He shares his inspirational encounter with a rickshaw driver in Mumbai:
‘One Sunday, my wife, kid, and I had to travel to Andheri from Bandra. When I waved at a passing auto rickshaw, little did I expect that this ride would be any different…
I looked in front and there was a small TV. The driver had put on the Doordarshan channel.
My wife and I looked at each other with disbelief and amusement. In front of me was a small first-aid box with cotton, dettol and some medicines.
This was enough for me to realize that I was in a special vehicle.
Then I looked round again, and discovered more – there was a radio, fire extinguisher, wall clock, calendar, and pictures and symbols of all faiths
– from Islam and Christianity to Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
There were also pictures of the heroes of 26/11 ( The terrorist attack in Mumbai) – Kamte, Salaskar, Karkare and Unnikrishnan.
I realized that not only my vehicle, but also my driver was special.
I started chatting with him and the initial sense of ridicule and disbelief gradually diminished.
I gathered that he had been driving an auto rickshaw for the past 8-9 years; he had lost his job when his employer’s plastic company was shut down.
He had two school-going children, and he drove from 8 in the morning till 10 at night.
No break unless he was unwell. “Sahab, ghar mein baith ke T.V dekh kar kya faida? Do paisa income karega toh future mein kaam aayega.”
We realized that we had come across a man who represents ‘India’ – the spirit of work, the spirit of travel and the spirit of excelling in life.
I asked him whether he does anything else as I figured that he did not have too much spare time. He listed a few things :
- He said that he goes to an old age home for women in Andheri once a week or whenever he has some extra income, where he donates tooth brushes, toothpastes, soap, hair oil, and other items of daily use.
- He pointed out to a painted message below the meter that read: “25 per cent discount on metered fare for the handicapped.
- Free rides for blind passengers up to Rs. 50.
My wife and I were struck with awe. The man was a HERO. Someone who deserves our respect.
Our journey came to an end; 45 minutes of a lesson in humility, selflessness, and of a hero-worshiping his country and his people in whatever he can.
We disembarked, and all I could do was to pay him a tip that would hardly cover a free ride for a blind man.
I hope, one day, you too have a chance to meet Mr Sandeep Bachhe in his auto rickshaw: MH-02-Z-8508.’
This story really made me think about how sometimes I end up saying things to explain why I can not do a lot for others. In essence, it is always about my life being at a critical juncture and being a priority. Who’s is not?
It inspired me to do something for free for the first time and I started www.storyfication.com. The online encyclopedia for stories. The project is called ‘the story board project’
Moral – If we being humans do just a little for others as awe do for ourselves selflessly, over 80 % of the worlds crisis can me mitigated. Do your bit when ever, with whatever, and however you can.
Source: Suvendu Roy, first received this on a trail mail. Re-written and concluded by Abhinandan Chatterjee