Saturday, December 1, 2007

Taxi Drivers in Prague

When I was in Prague last April, I took a taxi to my hotel from the Railway station. It was a long drive to my Botel ( a hotel on a boat). The driver , a man in his fifties was talkative and friendly. Without even prodding, he kept giving his comments on the state of his country. He was absolutely disgusted with the way his country was being run. He said that his rented accommodation which used to cost him 400 Czech Crowns a month, in 1989, was now making him poorer by 10000 CK every month. And the accommodation was not palatial, but just fit for pigs. He thought that the switch from the communist system to a capitalistic one had not benefited people like him. In a sarcastic comment, he said that earlier the communists looted him and now the capitalists were doing the same job.

I had the opportunity of travelling by another taxi the very next day. This driver was younger and was in his early thirties. Unlike the older one on the first day( who was more comfortable with German language) , this man spoke better English . This young chap had totally different views on the new system. He said that freedom was more important than bread and so the freedom which he was enjoying under the new dispensation was far better with all its financial insecurities and mounting inflation , compared to the job security and stable prices which were taken for granted under the communist regime, but with individual freedom bartered away.

Two taxi drivers, but two diametrically opposite opinions. Perhaps, it is a divide on the basis of age. May be, even on the basis of formal education.

1 comment:

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