It was July and the night was stormy. I had been immensely delayed in office and by the time I could wind up my work, it was nearly 10:30 PM. I did not want to wait for the office cab, which would take another half an hour to pick me up. I saw a lone cycle-rickshaw man. I walked up to him and told him my destination. He agreed to take me to my home.
It was getting cold and the rickshaw man was in a chatty mood. He mentioned something about working so late. I passed on a discouraging, “Its work, sometimes!” comment.
He said, “I know about these big companies and the bosses (malik). They are blood-suckers!””Hmm.” I was least interested in conversation. “I was the personal driver for a factory owner. It was a 24 by 7 job with no schedule for eating, sleeping or reaching home on time. I was always at his beck and call. My youngest child wouldn’t recognize me, and my wife remained unhappy.”
“So, how come you are now riding a rickshaw?” He had got me interested.
“I made a choice. I saved money and bought a rickshaw and now I am the master of my time and money.”
“But you must be earning less than what you used to?”
“Yes, it’s nearly half the salary as a car-driver, but now I am happy and not physically and mentally stressed out. My wife and kids are happy. Some day I will save enough to buy a taxi and become a driver again!” His said in dreamy tones.
As I walked up the steps of my house, I was thinking about work stress, career aspirations … and my official tasks for the next day.