Work, passion, interests and life

Driven

Posted on: February 23, 2013

“Good Night, Ma’am.”

The greetings come unfailingly from him whenever someone alights from his car during the evenings, and they change as per the timings of the day. I really like it the courtesies that he maintains with everyone who avails of his services. For fate didn’t allow him to complete his schooling, which I was to discover one day when he opened up before me, and told me that the passing away of his father put the responsibility on him to start earning for the family.

His day starts early. After the essentials, he leaves home to pick up the passengers who commute by his vehicle to their workplaces. He reaches my home around 7 in the morning, after travelling a distance of about 20 kms from his home. The others are picked up from diverse points in quick succession.

During the period of acquaintance, I have found him to be perfect about timings, a trait I find sorely missing from most of my countrymen, even among the educated lot. Usually we all reach our places of work by 9 am. Thereafter, he does sundry jobs during the day, and in the evenings picks us up, and leaves us at our homes. He usually reaches his home around 9 in the evening, sometimes a little earlier and on other occasions a little late, in keeping with the unpredictable traffic on the roads of the Capital.

“I bought this EECO with a bank loan. I pay EMI regularly, and in about a year and a half, when my entire EMI will be paid, I will be slightly less burdened financially and able to provide better for my family,” he told me once.

I have been availing off his services for more than a year now. During this phase, he has truly lessened my hurdle of regular big commute, and allowed me to do some reading during the journey and appreciate nature and surroundings in its full glory.

He has to face a lot of hardship on a daily basis. Cops on the road are ever eager to fine for flouting even the slightest rule. He often relays his personal extortion incident to his fellow cabbie colleagues on the same routes so that they escape the long arms of the police.

Of late, his car has been giving quite a few problems, and he had to shell out a good amount to repair the glitches. I was really taken aback with his reply when I was pointing him about the expenses he had to bear recently. Said he “For over a year, I had to spend nothing for the cab, which kept me earning smoothly, helping me with my sustenance. I do not mind spending a few bucks to get it in order. After all, I make my living through it.” I felt the kinship was quite similar with the vehicle driver protagonist of the Subodh Ghosh story AJANTRIK for his ramshackle vehicle, and which was made into a fine film by Ritwik Ghatak, the difference being his car is relatively in a good condition.

He is a father of two small boys, the elder about five years old and the younger just a few months. He says that his sons often doesn’t get to see him during the week – he sets off early from home before they rise from their sleep, and returns after they had fallen asleep in the evenings. Only on Sundays do they get to spend time with him, and he often indulges his kids.

His business seems to be growing. He is getting requests from more and more faculties to ferry them to their workplaces. He is contemplating to buy a 15 seat second hand vehicle to cope with the surging demands. Does he plan to sell off the vehicle which he cares for so lovingly, or would he be able to arrange a loan for the purchase? I don’t know …

What I do know is that he has ambition and drive, struggling on a daily basis and working presently towards his dream for a better life….

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