“Ever experienced a robbery attempt on a main road, well within city limits? Well, as an auto driver, sometimes life exposes you to certain incidents like these that completely shock you from within. On that night specifically, I was off for my final ride and had to take this man to the Chennai central railway station. He was in his thirties, well built, and had an eerie silence suited for that time of the night. Around 10 when we got to the destination, he re-routed us to Aminjikari suddenly. These shifts don’t occur often; so I turned around to check, only to see a knife directed at me and an order to step out of the vehicle.
Panicked, my immediate reaction was to get out and run for help. Luckily I had other autowalas there, who swarmed in quickly as a unit and stopped the theft. And as for the man, he fled off quickly into a dark corner, as soon as he realized things weren’t going in his favor. Now that incident did make me reconsider my means for a living, but I was far too attached to my vehicle to give it up completely.
You see, unlike most others in my field, I was lucky enough to receive an education. My dad even ran a successful eatery for over 40 years that I was planning to take forward. But before we knew it, fate came in the way and disrupted everything. A new government project in the area meant that we had to give up our shop. So after that tragic downfall, I tried my hands at different jobs though I wasn’t able to earn enough to support my family. But the period did make me realize one thing- the growing demand for private transportation. So in the hope to start life afresh, I bought my first ever autorickshaw and began my 12-hour shifts. And it did pay off eventually, for I was able to send my sons to good schools and colleges. They are all grown up now and took good care of me even when there was no business during the Coronavirus lockdowns. Therefore, regardless of the times, this auto will always hold a special place for it was my savior. What I aspire for today, is to spend time serving customers with warmth and empathy.”
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