If only every day was Raya…

Taranjiv Singh is a law graduate who once served in Malaysia’s biggest broadcasting company.

While exploring his farming venture, the 40-year-old started driving for an e-hailing company last August.

Taranjiv shares his tales with Twentytwo13. This week, he shares his experience of driving in the Klang Valley during the Hari Raya festive period.

“Ah, Hari Raya. You will see makeshift lemang stalls lined up along roads, the smell of freshly cooked rendang is simply irresistible, while in some areas of the Klang Valley, fireworks light up the night.

What I love the most about the festive period are the clear roads and steady stream of passengers. It was the same this Hari Raya.

As most city folk headed back to their hometowns, my ‘regulars’ were mostly foreign migrants. Most either couldn’t afford the trip back to their home nations due to insufficient funds, or they had to work during the festive season. They make do, and enjoy their day off.

Most of them live in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, like in Puchong, or Klang. They flooded the city centre on the first two days of Raya, with KLCC, Masjid India, and Kota Raya complex being their main destinations.

I enjoyed a chat or two with some of them. They too, admitted there’s a different feel to the Raya celebrations this year. They seemed to have mixed feelings. Some said they missed home. Others admitted that prices – from food to clothes – have gone up.

Talking about prices, a fellow e-hailing driver and I were exchanging notes several days ago, and we realised that the fares this time around seemed to fluctuate rather erratically. We both agreed that business was better during the Chinese New Year festive period in January, thanks to better rates.

The clear traffic allowed me to work continuously. On any other day, I would usually stop driving by 4.30pm and head to the farm to tend to matters there. But during the festive period, I decided otherwise, and continued driving. It was a joy.

A surreal feeling was felt on Tuesday (April 25). There were only a handful of vehicles on Jalan Kelang Lama in Kuala Lumpur at 5pm. On any other day, heading there at peak hours would be a nightmare.

It has surprisingly been a rather quiet Raya on all fronts. I met up with some friends, and they too, felt the same. I wondered if the subdued feeling was due to age, but that wasn’t the case.

Perhaps, many have got more pressing matters on their minds. Some struggle to put food on the table, while others have heated debates about which latest continental vehicle they should purchase.

As for me, I’m thankful for the little things – one of them being clear roads. Unfortunately, the peace and tranquillity of driving in Kuala Lumpur will end this week.”

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