Sarabjeet S. Bajaj, 47
Plaza Lafayette and Riverside Drive.
Tue Dec 15 2009
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
Where are you from? I'm from Punjab state in India. I came to New York in 1994 because this is a good country to make some money. I had a plan to come in this country to make some money and go back in my home country.
And here you are, 15 years later. Yes, since we come over here and keep working and keep working—you forget about everything back [there]. Now the kids don't want to go back because they have a better opportunity in this country.
What does your middle initial stand for? Singh. It's the last name of most who belong to Sikh religion.
Does the color of your turban signify anything in particular? No, you choose.
To match your outfit? Yeah. Whenever you leave the house, you must have a turban on your head. I'm wearing turban since I was 14. I never cut my hair since I was born. It takes me 15 minutes to fix my beard and make a turban in the morning.
So high maintenance! [Laughs] It's not too long.
What do you do? I'm driving a limo.
It's a New York stereotype, the cab driver with a turban. Do you feel stereotyped? Initially, some people might ask, like, what is my religion because they never saw people like that before. I have knowledge, so I tell them.
You're educating New York City, one rider at a time. [Laughs] Yes. I always try to tell them what I am. I don't mind.
More from Sarabjeet
"Since 700 years ago, we have to wear beard and turban and a bangle on our hand. We have a special kind of underwear we have to wear and we have a special kind of very small sword we have to wear. It is our little, different identification to the world."
"We are very competitive with yellow cabs. Those people are very crazy people. They are driving wherever they want. They think everything is belonging to them."
"For the holidays, we're trying to stay at home with the kids. We celebrated Thanksgiving last month, and we're trying to participate in any holidays if anyone invite us, but normally it doesn't happen. [Laughs] But we watch the TV [with] the Christmas carols. We try to watch everything with concern to the holidays."