One day I had to go early to the office. Thus, turned out that I had no company. I waved at a yellow taxi and it stopped. I generally sit at the backseat but at the sight of a lady driver at the driver’s seat I occupied the front seat. “Buenos Dias….” we wished each other. Almost 20 to 30 seconds of silence, I realised she wanted to talk to me. “Cual es tu nombre?” I took the initiative. Cicilia and yours? Oh! she spoke good English. It looked like she was in her early forties with a few strands of white hair. Our conversation took its own pace. In this half an hour journey in huge traffic we covered every possible topic of life from personal life to Quito climate. She was a divorcee but content with her life, blessed with a daughter and earning well as a Taxi driver. She was so fond of her job. “It is so much fun to drive Taaxi. I love meeting new people!” I could see her eyes smiling when she exclaimed this. She was so content and comfortable with her present life that she doesn’t want to take risk by marrying again.
I immensely admire the independent and confident attitude of the happy-go-lucky people of this small place, San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito (Pronounced as ‘Kito’ according to Spanish pronunciation), the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America.
My first few days in Quito were not very heartwarming. I have been away from my family since 2005 but for the first time Quito made me feel the most deadly homesick ever! Days rolled by. My acquaintance with the place started flourishing day by day. Within a few days I could conclude in one sentence that life here is too cool. Along with the pleasant climate, attitude of the people was also very sweet. Irrespective of one’s position in the society, rich or poor, ugly or pretty, everybody just had positive attitude towards life. They never miss a single moment of enjoyment. I really liked the way the cleaning lady in my office used to come. With three layers of make-up, big hoops and a smiling bright face unlike India where it feels as if the cleaning lady had the responsibility of cleaning this entire Universe! Once I met a taxi driver and he asked me how do we spend our weekends. I subtly mentioned about visiting pubs along with other activities. He listed out the hugest list of happening pubs in the city with special mention about the pubs which he and his wife visit. I was a regular weekend visitor of Joker’s casino near my house. I could notice familiar faces mostly at their 40-50s or even 70s, not a sheen of gloom on their faces, enjoying life to the fullest irrespective of their age. About Family and culture, Ecuadorians are very emotional and embrace a collective culture like India.
Their professional life was the most interesting one. 9 to 6 is the office rule they strictly stick to whatsoever. For them personal life always comes before professional. You better not try to interfere their personal life until and unless they themselves take the initiative to share it with you. Beware of the offence they might get otherwise.
I had an amazing time in Ecuador making some very sweet friends. Got an opportunity to learn a new culture. When I had gone there least that I expected from myself to shed tears when I return but I did shed. I was ecstatic to land in Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai but I can’t deny the fact that I miss that place.