Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking A Breather


Tuesday morning started out pretty quietly for Sanjay, a 26 year old taxi driver in Calcutta, India. A few short range pickups, a trip to the airport, but otherwise, pretty quiet. But around noon, that changed in a big way.

As Sanjay pulled up to a market, he noticed a commotion just outside the entrance. Several people were assisting a young woman and leading her to the street. Sanjay immediately realized what was going on -- she was pregnant. Very pregnant, in fact, according to the people who were screaming and shouting into Sanjay's window and urging him to rush her to the hospital. The only problem was, the woman hadn't been loaded into the car yet.

Always cool under pressure, Sanjay got out and helped the woman into the car, and jumped behind the wheel. The nearest hospital was 25 minutes away, but Sanjay knew of a shortcut through a nearby series of alleys. And it was the right time of day -- no traffic.

The woman wailed as Sanjay's cab bumped and lurched its way through Calcutta's pothole scarred streets, and it was obvious she was in the later stages of labor. Just as her cries reached the level of screams, Sanjay pulled up to the emergency room entrance, and a group of nurses whisked the woman away to an operating room.

It was a pretty intense half hour, and afterward, Sanjay's heart was still racing. He decided to hang out and catch his breath before continuing his shift. "Never a dull moment in this line of work," Sanjay thought to himself, and chuckled.

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