Cab conversations

Updated: 29 September, 2020 10:39 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

With a new film set around the city's kaali-peeli taxi, we pick four Instagram pages that celebrate the iconic public transport

Geetika Prasad, whose handle is @imoutaf, tells us that she drew this image from memory, after a happy day spent in a cab a year ago. "The best part is that the driver started watching a film on YouTube during a traffic jam and then struck up a conversation with me about the character in it," Prasad says. That's the sort of heartwarming experience that adds to the nostalgia for kaali-peelis.
Geetika Prasad, whose handle is @imoutaf, tells us that she drew this image from memory, after a happy day spent in a cab a year ago. "The best part is that the driver started watching a film on YouTube during a traffic jam and then struck up a conversation with me about the character in it," Prasad says. That's the sort of heartwarming experience that adds to the nostalgia for kaali-peelis.

The Hindi film Khaali Peeli has run into rough weather even before its release owing to the nepotism row raging at present (the movie stars Ishaan Khattar and Ananya Panday) and the fact that a song on its soundtrack was flagged as being racist. But on the bright side, it's put the spotlight back on a Mumbai icon that is an essential stitch in the city's fabric —black-and-yellow taxis. These vehicles have defined the landscape here, just like yellow Ambassador cabs define Kolkata.

But the onset of taxi aggregator apps has threatened their existence like a young bright spark who joins a company and sidelines a seasoned veteran. The pandemic has dealt a further blow to the drivers. So, now is as good a time as any to celebrate this legendary facet of Mumbai, which — as journalism student and self-taught illustrator Geetika Prasad points out to us — links one part of the city to another. Prasad has paid tribute to kaali-peelis with a colourful sketch of the interiors of the vehicle. We pick three other pages that have done the same, driving home the point that these cars are indeed Mumbai icons that add to the city's vibrancy.

Instagram user @tangle_with_vidhi has given the taxi's black-and-yellow façade a somewhat psychedelic makeover. The kaali-peeli colour scheme characterises these vehicles. But imagine for one second what it would be like if the city's streets were filled with cabs painted like the one in this image.
Instagram user @tangle_with_vidhi has given the taxi's black-and-yellow façade a somewhat psychedelic makeover. The kaali-peeli colour scheme characterises these vehicles. But imagine for one second what it would be like if the city's streets were filled with cabs painted like the one in this image.

The hustle and bustle of metropolitan life is captured perfectly in this sketch that @suhitasketch posted, which shows a taxi stuck hopelessly in a sea of people. We also love the way in which she has added the detail of the driver steering the tiny car with one elbow jutting out.
The hustle and bustle of metropolitan life is captured perfectly in this sketch that @suhitasketch posted, which shows a taxi stuck hopelessly in a sea of people. We also love the way in which she has added the detail of the driver steering the tiny car with one elbow jutting out.

This one's a perfectly captured photograph that emphasises the black and yellow colours of the taxi, blending it into the rest of the image to paint the entire city with it. User @killer_avi wrote in the caption, "Bombay, the city of dreams. It absorbs so much in and still manages to offer a piece of it to everybody." We agree.
This one's a perfectly captured photograph that emphasises the black and yellow colours of the taxi, blending it into the rest of the image to paint the entire city with it. User @killer_avi wrote in the caption, "Bombay, the city of dreams. It absorbs so much in and still manages to offer a piece of it to everybody." We agree.

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First Published: 29 September, 2020 10:16 IST

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