I was just joining as a lecturer at the college and was not sure whether I should take a taxi in the evening as well or learn about the new place as fast as I could and start traveling by bus. But I said “Yes” to him in a reflex action. My first day at college went eventless except for the fifteen minutes I spent in the cabin of the Head of the English Department. I was asked by the graying, bespectacled, gentlemanly boss to go through the syllabus of the college’s bachelors program and identify the areas of teaching I am comfortable with. I took the task seriously and told him that there was nothing unfamiliar to me in it except Victorian Poetry. He handed me over a few booklets with a mischievous smile:
Though this came a little unexpected, I took it in a sportive manner and managed to say “Of course sir, thank you” before I walked back to my room in the department. I spent most of the morning reading the booklets and befriending the colleagues who came in to say hello to me. I had lunch in the canteen where I saw students of many kinds, some digging their nose into their books while they gulped down food inattentively, some taking time to flirt a bit, and some talking away the dry moments of a cold day. I went to the library in the afternoon to borrow a few books that I thought would be useful to prepare for my first class the next day. I was a bit listless when I walked to the college gate in the evening, but was greeted by the familiar face of my taxi driver there. “Of course”, I said, glancing sideways at the sheepish young girl standing next to the door doubtfully. She took the cue from me and quietly opened the front door to sit next to her father. As we moved out into the street, the driver told me that I had to pay only half the fare if I chose to travel in his cab everyday, since he needs to fetch his daughter in the evenings. I agreed to the proposition, without thinking much.