I don’t know the taxiwala’s name. I just know that he came from UP to Bombay and has worked hard and has had many jobs. He has also been a day and night watchman at one point. He said that driving a taxi is the only job that gives you higher returns if you work harder. He has two sons who are doing very well for themselves. One is an MBA making 42 grand in Bangalore and the other is a medical rep in Bombay.
So I wondered why he is still driving a taxi and whether his sons ask him to stop. That’s when he told me that it is important to keep working and I added that it is better not to depend on anyone. But, he disagreed. We have strong ‘sanskar’ he said, but, you can’t expect anything from anyone. “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kada Chana,” he quoted. Then he steered the conversation to Modi’s visit to Bombay for a Jain peer’s 300th book release. He told me that crores of rupees have been spent on the pandal. He said that Modi was right in his beliefs but it is difficult to govern (tantra is the term he used) such a diverse country where there are people from so many different religions and speak so many different languages. But he felt Modi has created a positive impression about India abroad.
“Aapko yaad hoga VP Singh ke time pe, desh ka sona girvi rakhke paise laye the…” he said. Not that I recall VP Singh’s politics, but I nodded anyway because his lecture was very interesting.
On the one hand, there is Modi trying to create a good image and on the other hand, there is Aamir Khan who is the brand ambassador telling that his wife wants to leave the country. What will those who live abroad think if all these people who get such VIP treatment and all extra security and other perks talk like that, he asked? I did not have a fitting reply because I tried to imagine a situation where Aamir Khan would dis a brand that he endorses and failed.
At one point in our conversation, while talking about traffic and how people behave on the road, he said that if people only spared a thought for the other person all our problems would be solved. And that was my takeaway for the day.