kar lo. Maine bola haan magar aadhar nahi hai. Uske baap ne kaha ki kaam kaise mila phir? Maine koi bahana bana diya.”
I was freaking out by now. I was curious to know more. This man was a fraud. Was he sharing his tale to seek validation? He wasn’t going to get it from me!
“Maine usko kayi baar kaha ki breakup kar lo. Main taxi chalata hoon. Ghar bhi nahi hai. Who nahi maanti. Kehti hai mera ghar tumhara hai. Main bhi kamati hoon. Koi chinta nahi hai. Lekin agar isse shaadi kiya toh pata chal jayega ki main Hindu hoon. Kisi namaaz padhne ko keh diya toh kalyaan ho jayega!”
By now my face was blank but I was disgusted.
“Break up kar lo ya phir isko sab sach bata do bhaiya. If she loves you, who aapse shaadi kar legi. Sab solve ho jayega.”
“Madam, iske ghar wale kaat denge agar pata chala ki Hindu hoon aur dhokha de raha tha. Agar isse shaadi kit oh maa-baap mar jayenge. Woh mere liye Hindu ladki pasand kiye hai.”
“Magar bhaiya, aisa nahi chalega! Jhoot pe Jhoot banta jaa raha hai?”
“Sochta hoon ki maa baap toh kabhi Mumbai nahi aayenge. Gaon jaake shaadi kar lo Hindu ladki se. Yahan Mumbai mein isse shaadi kar loo. Kisi ko pata nahi chalega… Kya kehti hai app?”
I simply never replied to this man. I was almost home. He knew where I worked and now would know where I lived. I got off 500 meters before my house in panic. As I was getting off, he said,
“Kisi ko mat batana madam, phas jaunga!”
I simply crossed the street and entered the local store to wait until he left. As I got home, I narrated this incident to my mom who yelled at me saying I should have gotten off sooner before this conversation ever happened. Husband yelled too. I was asked never to speak again in cabs. No conversation had to be initiated or participated in.
On a serious note though, maybe I should have reported him to Uber and then to the police. He is a fraud, a liar and someone who was going to dupe two women and their families. But my tale had frightened my family and so I quit this thought.
I still feel pathetic about it.