January 30th, 2016
This story was first uploaded by Vasanthi Hariprakash on her Facebook timeline
“Banni neevu, coffeege,” I told him.
Please come, in Kannada. He first hesitated, then followed me after locking the car, into Shivalli the popular coffee-idli hotel on NH4 from Mysore where I was coming from after a conference. Bangalore still 67 km to go.
With cab drivers, I usually start with ‘Yaav ooru?” to break the ice. The men variably shy to sit at the same table, more so if it is with a single woman. I almost have to insist, trust me “Which place are you from?” is the greatest conversation starter.
So it was with Ganesh too. Davangere dist, 140 km away. He had been driving taxies there too, but business was dull. It was this Mysore company that ‘worked out’ super. 9000 monthly salary, 250 everyday driver bata, as he told me. Both he & I tucking into hot idlis with coconut chutney.
Turned out Ganesh is married, his ‘missus’ is doing her B.E. from JSS college.
“Engineering you making your wife study, Ganesh?” Yes madam, that’s why I stopped my studies. She is brainier than me, he blushed, she.got 90%, stood first in her class.”
And in next few minutes, when coffee for him & me arrived in two glasses, full story emerged. His family had disowned him, because he had married a ‘polio girl’. But Ganesh came away to Mysore, and got her admitted to B.E Computer Science by correspondence after her diploma.
Now she has got a job offer from MNC. I looked at his beaming face, and asked, “You are proud of your wife, aren’t you?”
“Bhaari.”(Verry much). Then, slightly serious, tells me, “I will quit this driver’s job next month madam. After she joins office, she may have different times & shifts. I don’t want her to be alone. It’s okay. I will look for work in some factory.”