A long time away from blogging and I'm finally back! yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Guess the rains inspired me to finally blog.
The heat in Delhi was just unbearable and it resulted in constant loss of liquids in my body and a certain tingling feeling on the keyboard 'coz of all the sweat accumulating there (yes yes I can certainly be gross and I shall avoid getting into further details). A sweltering few days since the beginning for June...which had me doing quite a bit of jogging and jumping in my room (oh now...u know me, i can't be health conscious can I?) thanks to the hot floor :S. But yes...it did some good too, many of my long forgotten friends started messaging me and mailing me to see if I was still alive and hadn't melted yet :D
Now that I'm done with my ramblings, let's get down to business as I sip my Gatorade into the night. If Delhi's got me addicted to something, it's Gatorade! I could go on about it but I'm no cricketer to endorse products.
A few months back I had started using a certain cycle rickshaw regularly from the metro station to my office near New Delhi Railway Station. It wasn't me being lazy to walk, it was just that there was this one guy who always offered to take me there and was pretty good at convincing me to sit in his rickshaw. Let's just start from the beginning then....it was 9:35p...I was late (yes you all may have noticed the accidental p I placed there...let me correct that...9:35am :D) and one of our subcons had arrived at site and was calling me up and asking me where I was as the door was locked (I double as a security guard...or the 'Keymaker' if you want it to sound more matrix like). I had to get to the site and couldn't afford to take my routine 15 minute morning walk. A bunch of rickshaws stood before me and for once, the dim bulb in the brain shone bright!
Me: Bhaiya, I need to go to Zakir Hussain College. How much will you charge? R1 : 15Rs Me: Are you crazy????? I'll pay 5Rs. R1 : Sorry I won't go
(moves to the next rickshaw and attempts the same dialogue again)
R2 : 10Rs sir Me: 5Rs! R2 : Sir pay 8Rs I'll take you there Me (thinking) : hmmm....should I just go or waste another 10 minutes haggling? Me: sigh...okay (yes, we indians love to haggle and hate losing in any of the Bargain Battles)
And that's the story of how I first got into that rickshaw. In the days that followed, he'd get ready with his cycle rickshaw when I got out of the metro station and ask me to get in. His rates went down from the initial 8Rs to 5Rs for the ride. Often I'd pay an advace for two or three days and he wouldn't ask for more (yes yes I did tip once in two weeks).
One morning as I got into the rickshaw, I noticed the guy looked pretty worried. Curiosity got the best of me and...
Me: Hey, you look upset...something wrong? RW (Rickshaw walla...I just realised I forgot to ask him his name!): Yes sir, last night someone stole all my money, I was sleeping on that corner of the road and they took all the money I had made that day. Me: Oh my God! That's bad! RW: Yes sir, I had bought a new shirt for my brother and one for myself and kept it in a bag. In the evening I had downed a few and went off to sleep there and the next morning I see that someone had taken my plastic bag....the b@#%@!#s! Me (thinking): New clothes...bag....alcohol...loss of senses...sleep on road...robbed....yep kinda makes sense Me: That's real bad (yep...I was totally monotonous there and couldn't think of anything else to say...eventually the light bulb helped)...wrong time to ask you this but how much do you make a day? RW: Sir, generally I make around 400-500Rs a day. After food and alcohol, I manage to save around 300Rs a day.
Me (thinking again): hmmm...500X25 (assuming he's working everyday) comes to around 1250...oh boy life must be tough for him....uhm...wait....500X25?? WTF!!! That's 12,500Rs without taxes!!!! I got paid that much in my first year in the company!!!!!!
Me: That's quite a sum, why do you keep all the money in your hand always? Why don't you get a savings account in one of the banks nearby and get an ATM card. You can put in money every evening after you finish work. You'll be able to save a lot more and send money to your family in the village too. RW: Sir I already have an account, but it's on the other side of town. I've got 3lacs there which one of my relatives had given me. I'm saving that to start a business of my own in a few months. I'm hoping to save some from the work I'm doing now. Me: Yeah and you can make it much better if you start saving your money and not letting others rob you RW: Yes sir....sir...do you think they'll give me an account in one of those banks? Me: Why not?? There are many banks nearby. State Bank of India will open one for you with just the savings you make everyday. And you can deposit money at any time of the day. Even at night. RW: Really sir? I was thinking of putting it in my account there but it's too far and I can't go everyday. I think I shall do something tomorrow or so...Thank you sir...Sir if you don't mind, could you give me an advance for tomorrow, I haven't had breakfast.
Paid him 15Rs that day...yes a measly sum but it meant a lot to him. It's funny how we underestimate many ppl around us. These guys move in from neighboring states into Delhi and slog their days riding contraptions that carry 3-4 ppl in the summers of Delhi. Often having to bargain their fare for an extra Re or two.
Their dreams may be modest, but it's nice to know that this city....the Lazy Metro...still has it's dreamers...the ones who still dream of a future where they are sitting behind a store making money out of hard work than sleeping away in a corner office. Haven't seen the guy for almost 3 weeks now...I'm hoping he got his savings right and managed to get that store he was dreaming and telling me of.....the very Best of Luck to him :)