Gaurav, a friend / colleague of mine sent me a ‘forward’ this morning. It’s one of those “good deed of the day” types of moments, which I thought should be shared with you guys as well. * Not sure if this is ‘not allowed’ or illegal in any way or form but I ended up editing the below ‘forward’ for it to make more sense * _______________________________________________________
Below, Suvendu Roy of Titan Industries shares his inspirational encounter with Sandeep Bachhe, an Auto Rickshaw driver in Mumbai, India. – Rickshaw number MH-02-Z-8508.
Last Sunday, my wife, child, and I had to travel to Andheri from Bandra in India. I casually waved at a passing auto rickshaw and little did I know then that this was going to be a completely different experience.
As we set off, my eyes fell on a few magazines (kept in an aircraft style pouch) behind the driver’s back rest. I looked in the front of the vehicle and there was a small television as well, in which the driver had put on the “doordarshan” channel. My wife and I looked at each other with disbelief but were amused at the same time. I then realized that in front of me, there was a small first-aid box with cotton, dettol, and some medicines. I guess this was more than enough for me to realize that this was most definitely a special vehicle.
As I continued to explore, I saw a radio, fire extinguisher, wall clock, calendar, and pictures & symbols of all faiths – from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, to even Sikhism. There were also pictures of all the 26/11 heroes, which included Kamte, Salaskar, Karkare, and Unnikrishnan. By now, I wasn’t only impressed with where I was sitting but was also curious about the driver and how special he must be.
I started chatting to the Driver and the initial sense of ridicule and disbelief gradually began to diminish. I gathered some facts and he had been driving an auto rickshaw for the past nine years as he had lost his job when his employer’s plastic company was shut down. He had two school-going children and he drove from 8:00 am till 10:00 pm on a daily basis. He wouldn’t take a break ever unless he was severely ill and could not manage driving the rickshaw. He even said “sahib, ghar mein baith ke TV dekh kar kya faida? Doh paiseh karega toh future meh kaam aayga” – Sir, what’s the use of simply sitting at home and watching television? If I earn some income, then it will be useful in the future.
We then realized that we had come across a man who represents Mumbai – the spirit of work, the spirit of travel, and the spirit of being ambitious and wanted to excel in life. I even asked him if he has time to do anything else besides driving this rickshaw and he said that he rarely has time but when he does, he goes to an old age home for women in Andheri at least once a week or on holidays to donate tooth brushes, toothpastes, soap, hair oil, and other items, which could come handy on a day –to-day basis. He even pointed out to a painted message below the meter that read: “25 percent discount on metered fare for handicapped people and free rides for blind passengers up to Rs. 50”.
The Rickshaw driver was very proud yet humble while mentioning that he was mentioned on Radio Mirchi by an RJ not once but actually twice.
My wife and I were struck in awe by this gentleman and consider him to be a hero, who deserves all the respect in the world. He has put questions in our minds and I now understand why it’s important to help others. Our journey came to an end after 45 minutes and I was proud to have met a self-less, humble, down-to-earth, hero, which gave me a new found respect for Mumbai – my temporary home. Unfortunately, I could only give him a little bit of tip, which would hardly cover a free ride for a blind man but I wish him the best of luck and all my prayers are with him.