Life Beyond Navigation – 3 Lessons From The Life Of A Cab Driver

– Continued from https://pramskite.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/life-beyond-the-navigator/

This guy whom I met, connected with me beyond the fact that he was just a random cab driver. He spoke to me about life, god and shared some of his experiences which made me remember him for a long time.I learnt 3 important lessons from his story.

1.You Invite DARKNESS into your life when you DRINK and DRIVE

Mr.Chandru had was driving a truck before and also was earning quite well, however he was spending most of his hard earned money to have a lifestyle which thought him a lesson. He was driving a bullet ( which I felt was awesome) and partied every day extensively.One day, while he was riding back home on his bullet after a late night party with his friends, fell in a ditch and woke up after hours just to notice that he was in a pool of blood and his leg was in a very bad condition. He was rushed to a hospital, he was partially conscious. There was a major injury to his leg due to the bone crack below the knee of his left leg which left him bed ridden for a very long time. Mr.Chandru feels that this was a lesson to him and all people who know about him (now its Me and You as well), the lesson is “You Invite DARKNESS into your life when you drink and drive”.

2. Issues with Your HEALTH Creates WEALTH to people, Be Choosy on Whom YOU Will Make Rich!

After the injury, one of his relatives advised and took him to a village where a local village medical practitioner (Doctor by words and not by certificate) and this guy promised him that it will be alright soon, applied some of his custom made medicine and tied a cloth. Mr.Chandru and his wife were hoping that he will get well soon. However, the pain increased and after 2 months they visited a real doctor (A certified one) and he removes the bandage and examines that the infection had doubled and also could notice worm buildup on the wounded part due to unhygienic treatment by the Non-Certified doctor.The doctor had even more bad news for the couple that his leg might have to be amputated because of the infection. Mr.Chandru was devastated by this news, this was unbelievable to his Mrs.Chandru, their dreams were shattered.

3. RELATIONSHIPS are the driving forces on the Road To SUCCESS!

Mr.Chandru was clueless and was scared that his leg might get amputated, but had a strong determination to live his life to the fullest and believed in good and god. He, along with his wife, family and friends prayed intensely for him. Finally, their prayers worked and Mr.Chandru’s leg was cured after an year.

Though his leg was cured, now he had new challenges to face since he did not even earn a single rupee for one long year since he was bed ridden. He had to start a new financial life all over again and joined as a cab driver for one of the cabs owned by his distant relative and started earning money, however he had to face insults there and had to quit the job. Mr.Chandru was going through a very nasty situation where he was blamed by the society for getting himself in the situation he was in and on the other hand he had his responsibilities to take care. At this moment, one of his friends shouldered him and helped him to find ways to get on track with his life, got him a few important contacts who could motivate and help him to get some loan for a new cab, he brought a new cab and started his cab service with he himself being the driver. Mr. Chandru says he had the urge to prove his worth to himself, people who care for him and also to the society, he devoted himself towards his work and cleared all the loans on his cab in a very short period.

Mr. Chandru extends great deal of gratitude towards his friend who helped him when he was broke and specially his wife who was strong, determined and took care of him and his family when he was completely bed ridden for an year. He has cleared all his debts, has brought an Innova cab so that his family can completely fit in (he is gifted with 3 sons), and is leading a proud and happy life. Mr.Chandru reemphasizes that he is what he is today because of his wife who took care of him and his friend who cared for him. I was so thrilled to see that Mr.Chandru repeatedly said his wife is great and he is so lucky to have her in his life. By the way, his wife also runs a small business at home which is helping them be financially more secure and successful. This story of Mr.Chandru proves that “RELATIONSHIPS are the driving forces on the Road To SUCCESS!”

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I recently read a quote which stated “Every human being in this world has a story to tell and a lesson to teach!”. I think this story of Mr.Chandru and the 3 above lessons that he teaches us from his story is a great learning.

-Pramodh

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Life Beyond The Navigator

11 ‘O clock in the night, said good night to my colleagues who were with me for the office get together party at the Brigade road, Bangalore and I started walking towards the bus stop hoping to get a bus to Electronic city. It had rained that evening and the breeze carried the freshness of the first rains, I walked to the bus stop admiring the breeze at every step with a big smile on my face. As I enjoyed my walk I arrived at the bus stop in no time and saw many people waiting for the bus. I sat at the bus stop looking towards my right hoping to see a G3 bus which takes me home. I saw a couple of buses but they were not the ones which I was looking for. I stopped worrying about the bus and started looking at the people around, I saw a group of teenage boys having their fun time while they waited for the bus which reminded me of my college days and my fun time at college. I saw a lady with her daughter who seemed like a middle-class house wife speaking to the auto rickshaw drivers wherein every auto driver asked for 1.5 times the meter which the lady refused and moved to the next auto rickshaw. It was a tough luck for the lady since all the auto rickshaw drivers offered her the same deal of 1.5 times the meter which the lady did not want to pay. She finally gave up and sat towards my left in the bus stop with her daughter waiting for the bus. I felt pity for the lady and was angry at the auto rickshaw drivers. The boys at my right were making fun of whatever they see on the road and the lady at my left is looking worried since there was no bus from a long time and the auto rickshaw drivers were ruthless in their pricing, finally the lady gave up and decided to pay 1.5 times the meter and left with her daughter. The boys at my right hand side were making a lot of noise and were trying to mock a man who was weirdly clapping on the road while he walked, I felt a little uncomfortable to stay close to them, and I got up and moved towards my left making sure that I keep distance from them. While I was irritated with the behavior of the boys suddenly a person with a red t-shirt walked towards me and asked if we can get a bus at this time, I told him I am hoping for the same but the next moment I felt I need make an alternative arrangement to reach home.

I picked up my phone and clicked on the OLA cabs mobile app, it loaded the navigator which showed the entire world and then zoomed in to the Brigade road bus stop where I was sitting. I clicked on ride now and I see that only auto rickshaws were available to book which I was not interested since I was irritated with all the auto drivers standing there for the attitude they showed when the lady approached them to get a drop. While I was refreshing the OLA app, even the auto rickshaws were not available and I could only see a prime cab available. I was hesitant to book a prime cab since it is obviously costly but somewhere deep inside my heart I felt I need to enjoy the prime ride too and there are no other cabs available. I just followed my heart and booked the prime cab and I got a confirmation that an Innova is booked for me and the driver’s photo and phone number popped up following with his call to confirm my location, I asked him to come to Iris hotel. I was tracking the cab through the navigator and I walked towards the Iris hotel which was at round 100 mts from the bus stop while the auto rickshaw guys on the way started offering rides which I refused in their own attitude and stood in front of hotel Iris. The moment I stood there my cab arrived and I was flabbergasted to see an Innova coming to pick me up and I happily got inside, set the seat to my comfort and laid back.

Well, this was the first time I boarded an Innova, I was looking at its interiors and I was quite impressed. There was an LCD screen at the center of the dash board which caught my eyes since it was displaying the image of Lord Venkateshwara, Thirupati and I asked the driver “do you visit Thirupati frequently?” and he said with a low tone of voice, “No, not that often. I visit only when I have a trip booked by clients”. I was a bit surprised by his answer because both his phone and his music player was displaying the majestic image of Lord Venky, but he seemed like he is not interested to visit Thirupati. Whilemy mind was wondering about this, the driver suddenly said “I had a couple of wishes which were not fulfilled even after going to Thirupati, so I do not go there as often as I used to go. I am a sincere devotee of Shiradi Sai Baba now and my life has been fantastic after I started offering prayers to Shiradi Sai Baba”.  From his words I could just infer that most of the people worship god only to get their wishes fulfilled. The god will be changed or retained to be prayed depending upon his/her performance in fulfilling man’s wishes. I thought Lord Venky has the highest retention rate but for the first time I saw someone who was a little negative. Nevertheless I had a divine experience when I visited Tirumala which I explained it to him and he soon showed Lord Venky’s real photograph (Tirumala idol) which was the wallpaper on his smartphone.

DSC_0041[1]You should have guessed by now, me and the cab driver were getting along well with the conversation and suddenly he said “I was completely broke in my life, I was a zero and today I have bounced back to this level of owning an Innova which is helping me to lead a respectable life with my wife and three children”. Suddenly his phone rang and he started speaking to one of his customer’s on his Bluetooth headset.

While the cab driver was talking to his customer he was assuring the party on the other side that he shall arrange a cab for a long distance trip next day and also mentioned that he is driving now and shall call back after 30 minutes. He assured the customer on phone again by telling not to worry and he shall take care of arranging the cab for the next day and he disconnected the call.

I was observing the way he was speaking to his customer and I liked the kindness and professional behavior compared to the auto rickshaw drivers who seemed so negative while they rejected to come to a particular place or offer an unfair price. I had a sense of relief since I felt I am paying the right person though I may pay a little extra, I liked the comfort of the vehicle and the professional behavior of the driver made it even more better.

Soon the driver finished the conversation on phone, he got back to our conversation and he said “I was broke big time in my life, I used to party hard and once I met with a major accident which changed my life”.

The story around his accident and his determination to be successful struck a chord in my mind and I am sure that you will be astounded too.

Continued here – https://pramskite.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/life-beyond-navigation-3-lessons-from-the-life-of-a-cab-driver/

Keep It Positive

LET THE RIPPLES ROPE YOUR NECK

LET THE DARKNESS FORCE YOU TO DIE

LET THE SITUATIONS FORCE YOU TO CRY

LET THE BARRICADES BURY YOUR BRIGHTNESS

 THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY TO PULL OUT THE ADVERSITIES

THE ONE WHO FEARS LESS FEELS THE FINE TUNE OF SUCCESS 

 

-Pramodh

A Blind Man’s Vision-Part 2

—— Continued from  https://pramskite.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/a-blind-mans-vision/

As I was looking around while Mr.Lokesh went in to get a chair I found a old PC which reminded me of my high school computer lab. Mr.Lokesh got a plastic chair.  My chair was facing towards the door and his chair was facing the computer, I thought Mr.Lokesh was confused. However, I realised that I was confused when he opened the cupboard of his computer table and took out an album. This album had photographs of the inauguration of his organization. I could see the pride on his face while he was showing me those pictures. I had a look at all the pictures and Mr.Lokesh waited for me to complete patiently. This moment of my life where I was shown pictures by a person who cannot see was flabbergast.

Our discussion continued, I asked him a few more questions to know more on how does he work and maintain his organization. Mr.Lokesh visits other organizations and distributes pamphlets of his organization and tries raising funds. He told me that a few corporate employees will be very generous that they help him with good amount of money, a few ask for a receipt and a few do not bother. Mr.Lokesh seemed to be okay with all kinds of people. While discussing with me Mr.Lokesh used a couple of English sentences. I was curious to know how he would speak English, I started conversing in English and his English was better than any other BA graduate in our state I have ever seen. He can speak and understand Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English, he can read and write in Kannada and English.

And yeah, I also took his photograph before climbing the stairs of his house.

Mr.Lokesh's Photograph

Mr.Lokesh

Mr.Lokesh knows about all the opportunities that a visually challenged person can have in our country and he is helping many of them find their paths in life. In the same way the people in his hostel are finding their paths with his help. It was around 6’o clock in the evening and all the visually challenged folks in the hostel were still at work and none hadn’t returned as yet. I wanted to know if Mr.Lokesh worked somewhere before, it was interesting to know that he was working at a garments factory before on someone’s recommendation. His job was to count the buttons of shirts and trousers. He was happy doing it, however once he got to know that his job was of no good for the company and he was given the broken buttons to count. He was depressed that he was just given a job just for the sake and his job was of no importance to the company. Mr.Lokesh wanted to do something which will be helpful and important for his company; he said he always wanted to do justice for the money he takes. He also indirectly got to know that he wouldn’t have any better opportunity at the garments factory and they might just continue to have him as an employee just for the sake. Hence he decided to quit that job and started his own organization to help visually challenged people in getting the skills to be employed. Mr.Lokesh was also clear in his goals, he mentioned his goal is to construct a building for the hostel and have good amount of monthly income to run his hostel with more people and facilities.

I understood that Mr.Lokesh is getting help and also he needs a lot more help. Pointing at the old computer he had at his home Mr.Lokesh said it was donated by someone and that PC do not have audio drivers to install the software which reads the text on screen. He requested me to ask my friends if anyone has old unused PC’s and if so, donate it to his firm to arrange for computer classes for his hostel folks. He said there are many people ready to teach but there are no computers. Mr. Lokesh said he has to arrange for around 15 to 20 Kg’s of rice every month. Also, he has to bear the costs of vegetables and the salary for the cook. It was difficult for me to imagine how could he maintain all these with just raising funds. I asked him to plan some strategy to generate more income, he rather told me to give a working idea so that he shall surely implement it. I told him I will get back if I get an idea as its very easy to advice and he was very practical person.

I had nothing else to speak, I decided to get back home and said thank you for his time. He said he is very happy that I went till his hostel and was interested to know about him. I informed him that I would write an article for my blog about him and he was happy about that. While I was about to leave he reminded me again to ask my friends if they have old unused PC’s to donate, I said I will surely try. Mr.Lokesh finally said, he requires more of moral support than financial support. This last sentence said by Mr.Lokesh was buzzing around my mind for a long time. I walked back to the bus stop alone while it was still drizzling and reached home.

And yeah, his firm has a website. If you are interested to know more and interact, here is the link www.darideepa.wordpress.com

A special thanks to Mr.Lokesh for being my inspiration, I am sure he has inspired all the readers of this article as well.

 

-Pram’s Kite

A Blind Man’s Vision-Part 1

It was a rainy Bangalore evening! I was reading a book on a great Indian poet Tenali Raman while I was travelling in the air conditioned (blowing) Bangalore city bus listening to the FM radio played in the bus. The book was pretty awesome with strategies filled with humor . I was nearing my destination, hence packed my book and walked towards the door to get down in the next stop; I stood near the door waiting for it to open. Someone held my hand suddenly and I gave an uncomfortable look towards that person and then I noticed that he cannot look at me. Yes, he was a visually challenged person. He did not simply hold my hand; he said “Sir, did you feel bad that you had to hold a blind man’s hand”. I was a bit embarrassed; however I knew that it’s my responsibility to help him in getting down. I told him not to worry that I might feel bad and we got down from the bus and reached the bus stop while it was drizzling. We stood in the bus stop and I started conversing with him, his name is Mr.Lokesh. He was very confident, well groomed and had a fine tone of voice which could attract any listeners.

I had a few questions running in my mind from long time on how do these visually challenged people challenge the challenging situations of life and I thought this is a great opportunity for me to spend some time with him and know about him. Fortunately, we were heading towards the same destination and had to catch another bus. However, I stared asking him questions while waiting for the bus. I asked about his profession, I was shocked to know that he was an entrepreneur. He said he has founded a firm called “Darideepa” and he is the managing trustee for that firm. He is working on providing basic needs to the visually challenged people through this firm. I was very excited and wanted to know more about him, the bus stop became crowded due to the rain and people around were also getting interested on our conversation as Mr. Lokesh was explaining about his organization. A great deal of passion and commitment were evident in his tone and hand gestures while he was speaking. I saw the arrival of the bus I was waiting for, it was still drizzling and somehow me and Mr.Lokesh managed to get into the bus.

Mr.Lokesh stays 4 kms away from my place, I purchased a ticked to his place and he had a bus pass. We continued our conversation, I was very interested to know about his childhood and education, on asking him about this Mr.Lokesh said he is visually challenged from birth, he has not seen this world as we do and he has his own patterns of this world. He has studied in the braille school and he is a BA graduate. I asked him about braille and he told a story on how braille was invented and its history. He was an amazing story teller; I noticed that everyone around us in the bus were listening to our conversation. I wanted to know if he had any situations in his life where he felt depressed about his visual challenge and how did he get along with those kind of situations .We had enough conversation till now which made me comfortable asking him about this. He explained he was very depressed at times but now he has adapted to this adversity that god has given and he no longer feels bad. As we continued our conversation, Mr.Lokesh talked about the activities of his organization, he is currently providing food and shelter for 12 visually challenged people, he has hired a 2 BHK house for this and also appointed a cook. He has dreams of growing this organization to greater heights and serving more people.

We reached the destination, got down from the bus and I decided to walk with him till his house, he stays with those 12 visually challenged people whom he has provided shelter. As soon as we got down he asked me to take the service road and take a right. We walked for two minutes; he said we gotta take a left turn here. We continued to walk; this was a bit congested area with small roads sandwiched within big buildings. He suddenly said there is a speed breaker here, and there was a speed breaker just a couple of steps ahead.  He gave me clear cut directions to reach his home. I had a question poking in my mind! Who is helping whom here? He mentioned that he will remember the places and routes soon after visiting ones! We reached the destination and Mr.Lokesh’s home-cum-hostel was at a first floor in a small apartment. I thought of going back, however Mr.Lokesh forced me in. There was a small tunnel between two houses. He held my hand and took me through the tunnel and a sudden turn by Mr. Lokesh showed me steps for the first floor where he lived. I went in , he introduced me to a semi visually challenged person who had recently joined his hostel. I sat on a chair and Mr.Lokesh walked into one of the rooms to get a chair for himself. I was looking around and my mind was telling me “You have become a journalist” :-D

A great deal of determination has given Mr.Lokesh the courage and confidence to sail in this ocean of uncertainties and adversities. I found him happier and focused unlike any other normal person.

Continued in . . .
https://pramskite.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/a-blind-mans-vision-part-2/

Adapting to Adversity-1

I got into a bus , got a window seat and felt I would have a great journey with music and sceneries outside window, I plugged my ear phones in and started with a tune of  Yanni . But,  I suddenly heard a song in the bus, that was live and i could see that a visually challenged person is singing with a small musical instrument in his hand. I pulled out my headset and watched him sing. He had an expression of enjoyment on his face, he seemed engrossed into his song and his hand was busy collecting coins. He was not scared that the bus would move, the conductor was signalling the driver to move on, but the song did not have any pauses or breaks or did he show any anxiety or fear that the bus might move. May be he is used to this bus,  but still, he is visually challenged and people who are one hundred percent fine in their health get scared. He stopped singing only after completing the last row of the bus and then got down when the bus almost left. He had no one with him. It dint seem like he is begging, he sang and he is enjoying his song. Also a few people including me did enjoy that song. I was blown away with the way he was earning his bread and butter; he was no less than any musician or an artist. That was a live show and you pay only if you feel like paying, his hands just passed over the seats and did not demand anything. Live music at your ears and you pay only if you feel like paying.

I saw people cribbing and also a few people paying him. People who crib had a lot of problems with him. They felt that he is very used to this, he knows the driver and conductor very well and they too get a share. They also feel that he should probably do some job rather than begging and also they doubted that he might not be blind. The way I look at it, he is an entrepreneur; he is earning his bread on his own. He is not demanding money, he has trained himself very well to handle his music and his movement in bus to be perfect and independent.  One hand is busy with the musical instrument, the other one is busy collecting money. He knows the architecture of the bus so well that he is not even missing a step and he cannot see. Wow, how well we know our working locations!

Well, I felt very embarrassed on how should I react. Should I feel pity or should I feel proud of him. He has an open challenge from god of not able to visualize the real world in his eyes and he has accepted it and moving forward. There are a lot of people who collect money in the name of god and misuse it, people pay them. This person is performing despite of his visual imparity to get his money without giving any false hopes. Why not encourage him and treat him normally?  Do not look at him as a beggar, no he is not. He is doing a lot of work to ask money, a normal man cannot balance himself and sing in a bus with an instrument and also sing so loud which will be audible to all, it is our responsibility to acknowledge that before we pay him or decide not convincing ourselves that we do not have change.

-TO BE CONTINUED