Which means every caste in India has a reservation, either at central level or state level. Which, in a way means everyone is now equal. Which also means that Brahmins can no more look down upon Dalits or Marathas need not undertake silent morchas anymore. Everyone can go back to work.
Because work is what gets you rewards in life. Not just your lives but your kids live as well. You get to know the deeper connections between opportunities, hard work, and success only by working relentlessly. Then your kids see how you lived your life and emulate it to become even more purposeful and reach greater heights of success.
Last week, I met an Uber driver who told me this inspiring story about his life.
The guy lost his father at the age of 3. His father was an ironsmith and died of a heart attack on his job, with a hammer in his hand. Yet his mother raised him by teaching him that hard work has no parallel.
That guy started working with his uncle on a truck at the age of 10. He started driving trucks by the age of 14. By 20, he became a professional driver. He used to take a train from Dhule (his hometown) to Nagpur and then board a truck to transport vegetables to Indore. Every day he used to drive in the night to reach the vegetables to the mandi and then come back with some material loaded back to Nagpur. He used to do this for 6 days every week and then come back to Dhule by train for a day and then back to Nagpur for 6 days. He did this for 3 years. And he used to make around 8K for this.
One day his friend told him about going to Pune and driving a car, which paid around 4K more. So he came to Pune and started to drive. He became friends with a guy had bought a car but was unable to drive himself since he got a good job. The friend decided to lend him his car as long as he was able to pay his EMI. When the friend saw that this guy was paying the EMI every month, he asked him to buy the car by paying 50% of the upfront payment and continue paying for the EMI. The deal was done. This was in 2015. Once the car was owned, this guy aligned with Uber and made tons of money in incentives. He repaid the car loan got a driver to drive it for a monthly fee of Rs.8K.
He bought a new car for himself. By now, he had built a client base that gave him more money on Mumbai-Pune trips than he could make on Uber.
Between his two cars and his own clientele, the guy now makes Rs.100K a month and saves Rs.45K for himself. He is now planning to buy his third car.
“When I go back to Dhule, I am surprised to see how my friends, who educated themselves well, are still waiting to get good jobs. Most of them are re-appearing for government exams to get better scores and get a reserved seat in a Sarkari job. When I come in a car to drop my mom, I am told that I should quit driving cars. And I tell them that once you will join a government job, you will be sitting in a chair and I am too doing the same – just that I did it 10 years before you could.”
“Awesome. The only difference is that your chair has a steering wheel and you set the direction where you want to go in your life.”
“Yes, sir. You are right. Had I too waited like them to exercise my right for reservations, I would have lost 10 years of income that I have earned and the opportunity to become an entrepreneur.”
“So you too had the reservation option? What caste do you belong?”
“I am a Dalit sir. I don’t know what it means really. I have always been on the road and so have never suffered the ill effects of caste divide. Which is probably why I don’t really find any benefit in caste reservations helping me earn substantial returns. A reservation basically gives you income, but the cost of earning such income is that people look down upon you as a freeloader. Here I am a king – I decide when to get my car out and drive wherever I feel like. And people pay me for doing this. Isn’t that a better option?”
I wish our politicians read what this guy told me about reservations. It was an eye-opener, coming from someone who deserved an easy life but who chose to reject it for a better future. He believed that this country offers opportunities for those who do not choose to avail reservations. He took the risk and he was proven right.
As my destination was nearing, I told the guy that I am happy the way he thinks and works, and I blessed him for a happier life ahead.
And this what he tells me – “I don’t want to be happy in life. My mother has taught me that it is more important to be content than happy. Contentment is more effective than happiness. Happiness is a search for the unknown, while contentment is being happy with what you have.”
I stopped short of folding my hands to him. How does god give such intelligence and awesomeness to a select few in the world? I don’t know.
That guy made me realize that India does not need Reservations, it needs Reservations. But who will tell this to our politicians?
Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi