28 March 2017

“Personally, I have always looked upon cricket as organized loafing”…

The drive was going to be long – from Chevy Chase to Alexandria where my hotel was. I was tired – I always am at 9:30 PM after a business dinner – but never too tired to find out the background of my Uber driver.

Adeel was born in Pakistan and has been in this country for only ten years. He moved here with his parents when he was fourteen.

“So, what do you do other than driving a Uber?”
“Oh! I drive this for two hours a day. I also work at a law firm for three days a week”.
“You work in a law firm? You look pretty young for that.”
“Oh! I actually am a college student. I am a senior in George Mason”.
I did the math – so he is about three years older than my elder daughter in NYU and is already doing 2 part time jobs.
“Why are you doing two jobs while studying in college? Does that not take your time away from studying?”
“Maybe. But I do not want to be in debt. I will take more time to pass college if that is what it takes but I am not taking a loan.”
“That is a personal belief. What I have not earned is not mine. I want to keep it that way”.

Things got really interesting. We talked about music. He is from Punjab part of Pakistan. Turns out Adeel was not too much into Qawwalis and Ghazals but he had heard the names of Nusrat and Amjad Sabri from his dad. He was suitably impressed when he realized I knew who Arif Lohar was and how he looked and named some of his songs.
“My dad will be really proud of you that you come from a different country, live in a different country and you know all the musicians he talks about from his country”.
“Well, I hope to meet him some time. What does he do?”
“He drives a cab”.

Right there, you had realize why this country is called the land of opportunity. For an immigrant to come and fight his way thru by driving cabs, raising four kids and one of the kids is in George Mason and is not going to accept money from anybody else to get an education. That has to count for a lot.

But what got Adeel really excited was the topic of cricket. I could hardly get a word edgewise. He rattled off more players’ names and statistics than I could possibly follow. Turns out he himself is a cricket player in the popular league in DC. In high school, he also played for the football (American Football) team.

“You said you are from Kolkata. You know Dada?”
“I do”.
The Indian friends of mine – especially the Bengali ones – will know who Dada is. For the rest Dada-ly challenged, he was the captain of the Indian cricket team and hails from Kolkata (the largest city close to where I am really from).

When we finally stopped, Adeel, got out saying “You are a very nice guy. I want to grow up to be like you. Let me get your luggage out, Mr. Rajib”. I was, of course, “No, no! I can do that” and all that… when he said – “I want to show you something”.

Saying so, he fished out his prized cricket bat from his trunk. “Try it”. I felt the bat up and down, like I knew what I was doing. I got a 50-50 bet right on which end of the bat to hold.

And that is how that picture came about.

I am quite sure my stance was incorrect. I am very sure no self respecting batsman grins from ear to ear. Especially with his overnight luggage resting next to him… But it was a great story from a great kid. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to keep each other posted in life.

Posted March 28, 2017 by Rajib Roy in category "Travelogs


    1. By Rajib Roy on

      Distinctly so, Stacy. It was on the fields of some school near our office one evening. A trash can was our “stumps”. A lot of fun was had! Much at the expense of Mark Hagood, as I recollect!!

  1. By Mohammed Shah on

    Firstly, please forgive the intrusion.
    I happened to come across your site when looking for English Translation of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khans’ Qawwali. I must say it is quite an impressive site.
    So, I would like to ask for your help as I have gone through many of your translations which are not so “rough”.
    I would greatly appreciate your valuable time if this could be made possible.
    Thanking you in advance, Mohammed Shah (Coventry. U.K.)

    Uske nazdeek gham e tarke wafa kuch bhi nahi,
    Mutmain aise hai woh jaise hua kuch bhi nahi,
    Ab to haathon se lakeere miti jati hain,
    Usko kho kar to mere pass raha kuch bhi nahi,
    Kal bichadna hai to phir ehd-e-wafa soch k baandh,
    Abhi agaz-e-mohabbat hai gaya kuch bhi nahi,
    Main to is waasastey chup hoon k Tamasha na bane,
    Tu samajhta hai mujhe tujhse gila kuch bhi nahi..
    #NFAK #Classic
    Khud tarap kar unki janib dil gayah,
    Jis par pari usi ke jiggar me uttar gayi,
    Ab na oothna sirahne se mere,
    Ab to ginti ke dum (or gham) reh gayeh heh,
    Ay sabah ek zehmat (or rehmat?) zara phir,
    unki zulfon ke gham reh ghaye heh,
    Qaayenaat-e-jafaawo wafa mein,
    Ek toomm ek hum reh gayeh heh,
    Aaj saqi pila sheikh ko bhi,
    Ek ye mohtarram reh gaye hain,
    Nazar mila ke mere paas-a-ke loot liya,
    Nazar hatee phir muskura ke loot liya,
    Koyi ye loot to dekho us ne jab cha-ha,
    Muji meh reh kar, muji meh samaa kar loot liya,
    Na loot te hum magar un mast akhriyon ne jigar,
    Nazar bacha te hoowe doob dooba ke loot liya,
    Dekho esa jadoo kiya,
    Saath apna wafa na chootay kabhi,
    Pyaar ki dorband na tootay kabhi,
    Chooth jaye zamaana koyi gham nahein,
    Haath tera rahe mere haath mein,
    Ankh Uthi Mohabbat Ne Angrai-Li,
    Dil Ka Sauda Hoowa Chandni Raat Mein.

  2. By Rupa Bhadauria on

    Rajibda you should write a book soon. You have do many unique and beautiful experiences to share with the world. Adeel indeed has an inspiring story to tell us and our kids who take things for granted

  3. By Sudipta Choudhury on

    Great story Rajib. Incidentally, I had a Pakistani driver friend in Charlotte, who used to regularly drop us ( me and my team ) in Charlotte in 2002. His son was a doctor doing well in US, and he proudly showed us his son’s house during one of the pleasure trips…. I still remember his oft quoted phrase when we used to get late to board his cab, “In US, time his money..”


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