Field Note: Daily Life
A small tidbit first:
Having missed our bus to head to the Taj Mahal, a few friends and I took the alternative and booked a taxi from Jaipur to Agra. Kidar Singh was the name of the driver who was kind enough to take us to our destination. He spoke good English so I asked him a few questions regarding who he was and this is what he had to say…
What is your full name?
Where do you live? What is your house like?
Before reaching the Taj Mahal, Kidar took us to his brother’s house situated on the outskirts of Jaipur. Behind housing complexes that doubled as shops, his house was located down an alleyway where the walls were narrow but colorful. Rubble paved the road where goats and cows walked along. A little way into the alley we stopped at a house that looked very simple from the outside but upon entering, I discovered the house to be deceivingly large. The rooms air was cool, as opposed to the heat from outside, and the rooms were spacious. I took off my shoes as he welcomed me in and the family seated me atop a bed in an adjacent room. This is when I began asking Kidar a few questions.
“I live a little way out of Jaipur with my brother and his family. His family has two girls. They own two good cows. My brother is in the military and his wife is like a sister to me. Our house is very good size, next to other houses that look the same.”
What is your family like?
I felt so welcomed when I came into the house of Kidar’s brother. The family was so kind and generous, offering me a local dish (dal and naan) to eat while I was there interviewing Kidar—and I’ll mention that this was an endless supply of delicious food provided by his sister-in-law. “My family is so kind. My sister-in-law especially is very wonderful. She cooks all the meals and is a very hard working mother. When you are done, you will hug her in thanks,” and I did so very thankfully.
How do you get around?
“I use an auto provided by my workplace. My taxi gets me around and I do work with it. It is very helpful to have a car coming from where I am because many things are so far away.”
What types of clothing do you like to wear?
“I wear a pressed shirt with the collar and I wear pants. This is for my job but when I am not working I wear cooler clothes like a shirt and light pants.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to be with my family and play with my nieces. They are very beautiful and fun to be around. I also help my brother whenever he needs help with the cows or with things around the house he wants to fix. It is good for us to work together sometimes.”
What languages do you speak? How do you say “Hello” in your language?
“I speak Hindi. I will tell you ‘hello’—‘namaste’ is the word.”
Do you have pets?
“We own some chickens and two cows.”
Have you traveled? Where have you traveled to?
“I have traveled to many parts of the India because I am a taxi driver. I have gone to the North and the West and the East and South. It is beautiful in the North, though. Near the Himalayas it is very nice cool weather, beautiful mountains, and nice people. I like that area very much.”
What do you do for work?
“I work for a taxi cab company. We drive tourists and locals everywhere they need to go.”
Is there anything else you would like to say to students in the United States?
“Come visit India and see our culture. It’s beautiful.”