[Reader-list] Bombay Taxi Project - Meter Down Podcast
kabi cubby sherman
cubbykabi at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 3 23:27:08 IST 2007
As part of a larger project on Bombay taxi drivers ( kaali-peeli ki kahani), I have been recording conversations with cab drivers, with their permission of course, as we ride from one place to another in the city. I am now podcasting these conversations as episodes in a podcast called Meter Down. The language is Hindi. I consider this project an oral history, a verbal record, that explores the questions of migration and mulak, bombay and change, taxi-driving and life. The cabbies, of course, also tell some wonderful stories.
You can listen to these conversations at http://meterdown.wordpress.com, a blog on which I also post photos of the drivers and their taxis. Outtakes of some of the wonderful bits of these conversations are also posted on the site for listener convenience.
I am an ex-taxi driver myself and have been working on this Bombay taxi driver project for a year now. Taxi drivers write the city: they move through its streets and collect its stories. They track its changes while journeying with their passengers through its transformations and they experience the absence of the old. Yet they are also the subjects of these changes. Driver-owned old taxis are being forced out of service and their permits cancelled. New private taxi fleets with 'modern' vehicles are vying for these permits but refuse to hire most of the drivers. The drivers' futures are uncertain. A majority of the drivers are migrants, each with his own sense of home. I am interested in this internal migration, the movement of people from the villages to a city that looks away from these villages and outward into a globalising world. what did the taxi drivers leave behind? what dreams did they bring and what dreams remain? where is home now?
The project also includes documenting and photographing the personal and creative designs that cab drivers employ to make each taxi a signifier of the self: words on the back windows that act like clues, rexine mudflaps, mirrored ceilings, patterened seat-covers, radium patterning and painted mechanical meters. I print these images to fabric and create textile pieces. I buy old steering wheels and wrap them using plastic flourescent rope, making patterns by putting radium underneath, as I learned to do from an old radiumwala. I use rearview mirrors and photos of drivers' eyes to make 'gaze pieces'.
But it is these podcasts that are the ballast. Please give them a listen.
I have currently posted two episodes on the blog and plan to post another conversation every 15-20 days. I appreciate feedback, suggestions, critiques, etc. There is a place on the blog for comments or you can email me at this ID.
If you have Itunes, you can search for 'Meter Down' and subscribe to the podcast or download episodes from there, esp. if bandwidth is a problem. Meter Down is also listed in some podcast directories such as Podcast Alley, Odeo (tho only 1 episode showing) , podcastingnews, and Google using meter down podcast search terms.
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