It was in the thick of things that I started from the office that evening. I had an event next day. The buses had been on flash strike, on April 1. Whoever wanted to make a fool of whom only they will know the answer.
It was tough to get rickshaws, and if you got one, they would ask a bomb or never cared to take you short distances. As I cursed myself I thought I should walk the distance if everything fails.
As I contemplated this I saw another rickshaw coming my way and waved my hands. Luckily he stopped. I told him the hotel name, he said ok and then we crossed the highway to the road on which the event was to be held.
I asked him how the day was. He said it was busy and he hadn’t stopped even to eat. I asked him why, he said ‘Its been very sad that the BEST buses went on a strike, nobody knew and who knows what emergency people have and yeah I can live off without food for a single day no?’
I could feel so happy about someone, who took it so nicely and since autos were very tough to get, I said it was nice of him. We exchanged ideas while we waited at every traffic junction. While it was true they had genuine concerns on the payment and salaries they should not have made it so bad for common people. That was his take.
As I neared the hotel, I saw the meter read some 1 . odd kilometers and the rate read 17 rupees, I handed him a 20 rupee note and was about to leave without taking the balance, he shouted back “ruko bhaiya”
I turned and he held 3 one rupee coin and said I have taken my due this doesn’t belong to me.
I was actually offended, I told him I am giving him happily, he said, still I would not take it , then he added, ‘Today you will be give me, who will give me tomorrow. Let me keep what is mine and I am happy!’
I was literally stunned, in this world where we go after money, someone was content, at his rightful earning, and happy at that.
He became my role model. I told myself, if I have to earn money it shall be done with respect and dignity. I dont know his name- I call him my Autowala bhaiyya.