Don’t ask, don’t tell

Published: May 6, 2011

Summers in Lahore are not a cup of tea for us Karachiites. Here in Karachi your face is perpetually damp with humidity. Come Lahore, there’s no sweat, parched lips and your throat’s begging for fluids. Naturally, flights in this disapproving season are not a merry affair.

But as I collect my luggage and walk towards the small office to rent a cab back home, the only soothing thought is lying down in bed and feeling at home. However, my cab driver seems to be oblivious to the testing surrounding conditions. He is hyperactive. He flashes me a warm smile. I can clearly see the tea and gutka stains on his teeth. He greets and walks me to the cab, much like a hired guide for a tourist new to the city. I already feel at ease at the extra treatment.

Before I sat in the vehicle, he had already turned on the air conditioning and I could tell from his zealous expressions that it won’t be a quiet ride home. And so, he begins to talk despite my iPod headphones fixed stubbornly in my ears.

I now know he was originally from Bahawalpur and will give his life for his son, his watch which his wife Ruksana gifted him and Shahid Afridi.

He keeps asking if I’m comfortable. I feel like a prince.

The ride was interesting to say the least. I forgot all about the heat that makes you want to pull your own hair out. As I see my brown-white apartment building approaching, he says to me how lovely it was to meet me.

I ask him politely how much I owed him.

“Boss 650. But the company will text you the bill.”

“I will say 600. Don’t tell them I asked for 50 more, please.”

He got my full attention finally. “That’s how I run my house.” He had to say no more.

I say bye and smile as I receive a message saying my bill was Rs600.

I travelled to Lahore four times last year. It happened all four times. And I don’t mind it one bit. To each their own.


Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • AZ

    And the point of this pointless article is . . . . .Recommend

  • Maleeha Khan

    nicely written….. Miss Lahore…. :(Recommend

  • parvez

    You managed to strike a chord in me, as I too like to talk and ask questions of taxi cab drivers.Recommend

  • Noor-ul-ain Hanif

    Lahore Lahore hai to Karachi Karachi hai yar!!! :)Recommend

  • Zaid Azam


    well written boy !Recommend

  • hasan

    What was this article all about?Recommend

  • rida

    So – Is this really 400 words about how a cab driver asked you for a tiip? Exciting. (not)Recommend

  • gt

    In the US, it is the EXPECTED practice to leave a 10% tip [15% in major cities & urban areas] for cab-drivers, barbers and many other service sectors. That, indeed, makes the difference between bare subsistence to something resembling life.

    Why should service people in Pakistan not begin to expect similar tips in these inflationary times? More significantly, why should not the ( often dollarized) elites neglect this small act of social justice, that ultimately serves their own ends?Recommend

  • A

    wasted 5min reading it….sorry for your 50rps.Recommend

  • ugh

    what a filler piece! Seems they have nothing to publish anymore. Incoherent and sillyRecommend

  • Trina

    And the misleading headline award goes to…..Recommend

  • Atif

    so that was really a memon’s 50rps..finally he told it to the whole world that he has given 50rps as a tip.Recommend

  • Khalid

    May be ET needs a new Editor who is capable of reading stuff before it gets published. I feel like sending a text to charge for wasting my time.Recommend

  • Jason

    wth man is this all about culture and the diffrenc of thoughts Recommend