I had gone to meet my friend at a hospital. On my way back, I was trying to catch an auto. After getting refused by 4-5 of the auto drivers (Not a surprise if you stay in New Delhi), one auto driver agreed. He said he’d take the longer route as there was a lot of traffic on the main road. Though my natural reaction was suspect, I readily agreed because after all he was going by the meter. Suddenly, he started a conversation telling me the woos of auto drivers in Delhi. I have always been such a critic of the auto drivers and their unprofessionalism that I have never tried to understand their side of the story. This guy logically explained the problems they face. He told me how he sometimes reaches home by 1 AM because he doesn’t say no passengers, how auto drivers are bullied and fined unnecessarily by the police. After listening (and not just hearing) to his stories and the problems he faced, I understood him, I could relate to his problems.
Then he started talking about issues, problems faced by people in Delhi. The knowledge, the wisdom he had was astonishing. He talked about women’s safety, he talked about how to increase efficiency of the police by dividing shifts, he talked about why Aam Aadmi Party should first sit in the opposition, he talked about why its important to choose our battles- ‘Sometimes you got to stand back and observe and wait for the right time to act’, he talked about missing compassion in people including auto drivers. He told me about this one time when he reached home at 3 AM, because a person wanted to go to hospital at 1 am and he just couldn’t say no to him. He talked about sexual abuse at work place (citing the tehelka example) and how it can be avoided- ‘Agar aadmi aapko ek baar bhi gandi nazar se dekhe toh complain kardo, intezaar mat karo ki baat aage badh jaaye’ (If a man even stares at you with wrong intentions go and complain, don’t wait till the point something worse happens). He even told me how to safely reach home if I am coming late at night. He talked about leadership- ‘We need a strict leader in India today’. He gave such simple, yet strong solutions to problems. Throughout the journey I wanted to stay quiet and just listen to him (something which is very rare in my case.
That guy will probably not have fancy degrees or so called intellectual capacity. But he had wisdom, he had knowledge, he had values he believed in and the strength to act upon those values. Even after going to a good school and college, after having so many resources, I was not even close to what that man stood for. He made me realize how one doesn’t need to have fancy degrees and gift of gab to be able to inspire. I don’t even know his name but that man inspired me. His ideas inspired me. His actions inspired me. I realized we can be inspired at every moment and by almost anyone we meet, we just need to open our eyes and accept. I dint want the journey to end so soon, but of course it did. After getting off, I thanked him out of good manners. But in my mind, also for inspiring me and making me feel hopeful. 🙂