We all come in contact with a fantastically large number of people during the course of our lives. Many we don’t remember and some we do. Only once-every-gazillion years, do we encounter someone who really leaves a lasting impression. Someone who is #madeofgreat.
I came across one such person while I was in Mumbai for attending this event hosted by IndiBlogger, BNLF. That post will be up soon but has to wait because blogger decided to burst some crackers for me this Diwali! That story can wait.
After attending the first workshop on day 2 of BNLF, I decided to join my family for the shopping spree they were on, so I booked my cab from Uber (I'm not advertising, this is a part of the story.), which I used to travel to and from the place I was staying at, for both the days.
My cab came within a short time of booking. The driver, Subhash, was a man of great manners. His polite way of speaking urged me to talk to him, to know his story. So here's how our conversation went and the reason why I consider him to be #madeofgreat -
I: How much time would it take to reach Hill Road?
Him: It'll take around 25 minutes without traffic and 35 minutes with traffic. Are you in a hurry?
I: Ah no, I'm fine. Let's go at the normal pace.
A minute or two later-
I: So, do you drive whole day?
I: I mean, when does your shift end?
Him: Oh, that! No, no. I'll drive for an hour or two more. This is a part-time job for me.
I: Oh, I see. What else do you do then?
Him: Nothing as of now, but my plan is under way. I'll start a business of renting out cars and I'm currently saving money for the same.
I: Oh, nice. So, why Uber? Why not Ola or TaxiforSure? (I don't know why I asked that, curious maybe.)
Him: No, no. Uber is the best. It pays good money, much better than the others.
I: That's good. How old are you? (Since the question of why he was doing a part-time job was still nagging me, I couldn't help asking this as I could see that he must be in his 30's.)
Him: I'm 32.
I: Right. What did you do before taking this job? (Straight to the point this time.)
Him: I looked after my Daddy's business. The business went into losses and we had to shut it down. We had a similar business, that of renting cars. I'm saving money so that I can restart it.
I: Oh my god, when did this happen? (Dumbfounded!)
Him: In the recent past.
I: You must have had a hard time coping with this loss? How did you get over it? I mean, it surely would have been a hard time.
Him: Of course it was, but I had no choice. I had to support my family. My Daddy passed away because of the tension, I couldn't have let it get a hold of me too.
I: What!? I'm really sorry for you loss. (Aghast!)
Him: Oh, no no. It's perfectly fine. My Daddy was bedridden due to his illness. He just couldn't bear the news of the loss. He was worried about it as he couldn't participate in the affairs of the business and hence it went into loss.
I: What caused the loss? (Hoping I'm not asking too much.)
Him: This business was in partnership with my Daddy's friends. Since my father was bedridden, he couldn't actively participate in its affairs much. His friends took a lot of loans and we had huge debts in no time. It was too late to turn back when we got the air of what was happening. To settle some of the debts, we had to sell our cars and eventually shut down the business. His friends ran away and the debt still exists.
I: What?! So who'll pay the debt now? (Horrified!)
Him: I will! It's around 2.5 lakhs, but I'm sure I'll pay it off soon. The news crushed my father, being betrayed by his own friends. I couldn't have let the sadness overpower me. It would have been the end of me as well as my family.
I: Who else is in your family? Are you married?
Him: Yes, I'm married. Besides my mother and my wife, I have a son.
I: That's great. Does he go to school?
Him: Of course he does. I won't let the hardships of my life affect that of my child. I will provide him with the best of facilities that I can.
I: That's wonderful. I'm so glad that you are doing this, not everybody has such courage. (Inspired!)
Him: I'm no superman, madam. I'm a common man. We all have to deal with such situations, nobody can escape this.
I: But how are you doing this? Where are those friends of your father? Why are you paying the debt they took? You must be hating them with all your heart. (Even I hate them.)
Him: Not at all. This was my Daddy's business. It is my responsibility to keep his name unscathed. They do not pick up their phones, I can't find them. Anyway, I do not hate them. I have better things to do, like taking care of my family and their needs. Why would I waste my time in hating them when I can spend the same time in loving my family more, or putting more efforts in my work than I currently do.
I: You are a wonderful man. I am amazed at the way you are moving on in your life. This is truly the best you can do for your family as well as yourself. (Starstruck!)
Him: Thank you so much. We have almost reached your destination.
I: BTW, my name is Radhika. I'm a blogger, a writer and I'm going to write about you. I'll send you a text when I do, is this your personal number?
Him: Oh, yes. It is! Thank you!
I: Very well then, good luck for your future. I hope you succeed in your venture. Thank you for the ride.
Those were my words as I paid the fare and stepped out of the cab. Thereafter, I joined my family in the shopping spree and we returned home the day after.
This conversation took place more than 10 days ago, but it is as fresh in my mind as if it happened an hour ago. I hope this qualifies for a lasting impression.
His determination was inspiring, almost igniting a fire, a fire to burn away the hesitations and leave behind all that has been keeping me from moving ahead, from growing, from succeeding. He told me he had studied till 10th grade. For all the time he spoke, he was so calm and composed that it was hard to believe that he has been through this hard time. That's another lesson from, to accept what has happened and move on.
A person who is #madeofgreat need not be someone popular. I can talk about a lot of people who have inspired me and are quite popular among their kin, but I chose Subhash because it goes to show that the will of fire isn't restricted to those who show it out. There are several heroes among us about whom we barely know, who do not go outward and show how they have successfully dealt with several situations in life that would leave any normal human heartbroken.
I hope his will ignites that fire in you too. Let me know in the comments, if it did.
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