22nd Feb 2007,
It was the day when I had to pay the fees for my admission into Welingkar. I finished off the formalities somewhere around 2 in the afternoon and decided to take a cab to Siddhivinayak temple.
I hailed a cab outside the college campus and the driver agreed to go to the temple. He was a young man somewhere in the late 20's. I chose to sit in the front seat. Before riding off, he took a long look at the college building and then drove off. After about couple of minutes, he asked me...
Driver: Sir, Is this an office?
Me: Nope, this is a college.
Driver: Wah !! This is the first time, I am seeing people dressing up so decently in the college.
I laughed and said...
Me: Yes, This is a management college... Sometime people move around in formals.
Driver: Ok, When do people take admission in this college... Is it after school?
Me: No, First you have to complete your pre-degree and then a degree course and then, the management course.
Driver: Sir, after this where do people get job?
Me: Once people pass out, they might go in for big companies and work in higher positions as managers.
Driver: (laughs) I didn't know that these managers also go to study.
Me: Yeah, it's like that.
Driver: So you mean, after someone do a course from this college, he is sure to become a manager?
Me: Most do, not all.
Driver: What are the salaries of a manager... ?
Me: Depends upon the company... Some pay in lakhs and if you pass off from really colleges, you earn in crores.
Driver: (he slowed down the car and looked at me and speeds again) My goodness.
He was quiet for sometime. I guess, pondering over something...
Driver: What are the fees to get into such colleges?
Me: I said... Depends on the college. On an average it costs... 2-3 lakhs minimum.
Driver: Oh.. OK
He was quiet for the rest of the ride. As I came near my destination, I asked him..
Me: Initially you were talking a lot. What happened?
Driver: Sir, I was thinking of getting my son to pass out from a management college. I don't want him to continue working like me as a Taxi driver.
Me: Ok, How old is you son?
Driver: He is just 4 yrs old. I still have time. I was thinking on how to save money for his education. What ever I do, I will work hard for it.
I was shocked... This man, is thinking way ahead. I felt amazed and pity for that fellow. When I reached my destination, the charges were Rs 36/-. I gave him 4 tenners and asked him to keep the change. He digged into the pocket and handed me the change. I said...
Me: Keep it, think that it is from me for your son. Buy him something from me.
Driver: Sir, I will only keep and buy anything from what I earn. If you dont want it, then drop it in the donation box.
He smiled back at me and thanked me. I took the change and saw him driving off. I was amazed by the self respect that the man showed. He is one of the rare breed of men that you would get in a tough city like Mumbai. A man who would eat the bread he earn. A man with strong principles. Its tough for a man like him to earn and run a family and tougher to sustain in a city like Mumbai.
It doesn't matter how big position you work in your organization, its these human values that really matters.
I went into the holy sanctum with that Rs 4 still in my hand... I dropped it in that box and that day I chose not to be selfish and prayed for that Taxi Driver. May his dreams come true.