March 31st, 2016
“It was a sunny afternoon. As everyone knows how difficult does it get sometimes to convince an auto driver in Delhi to go by meter, I was in a similar state of mind when I approached this auto driver. As soon as I was about to pick up the battle of arguing with him to go by meter, he turned around by himself and switched it on.
A voice came from the front seat, Sure mam. Where do you want to go?
At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I couldn’t resist praising him for being able to speak the language so fluently. He thanked me and said that he had recently started driving this auto. Before that, he worked in the hotel industry, which was probably where he learned to speak English with high fluency.
He was a fairly handsome looking man, wearing a sweatshirt paired along with black corduroy pants. He was tall and partly bald and to say the least, quite well mannered.
He caught my attention and I started probing him about his background. Wow, it must be a very different experience for you to drive an auto all of a sudden?
He laughed a bit.
I spent a good 18 years in the hotel industry and had to finally put a resignation.
How come? Why would you do that?
I wanted to take care of my two year old son at home. Driving an auto is more of an autonomous job. I am my own boss. I can choose when I want to drive. It gives me a lot of time which I can then spend with my son.
Oh so where is your son now?
He is at the crèche. I am going to drive till 5:00 pm and then go pick up my wife from work and then we will go to pick our son. My wife works at the Lalit Hotel. That is where we first met. It was all very rosy in the beginning. It was a love marriage. She hails from South India and I am a Punjabi.
He seemed to smile from what I could see of him in the rear view mirror. Then, he became quiet for a while.
Money is a very important thing, mam. We did not save a lot of money in our initial days after marriage and I regret it today. So, me and my wife decided to figure out a plan wherein both of us can start to work, earn and save but still be able to spend quality time with our son. Now that he is another member in the family. We cannot leave him alone with the aaya, you know.
Hmmm… wow, I said after gaining some insight about him.
You know mam, leaving our son to the aaya was really not the best idea. We hated it from the beginning but we did not know any other way. Instead of my wife leaving her job to take care of our son at home, we decided otherwise. I chose to leave my job and take up this work for the time being. It pays me quite well. I can earn 30 to 40 thousand per month comfortably, that too, at my own discretion.
I remained quiet for some time and then I tried to gather my thoughts. For a moment, it occurred to me that he is merely concocting a story but for another moment, I found even the story to be quite interesting given that it’s a man’s world. Isn’t it? It brought an array of questions to my mind, and here they are:
In a hypothetical situation like that, how many men would be willing to do something like that?
How many men would be willing to leave their job to take up a profession, which will not boost their egos?
How many men would be willing to earn a little bit less in comparison to their wives?
How many men would say, I want to spend quality time with my son even if it requires me to leave my job at the moment?
How many men would demand and fight for a paternity leave system in their office?
Especially when the chosen, primitive and comfortable formula has always been, “I bring the money; you take care of the household chores.”
Hats off to this man. Thank you for breaking a stereotype around gender, even if it is in your own personal space.”
Submitted By – Priyanka Verma
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