by Nowshad Rizwanullah
Monday, March 23rd 2009
Last night something truly remarkable happened to me, of the one-of-a-kind-only-in-Mumbai variety. Having just returned from the US for a weeklong holiday to visit friends (and to find a summer job!) I was happily returning home after a full day of activities when I received an unusual call from our landlady. Apparently a taxi driver had shown up at the door claiming to have something that belonged to me. Horror washed over me as I realized that I had lost track of my shoulder bag – containing my laptop, iPhone, and — most importantly – my invaluable passport containing both my US and Indian visas. Horror was quickly replaced by relief as we pulled up the driveway and were met by Mushtaq Ahmed (Taxi No. MCP0509), our smiling cab driver from that morning, holding my bag with all the contents intact. In my haste to remove my suitcase from his trunk earlier in the day I had completely neglected my bag sitting in the front seat. Upon noticing the mistake – and the value of my bag’s contents – Mushtaq carefully drove all the way back to return my possessions, citing his brotherly duty as a good Muslim to do what was right. I was humbled and speechless. With little to gain other than a relatively small reward – and a bag full of riches to lose – here was a man driven by his sense of decency and personal pride in doing what was right. In a city where it is all too easy to get stressed out and frustrated by life’s daily hassles, here was a heartening reminder of why we so willingly put up with it.