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An Appointment With A Taxi Driver: The Story Of Shyam

Posted on October 15, 2011 in Society

By Vaibhav Kathuria:

There are so many people in the country who Lack the bare minimum amount of resources to even survive. Often, these people are neglected. Shyam is a taxi driver at the taxi stand near my place. He has been there for about 5 years now. He has come from Nepal to India. He often narrates the story about his childhood in Nepal, where he was born and brought up in the hills where his father was a farmer. But in the midst of his happiness , one can also see grief and sorrow. Shyam’s father passed away at an early age. He followed his brother to come to India, crossing the Indian border with not a penny in hand. But somehow his brother managed to get him trained as a driver.

Thus, Shyam started driving trucks for carrying goods. Knowing his situation well, his employer did not give Shyam enough money to even spare for two proper meals. Thus, Shyam planned to go to the Delhi in search of work. He tells me that when he came to Delhi, he had severe shortage of money and had to sleep on the streets. But , then luckily one of his friends recommended him as a driver at the same place his friend worked and thus, Shyam found the right place to work. They paid him a decent salary and even gave him a small room to live in, at their backyard.

Its been 10 years since Shyam came to Delhi, and the other day I saw Shyam lending 2000 rupees to a needy friend of his. I was curious to know what Shyam’s salary is, so I asked him. He told me he earned Rs. 6500 a month, so out of further curiosity I asked him why he lent one third of his salary to his friend, to which he replied that he has not forgotten the time when he had Rs. 10 in his pocket and one of his friends had helped him earn a living. This feeling of his touched me. Shyam has a wife and a child whom he sends to a government school as he does not want his child to face the hardships he did. Shyam s wife is a cook and both husband and wife somehow manage to make two ends meet. They have to pay the house rent and school fees. Shyam often complains about the rising inflation and how it continuously affects him. He wants his son to complete school, but sometimes wonders if he would be able to pay the school fees and the fees for books for the many years to come.

But it is his will that has seen him through thick and thin and hopefully, he will continue to grow. There are many Shyams in the country who are on streets, the government and us need to give them opportunities to rise above the poverty line. Are you willing to be the change in their lives?

Shyam is one of those millions of taxi drivers who struggle to find a space for themselves in the societal norms that denounce them because of their profession, social status and financial backrgound. Youth Ki Awaaz has taken a stand to present voices of these unheard people. Do drop in your views below. Check out more unheard stories here.