“I am behind on several payments, have many commitments and was contemplating suicide when you came and sat in my auto and I don’t know why I am telling you this! I don’t have any hope at all. I think God sent you to me. I have never done anyone any harm in my life. I am relieved now and I am glad you came and sat in my auto. Thank you for talking to me.“
He was rude, puffing at his cigarette stick and demanded to be paid 50 rupees extra when I hailed him. I usually look for a different auto but somehow I got in without thinking and gestured him to fling his smoke off. He in turn gestured that he will need a minute to finish it off before we start. Few minutes into the trip and he opened up.
“I was born in to a poor family. My father was a cycle mechanic who had a small shop near Indiranagar and I started working when I was ten. I always wanted to study so I could buy whatever I want to but kept postponing it as I never had enough money. I became a mechanic and worked in a shop repairing bikes and autos. When I got to an age I started plying autos. It all seemed to work out when I began saving some money. We paid a hefty dowry and got my sister married. I was happy and then my father died five years ago. My whole family was shocked and suddenly I was the only earning member.
We got out of shock slowly and I got married two years ago. I was happy for a short while. My sister and brother-in-law started having troubles and after three kids, my brother-in-law fell sick and died two years ago. I shelled out all my savings and spent over 1 lakh for his hospital expenses, still couldn’t save him. Her in-laws threw her out and she came to live with us. Now ten people depend on my daily wages and I have no option but to work. I have many loans, installments to pay apart from the auto rent and what not. I was down with viral fever last week and was shivering but had to work as if I don’t work, we can’t eat. I sleep for 4 hours everyday and most of the times in my auto. Life is tough.”
Stay tuned for the second part!
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