Wednesday, August 18, 2010

through an Autorick Ride..

Yesterday was a super occupied day at office; criticism, suggestions, receptiveness, corrections, and finally had a finished piece of an important project. The day at office ended with a mixed feeling of joy that the work was complete and a feeling of feeling not the best and a want to improve immediately at understanding people more.

On returning home, I routinely hire an autorick and I generally get a straight NO from most of them because the distance from the bus stop to my home is not good enough to earn them a good fare (though the Govt has fixed a minimum fare which I am ready to abide always). And no surprise that it happened yesterday too, heard 3 NO's and then a YES from an auto driver. His attire and looks assured me that he was a Muslim.

Generally, I don't like Muslims as somewhere the talks of terrorism being rooted in by Muslims have made an impact in my mind. And i don't see Muslims very often in my everyday work. It is generally rumored that the plight of Muslims in Gujarat is bad and they are not considered for any good by the Govt. of Gujarat. This curiosity to know their actual state in Gujarat made me converse with the auto driver in the 5 mins journey to my home which the road traffic extended to 10 mins.

The conversation went as below:
Me:Where are you from bhaiyya?
He: Me? I have been born & brought up in Gujarat but originally from Punjab.
Me: OK.
He: What makes you ask me this (smilingly)?
Me: Nothing bhaiyya. Looking at you, I guessed u r Muslim and wanted to know few things.
He: What things? (curiously)
Me: I heard that Gujarat doesn't treat the Muslim Community well? How much truth does it hold?
He: No sister, that's the thing of the past. We all have jobs now and no body has time to think about all this. Only the ones who have luxurious salaries and have great businesses talk about such issues. We, the low income people only think of how we can go ahead and how we can earn more to keep our families happy.
Me: Hmm. So how much do you earn approximately by driving auto for the whole month? Do you earn around 15k?
He: No No sister, What are you saying? We hardly earn 6 to 7 grands a month. Can you tell me anyway to grow further and do good for our lives? If you have any suggestion, please give us and we will try to implement.
Me: Even with such income, why do most of your fraternity say 'NO' to your customers (passengers) knowing that they are not going to take anything away from them?
He: What can be done sister? In today's world no one can be explained anything. Everyone has a justification for their deeds. I only know one thing that I believe in serving. If a shopkeeper says NO to his customer for a thing of small value which will waste his time and prefers a customer who purchases a thing of higher value, the shopkeeper is making loss, not of money but of reputation. And I apply the same in my auto business.
Me: Hmm. I must say you are doing a great work of value by transporting people to their destinations.
He: Thank you madam, but I am doing my duty. And I am earning money.

Meanwhile, my home had arrived and I had to leave. I asked him 'How much'? He said 'Rs.10', which was the minimum fare and not Rs.12 which generally most Non-Muslim auto rick drivers ask me for the same distance. I gave him the money and while leaving, he asked me, "Sister, is working in the call centers good for the new generation?" And an array of thoughts ran into my mind but I only answered him "It's OK for passing time or for pocket money when you don't have a good degree but one should not take it as his/her career if other options are available", and I left...with more unanswered questions in my mind. But one thing is for sure, conversations do change your perceptions about the World....



  1. Nice Read! Good and Bad people are to be found in each community. A bit of open mindedness, tolerance and unbiased attitude at times brings community and tribes together. People are averse to change or even to give up on the old mindset that breeds ill. Could write endlessly on this but I guess I'll stop it here.

  2. Thanks Aarti! You are right..and as i said, conversations help!

  3. To judge a community from the deeds of one or two people is wrong..... Though the conversation was really interesting... I am from Gujarat and have also visited few more states where I observed more anger for Muslim community than in Gujarat. It has nothing to do with community, city, society... It has to do with Politics & Individual Perception.... I liked the conversation and particularly the attitude of Auto-rickshaw driver... He has the humanity in him.... 3 Cheers to Humanity..... For me this is one of the best post.....