Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hear hear!

I have often wondered if cabbies actively listen to conversations happening inside their cabs. If they do listen, OMG. And if they don't, how do they hear sudden instructions from their passengers?

I had these partly answered during a recent cab ride Viv and I took. We had been talking in the cab about random things and when we got close to our destination, Viv leaned in and said to the cabbie, "Excuse me, could you take a left here, please?" The cabbie just kept on driving straight. Either he had not heard Viv or he thought Viv was asking me to take a left turn (?!). Finally, Viv had to tap him on his shoulder and give him an alternate route because we had missed the turn.


I had a hypothesis: If you're speaking in English throughout the cab ride and then speak to the cabbie, it is highly likely that he would have no idea that you spoke to him, but his ears are tuned to anything said in English if the rest of the conversation is in a language he doesn't know.

(Yes, I realise it's a long hypothesis. Read it a couple of times and erm, hopefully it will make sense.)

So I decided to test my hypothesis. I told Viv about my little experiment and we decided we would talk in Hindi when talking to each other and in English when giving directions to the cabbie. It was quite funny to keep the conversation in cabs to strict Hindi, especially if it involved the cabbie himself. Sample this. "Is vaahan ki gati thodi adhik hai. Kahin yeh vaahan-chaalak madira peekar toh nahin chala raha hai?"

It worked most of the time. We peppered our Hindi conversations with instructions in English and the cabbies heard them all and made no mistakes.

But the best evidence of my hypothesis being true was this.

After an insanely late screening of Avatar, Viv and I were headed home in a cab, discussing the movie. He was asking me to brief him on the parts he had missed because he fell asleep. I was horrified. I'd always known him to be a guy who slept in Bollywood movies. But sleeping in the war scene of a 3D futuristic Hollywood movie which he had been more excited about than me and then asking me to brief him on what he missed??

"Dhikkar hai!" I said. "Aise kaise so gaye yaar? Letdown ho bilkul!" (Erm, I couldn't think of the shuddh Hindi word for 'letdown'.)

The very next second, the cabbie turned and said, "Left turn, ah?"

Hence proved.


Tejal said...

GOLD!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Technofun said...

After long time :D

Technofun said...

That's so true...thankfully we have zillion languages in India, so don't have problem while traveling outside native state.

How can he sleep watching Avtar in 3D :P

Bet he never misses anything while watching cricket match

shweta said...! I like these crazy ventures and experimentations..lukng fwd to more of this!!


~Lopa said...

i totally agree with the hypothesis. but mind it, with restriction of it should be outside India.
In India all hypothesis can go wrong, as we used to face with that fact many a times we pause a question towards each other or in a group one another and if we are delayed by a sec in responding it, there will be an answer from cab driver ;) lol

But funny thing is if you are travelling by bus or train, and then nothing helps, people around you gonna indulge in your spicy or not so spicy conversations ;)

Iddy Albatross said...

You should go ahead and write a book now about this highly unconventional style of research. :D

How do you come up with these things?? :D

Anonymous said...

hmm... aren't drivers are more tuned for just listening to directions (left,right etc.) than any language?

Tejal said...

haha..i'm sure the cab drivers feel left out when u talk in another language.. unko bhi toh timepass karna mein kaise kaise item logon ko ghoomate honge :P

ahh..aaj mujhe phir se sona mila..hahaha.. this is my third or fourth gold this year na?? :D
(ok, i think i'm becomin obsessed with this)

mythalez said...

hehe ... i always wonder while watching some of these 'thriller' movies in which all the top secret deals are done in the back of a moving car ... at how much the driver might be listening to ;) and whether he wudnt be the best spy :P

Deepa said...

vahan-chalak...reminded me of 'parimal tripathi' from 'chalte chalte'...
nice post bhai :D

Revs said...

ha ha!Nice post! :)
Completely agree with the hypothesis!

For "let down" following could be the possible Hindi translations

1. Tumne mujhe neeche utaar diya?
2. Tum meri aashaon pe khare nahi utre?
3. Mai tumse niraash hoon?

P.S: Viv slept off during Avatar?? So did my sister. How could anyone possibly do that? :O

Bivas said...

One word for "Letdown" = "Nirashajanak"...

oh n Bronze's mine!

Menagerie said...

Haha, thats funny! And good advice to someone who has recently moved to Singapore. Have been reading you for a while, and abs love your humor :)

Sayesha said...

Aa gayi Mona? :D

Absolutely! :)

Thanks! :D

//we pause a question towards each other or in a group one another and if we are delayed by a sec in responding it, there will be an answer from cab driver


Hehehehe... idle mind and all that jazz! ;)

Hmmm... maybe you have a point there. But why didn't the guy hear when Viv asked him to turn left?

Hahahahah! :D

Hahahah! That's why we have so many heroes disguised as drivers eh? :D

Hahahaha! You make me want to watch that movie again. Wait, I thought it was Chupke Chupke, not Chalte Chalte? :O

LOL at your translations, especially the first one! :D :D :D

Nirashjanak!! Wah wah! Jab Seeta Maiya ka janam hua tha toh unke pitaji kaise they? Nirash Janak! Hahahahaha! ok ok sorry bad joke. :P

Thanks! :)

Bivas said...

Arre Sita Maiya ke janm par nahin balki swayamvar pe hue honge wo Nirash Janak...
...u know why...
coz, unhone to Dhanush rakha tha, sirf uthake uspe pratyancha chadhane ke liye...
but Mr.Ram ne to unki Antique Dhanush ki watt laga di! :P

Nithin Rajan said...

lol! ati sundar:) got to read the rest now

Sayesha said...

LOL! It's really like Archie and Mr. Lodge! :D


N said...

Obviously he had to sleep during this movie! Remember this is a bollywoodish movie???

And the hindi translation might be something like this....uuuuhhh...wat? I dont know...Letdown hee theek hai.

日月神教-任我行 said...