“Where arre ye off to, lassie?” says the cabbie congenially, turning around halfway in his seat to look at me with twinkling eyes. Fresh off the 10 o’clock train from London, I am at Waverley Station, Edinburgh, and my cab driver sounds like the very epitome of a Scotsman, rolling his r’s, flattening his e’s and elongating his oo’s.
Except, he looks like the very epitome of a Sikh, transplanted from the subcontinent into an unfamiliar land of woolly jumpers and cold mountains. On his head is a magnificent royal blue turban and around his wrist, just visible underneath the red jumper, his kara, the metallic bracelet that all Sikh men wear. His skin is tanned, his beard a rich black. If not for his tartan socks and tweed socks, we could have been in a taxi in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
At least, until he starts speaking again.
“Is this ye firrst time in Scotland, lass?” he asks as the black cab pulls away.
“No, I’ve come up to Edinburgh before.”
He taps his jewelled hands on the steering wheel as he says, “There is naething like auld Edinburrgh, I ken. Bonniest place in the worrld!”
“Even in the snow? In the winter?”
“Aye, that be so! Scotsmen be used to the weather.”
“Are you from Edinburgh?”
“Ach, aye! I was borrn and brred in Edinburrgh, ” he laughs as we pull into my hotel’s driveway. “Cannae ye not ken?”
I ken, indeed.
This post was inspired by The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge was “Tell us about a character in your life.” My chosen character sketch is of an affable, talkative cab driver I met in Edinburgh, on my second trip up there, who was through and through Scottish, and sounded it!