The other day, Deepak, our driver, went to a big party. He was very tired. The party was in honor of the birth of his friends child, and Deepak drank a lot. Big drinking, he would say, and he felt sick. We never knew that Deepak drinks at all, and sure enough, it turned out that they were drinking two liters of Coca Cola. Very cold, Deepak said. His stomach really didn’t agree with all that coke, and we really can’t blame him for taking a sick day.

A few weeks earlier, he had been very upset and told Ksenia that he couldn’t sleep all night. The evening before, he had picked me up from the office and we dropped off two friends from work. As he was driving, I made some remarks about Deepak being the best driver on the planet, but he completely misunderstood and thought that I had said he’s the worstdriver on the planet. He didn’t say anything until the next morning, but he really could not sleep after that.

Luckily, we managed to assure him that this was a misunderstanding. Ksenia did teach him a number of new English phases, so now Deepak knows that I know doesn’t mean No, and that something something usually better translates as a little bit. These days, whenever yet another rickshaw driver cuts Deepak off, he will happily announce in almost perfect English: Bad man. Very bad man. I am angry.

Sadly enough, I have received plenty of unsolicited phone calls on my mobile from AirTel, pestering me about this that or the other discount offer – and quite frequently the person on the other end speaks even less English than Deepak. But Deepak says he likes his job – he will be very sad not to drive the most beautiful car in Mumbai anymore, which as he often happily remarks is not perfect, but I couldn’t really imagine him being satisfied in a call center.

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