Disclaimer : I love all countries equally and am not against anyone or the Laws.
It was another Uber drive today .. and as usual i was in great hurry so that i catch the cab and not break my benchmark late timings of 10.15 AM , trust me it is very hard to wake up in the morning when all the year around it is almost (mark it , i say almost) a cool morning and when you are snuggling inside that warm blanket , who wants to click click on that Mac !? well well coming back to our story .. it was another Uber day for me.. i got ready in a jiffy and took out my phone for booking the cab , and just as i sent the request for Uber in the app ,”Voila!! surge of 2.1 !! “and as I had no other choice i accepted it and sent the uber request . and then i saw the picture of the guy who was going to drive me today to the office . .. my uber driver
To tell you the truth he looked little terrifying with strange shaped beard , It was like two sharp fang like things coming out from his side cheeks .. if you know what i mean ..but i was in great rush to give it much thought ..and
without much thought I rushed to the gate of our apartment and i saw this cab just taking a turn near our gate , and i tried looking inside the car window to check out if it is my uber driver . and there he was , i could not have mistaken those beards .. :p .
Uber drivers ,they normally ask you , how are you doing or hows yr day (depending on the time of the day ) and i pretty much have always a pre-thought answer .. but this guy he didn’t asked me anything , he just gave a smile and i took the passenger seat in the front .He looked like Indian (Just like me :p ) .
He started the conversation with
“Are you from india”
and i nodded and asked him just casually without even looking at him(As i was looking over my phone , to see if my TL is calling to lash at me ! :p ) about where he is from (and in my mind i was looking for an answer like from which state in India) and he said Sri Lanka and then i was amused . and looked at him.. his strange beard piercing through my eyes ..
It was just a 10 mins drive to my office , and i was pretty determined to just concentrate on my phone and think about all my pending works .. I asked him some general questions (which i have always ready in my bucket incase i need to make small talks) , like since how long he’s been in USA , Is his family here with him ..etc etc . he spoke broken english but i could make out that he was in USA since 5 Years and in all the ramblings of his broken english .. a sentence caught my attention .. he was telling how his wife recently visited sri lanka but he couldn’t and that he is a citizen of USA and i was intrigued so i asked him why he cannot go back to sri lanka .. he said something .. but i couldn’t understand exactly but the words “jail” and “5” years was very clear in my ear !! and i was like “ sorry , can you repeat again” ..
He said he had spent 5 years in a jail because of suspected terrorist activities . He explained it to me in his mixed english and some other language which he may have supposed i would understand or may be he was also nervous (like me) …he had one long sentence for describing all these and with each word of his sentence my uneasiness was increasing ..
..my inbuilt alarm system started to buzz and i could only think of all the dangerous things ..i knew he won’t harm me .. but what if and what are the odds that’s what my mind started imagining .. anyway it was just few more minutes to my office and i was determined to be calm and behave like a grown up , and show some sympathy and remorse and leave the situation as soon as possible so i asked him about it more .. but the more i listened to him the more questions cropped in my mind and i couldn’t believe it to be happening with someone in real and more the fact that am in this situation where am talking to such a person ..
how can it happen with someone who is innocent .. so the next course of thought in my mind was “ Was he innocent ?” . He went on to tell me about this law that prevails in the country that there can be no enquiry or intervention from lawyer if you are a suspect in terrorist activity for 18 long months and after the time period is over also, It all depends on the lawmakers about which way to proceed .Now i don’t have much idea on Laws of my own country too , so i decided to stay away from those grounds..
It seems all fair and all if you are a criminal but think of an innocent and this law just seems outrageous !!
I could not believe how unjust it is.. i mean we fight like mad with a gupchup wala if he does not gives us an extra sukha after our whole panipuri ritual ..and an innocent being convicted of suspected terrorist activities and serving in a jail , cut off from rest of the world , tortured mentally and physically …i could not imagine the amount of torment these people would be facing .. for the first time i looked at his eyes and i can’t tell whether he was lying or telling the truth but he seemed harmless..
He told me his status was of a refugee /asylum which helped him in getting a citizenship in USA .. and though he loved his country Sri Lanka but the country doesn’t love him anymore and he has moved on and now calling a far away foreign land his own.
He missed his parents, his childhood friends .. and some day , may be he would get a chance to visit his old village where he had first started learning a bicycle..His memories will always be filled with the nice warm days in Sri Lanka till the time he takes his last breath ..
Meanwhile we reached my office and as i was just starting to leave the cab , he asked me if i wanna see his daughter’s pic .. and i gladly nodded and he opened his phone and showed a very cute little girl’s pic ..which was set as his wallpaper …. all my doubts , my inhibitions and my fear vanished .. but it led me to think that in my 28 years of life i have seen so less of people .. People always amaze me and their situations .. people are like paintings of different genres and like paintings each of them has a story .. told , untold ..but truly unique .. Each of us are a part of a story , how boring or routine we may think our lives may be ..but we are all part of one story , our own .