Every now and then, we think we are stressed and struggling with life… and them someone comes along and tells you their story in the simplest of words possible.. and you realize what people around us go through, without us ever realizing… It can be a humbling experience.
It started with a question to my cab driver today on the way back from the airport. “Is this your own cab” … no sir, I drive this. I used to own my own Innova, but that met with an accident. Another driver was driving it. He died on the spot and the car was totaled sir. It became a total loss for me… lakhs of loss… so I told myself never again.
“Didn’t you insure it?”
No sir … It was just 3rd pty insurance because I could not afford the 28 grand required for comprehensive insurance. So I got nothing.. wiped out.
Now I’m thinking.. gosh.. poor guy… without realizing what comes next! 🙁
“Why did you give a car that did not even have comprehensive insurance to someone else to drive man?”
…. I never do sir… but that day I had to go to court. My bad luck and his bad luck 🙁
“Err… court? Why?”
Dont ask sir… I have been undergoing mental and physical torture for the last 1 yr. I had come to Bangalore 5 yrs ago to run my cab since I could not make ends meet in my hometown. I have two kids aged 11& 13 sir.. so I used to keep sending money home. But my wife ran away with my best friend sir. I found them together at home one day and I got so angry that I lodged a police complaint. In return she put 7 cases on me, including dowry harassment, attempt to murder and what not . I got beaten in the police station and I was in jail for 2 months. Now she lives with him and is demanding money in return for withdrawing the cases sir. And monthly maintenance for the kids, even though she is living with another man. You tell me sir, what do I do? I miss my kids terribly and and don’t even mind forgiving whatever she did, for the sake of the kids. But that is not possible now and I don’t know what to do! I still send money for the kids. But she does not let me even meet them. I cant marry anyone else as I know that fellow will abandon them before long. What will happen of them. I am stuck sir!
At this stage he pulls out a bunch of passport photos from his wallet. Two smart looking kids in school uniform, a lady and somewhat strangely, a snap of the man as well, with a big cross drawn through the photograph with a pen!!
“Good lord man.. jail for two months??!!”
…. Oh that was nothing sir… Jail is not such a bad place as they make out in the movies! If you ask me, its quite a comfortable life. I was shivering when I first got sent in… but I soon realized its quite ok. You get food on time, you sleep on time, and when you are undertrial, you have quite a bit of freedom. You can wander around, watch TV, play carroms… and all the 400 odd undertrials are quite supportive of each other. We became good friends… many people have difficult stories.. we shared each others grief and it actually felt quite good. Also sir… if you have money, let me tell you… you can have a party in the jail sir. Everything that you are not allowed to do even outside.. can happen in the jail. So that experience wasn’t that bad sir.
“So what now, my friend?”
…. Money sir…. money is everything in this world. One way or the other I will make so much money that this world will come to my feet sir. And I will get back my kids somehow. That is the only way. Nothing else works in this world… never trust friends… and the system is sold to the highest bidder… only money talks sir!”
I really didn’t know what to say to him. What does one say? “its ok.. look ahead… forget the past?” … such callous things to say when one has not lived in his shoes for even a minute. So I simply bid him farewell and said “stay well.. be well my friend. It will all work out one day” and stepped out of the car.