3rd April, 2019
After a long office day at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan exhibition, I finally headed back to my hotel at 6:30 PM. Metro network had confused me enough, so I decided to hire an autorickshaw.
The very first auto driver I asked to come, stated a fair of ₹150. I felt it too much and bargained. He responded, “सर, अभी तो बहुत ट्रैफिक जाम लगता है उस रोड पर । इससे कम नहीं होगा ।” I refused and walked a bit ahead.
Another auto driver stopped be me. I asked, “भाई साहब, लाजपत नगर जाना है ।” Without any argument or even citing the fair, he nodded and started his vehicle, “आइए, बैठिए सर ।” I asked, “कितने पैसे होगे?”
“आप कितने दोगे?”, He smiled and asked me.I asked him, “तो मीटर से चलोगे?””जी, बिल्कुल ।”, Agreeing almost instantly, he reset his vehicle’s fair counting meter and we started towards my hotel.
The first guy was right. On the entire 6.5 km stretch of road, from Pragati Maidan to my hotel, there was insanely honking and extremely sluggishly moving Delhi traffic. But this gentleman drove his autorickshaw with quite some cool brains and all the driving skills he would have acquired by driving since God-knows-when on these same roads.
Albeit later than expected, I safely arrived at my destination.Even though I could read the meter, I asked him, “भाइ साहब, ज़रा बता दो ना, कितना हुआ ?”He stretched his head to see the meter’s display and quoted exactly the figure displayed in the meter, “64 रुपये 50 पैसे । आप 65 दे दीजिये, बस छुट्टे देना । मेरे पास खुले पैसे नहीं है ।”I handed him a ₹100 note, and said, “आप पूरे रख लो ।”
I told him this because I had seen the way he had driven. Not less than 3 times during that ride, it was his awareness and skill that had saved me from a certain accident. I insisted he keep the change as a tip for his service.
But the fellow left his rickshaw there, went on inquiring for the change of cash to all the stalls nearby, and finally returned ₹35 to me from the ₹100 I gave him.
I now know, how one of the faces of honesty in India looks. His name is Azam Chaudhry, and the registration number of his rickshaw is DL1RW2336. He is a #smilegifter