Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My English Speaking Rickshawalla

Everyone who knows me well will attest to the fact that I hate taking ricks from the airport as most of the rickshawallas think you are an outsider and try and take you for a ride (pun intended).

So last time when I landed in Ahmedabad from a super late flight, I warily eyed all the queued up rickshaws trying to pick the least shady looking driver. Its then that this older gentleman approached me and politely asked in ENGLISH "Ma'am can I offer you a ride in my Rickshaw. Dont worry I will take you safely".

This question asked in fluent English did not just make my jaw drop but also got me curious enough to hop onto his rickshaw. Once we started heading to my house, I couldn't control myself and had to ask how come he could speak so well in English?

So he started telling me his life story. He had lost his father when he was 16 years old and as the oldest child he was forced to skip school and start earning by being a rickshaw driver.

He did well for himself and got his younger sisters settled and then married a lovely lady who has been his biggest support over the years (I could sense the deep love when he spoke of his wife). He also has a son to whom he wanted to give good education and pushed him to do his engineering in computer science.

In middle of all this he wanted to finish his education but that was not happening for him so once his son started college, he reached out to one of his Neighbours to help him learn English. The gentleman was kind enough and thought him the basics of grammar and how to do word association. So while his son studied in college he spent 4 years learning how to speak English.

Now his son has started working and he wants to give him couple of years to settle in before he can retire. He is 53 right now and his dream is to take his wife abroad for a long vacation as he feels that thanks to his good english, he can now take care of her while traveling.

By the time the story got over we had reached my place. But the journey ended with me getting an open invitation to come to his house for a meal and meet his family.

PS: I think he fleeced me for an extra 100 bucks, but what the hell his English and story were worth it.


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