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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Monday, January 16, 2006

"People Around Us" - The story of an auto driver

Last Sunday I visited the 66th All India Industrial exhibition at Nampally.On my way back, as I was waiting for my turn to get into an auto in this heavy auto stopped in front of me and the driver waved towards us and shouted "Get in sir, police will not allow me to stop here"

Got into the auto and the auto driver wished me a good evening. My normal habit is that whenever I board an auto or taxi I do strike a conversation with these a different insight into their world. Introducing myself I asked his name and he told me his was "Shekhar".

In Hyderabad there are many different kind of autodrivers:

1. Owners who are also drivers -They generally buy the autorickshaw(either new or old) on loan from a financial institution and keep paying the EMI.

2. Driver who borrow the auto -These folks take the auto on loan from some rich person. In return they pay Rs.100-Rs.125 to the owner on a daily basis. The rest of the cost i.e. maintenance, fuel etc is the drivers ownership.

3. Driver only - these guys only drive the auto for people who own multiple auto and run them.

Shekhar started sharing his story with me, sometimes in decent English and mostly in Hindi. He fell into the first category of autodriver who took a loan and bought his auto. Infact, till two years back he had a cold drink agency and general store in Prakash Nagar, opposite to Hyderabad airport. He used to visit the local pan shop for his daily round of cigarette and there he fell in love with the pan shop owner's daughter, a girl from Champapet(maybe 30 kms from this location) and decided to get married. At this point of time he was the owner of a Hero Honda Splendour motorbike, lived with his parents at Prakash Nagar.

He married the girl secretly and hid this fact from his parents for a year, as they wouldnot approve of an intercaste marriage. When they had a kid, he decided to inform them and on the same day he moved out of their home. His fear that his wife who was of a lower caste will not be acceptable to his family.

He sought help of his friends who arranged Rs. 20,000(to set-up his home) and Rs. 30,000 loan to buy a second-hand autorickshaw. Since then he has been one of the thousand autorickshaw drivers in the city of Hyderabad.

His day starts at around 8:30 a.m. even though he would like to start earlier. Has his round of breakfast and gets out of his house near Balanagar around 9:30 a.m. He is not very particular on which route he takes, his motive is to keep his auto busy and make as much money as possible. During the day he manages to eat some junk food and smoke a few cigarettes. He returns home around 10-11 p.m. and has his dinner along the family. He manages to make around 125-150 Rs per day excluding the fuel cost, cost towards the EMI and sundry expenses. He also gives his auto for servicing once a month spending Rs.170, with a belief that once serviced, it gives better milege and also "prevention is better than cure".

While we were talking, I suddenly hear a cell phone ring...suddenly Shekhar frisks out a mobile and talks. He shares that it was his wife wanting to know if they could make it to the second show movie that night.He goes onto add, that his wife is currently doing a course to become a beautician for which he has spend around 8,000 as the course fees.

Shekhar continues stating that the life of an auto driver is like a loafer and he would want to move out of this as soon as possible. He already was investing in a 2500 Rs/per month chit fund and on its maturity he will pay off the loan amount, sell the auto and start with some other business.

While we were talking all of these, I never realized we almost approached my apartment. I knew it was time to bid farewell to my new acquaintance Shekhar. The auto stopped and I paid the required amount and wished Shekhar good night.

That night I saw a person in love, inspired to make his dream come true. Though he was struggling at this point of time, he wanted his wife and son to be self reliant and get the best out of the world. He also believed that he would be a different person 3-4 months down the line and I saw the conviction in him.

There could be many such Shekhar's plying auto around this city waiting to fulfill a dream. May God help them achieve the same.

1 comment:

  1. What an insight into the life of an autodriver. Well written!


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