I got down at the Bandra station from a local train of Mumbai at around 8 in the morning. I was wearing a black suit and therefore, it’s good that I didn’t have to board a local train at around 9 instead as that’s the time when one literally has to hang onto the door of a local train in order to travel in it. I certainly do not want to be seen hanging onto the door of a crowded local train in a black suit as that’s an amusing sight.
Anyway, once I was out of the railway station, I joined a queue to board an auto-rickshaw. After waiting in the queue for approximately 10 minutes, I got into an auto-rickshaw without bothering to see the face of the auto-rickshaw driver. I asked him to drop me at my college. He started to drive. Behind his seat was a laminated document. It was his license to drive an auto-rickshaw. The picture on it was of a man in his late 20s or early 30s. The man driving the auto-rickshaw had white hair. He looked old. He was probably in his mid 50s. I believe that he’s been driving an auto-rickshaw from quite a long time.
The seat of the auto-rickshaw, on which I was sitting, was covered with a cover made of cloth. I’d no conversation with the auto-rickshaw driver until I reached the college. I went through every detail of his license as I’d no other way to pass my time during the journey. On reaching the destination, I stepped out of the auto-rickshaw and handed over a 100 rupee currency note to him. He was an old man with a jolly appearance. I’d to pay him 36 rupees.
While I was looking into my wallet, I heard a voice that said, “Sir, I’ve 4 rupees. Do you have a 10 Rupees currency note?” I was baffled. I’d never heard an auto-rickshaw driver speaking good English. His accent was good, he was fluent, he made no grammar mistake and he was confident. It took me a few seconds to believe that he’d said something in English. I told him in Hindi that I had no change. He handed me 54 rupees, removed two 5 rupees coins from his shirt’s pocket and handed them to me. He smiled at me and said, “Thank You sir. Have a good day.” I was amazed. I wished him the same and bided him farewell with a smile.
In India, you do not often come across people who are good at English and the ones who are good at English are often people who belong to the upper class. Thus, coming across an auto-rickshaw driver who speaks good English is startling as well as delightful. I wish to meet this man again. He had a smile that could make any person feel at peace. I’m interested to know his story. If I ever get to meet him again, the chances of which are sadly minimal, I’ll certainly take an interview of him and post it here on my blog with his picture.
I’ve been sharing this incident with my pals and every time I do it I feel overwhelmed. This incident has amazed my pals just as much as it amazed me.