IT isn’t every day that New Yorkers take a yellow cab with a woman behind the wheel. It is even less frequent when the driver is an Italian-American woman who converted to Sikhism. In a New York accent, the cabdriver, Brooklyn-born Maria Singh, 53, likes to joke about how she ended up quitting her office job four years ago. “I took the final Punjabi step,” said Mrs. Singh, who wanted to escape the drudgery of working as a car service administrator....
Melding her two cultures has yielded interesting results for Mrs. Singh, who usually wears a salwar kameez, the loose tunic and pants suit popular among Punjabi women. She admits to eating a little pasta every day and substituting olive oil for ghee while following a vegetarian diet. “Instead of having meatballs, we have kofta,” she said.
Despite a happy married life, Mrs. Singh said, she has still had to face the rigors of a taxi driver’s life, including long hours (she typically drives from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays) and a hostile passenger who once pulled at her head scarf, thinking she was a Muslim. She no longer wears the scarf, called a chunni, while she works.
Yet for Mrs. Singh, it’s not episodes like those that upset her. “What makes me more angry is the guy that was driving in two lanes on the F.D.R. Drive,” she said. As she glided along First Avenue looking for her next passenger, a cool summer breeze blowing through the taxi windows, Mrs. Singh said, “I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.” [Link]
DNSI direct link 0 comments Email post: