Alankrita Khera recently met a cab driver in Delhi who spoke to her about his journey. His touching life story and spirit to keep moving forward in the face of many hurdles are inspiring.
On a recent work trip to Delhi, I met Mukesh – a typical chatty cabby who picked me up from Green Park Extension. As soon as I was in the cab, he smiled at me and said -“You actually tracked my cab on the app to make sure I wasn’t getting lost. No one does that!”
As we embarked on what was to become an hour long journey, he started talking about his life. Mukesh told me he belongs to Chandigarh and is an engineer by education. He was all set to get married at the age of 22. But suddenly, his and his fiancé’s families had a disagreement and they called off the wedding.
The girl tried to commit suicide because she was afraid of how society would treat her after this incident. This was when Mukesh decided to go against his parents’ will and fulfil his duty.
They ran away and got married, only to come back when they had a son. “She was my partner from the day I agreed to marry her. I had decided to stand by her no matter what. Life was good. I started a CCTV business – travelled to China so many times that I had to renew my passport multiple times. We went from living in shambles to buying a home that had more TVs than there were family members,” he said.
When his wife’s mother fell ill and no one in the family was ready to take responsibility fearing that she would become a financial burden on them, Mukesh brought her in. She stays with the family till date.
His wife currently works in Dubai – “She wanted to do more with her life so I pushed her to pursue her love for fashion designing. She got a job designing burqas in Dubai – who am I to stop her from fulfilling her dreams? She is coming back for Karva Chauth soon though!” he added with a smile.
Trouble soon came knocking though – “I suffered huge losses and now I’m on the streets. I am driving this cab because I wanted to do something respectful with my life. I went from having a driver to being one — but it is okay. Good times will come again. Nobody except my wife knows about this. I wouldn’t want to worry my kids.”
Throughout this exchange, Mukesh kept a careful eye on the road and also ensured that I had locked the car door properly. “Delhi isn’t safe – no precaution is enough,” he said. He dropped me off at the doorstep of my guest house and insisted on waiting till I had gone inside. He also gave me a call once I was in. “I felt that the caretakers are drunk. You’re a single lady and this may not be the best place – please feel free to call me if you sense any hint of trouble. I stay nearby,” he said.
– Alankrita Khera