Disclaimer: None of the views or opinions in this post are mine.
The day before yesterday, my second eldest cousin sister on my maternal side of the family gave birth to a baby boy. As Indian social norms go, we, that is my mother and I went to see the mother and baby yesterday.
But, because our driver had gone incognito and I do not have my license yet, we asked an auto driver to take us to their place. The said auto driver was someone known to my mother’s family since a long time. Maybe even 30 years or more.
A Chennai auto driver is almost what a New York taxi driver is.
So, the conversation my mother had with him went like this,
Mum (M): It has been ages now. How is your family?
Auto driver (AD): They are all good. My children are well settled, and they look after me very well. I rarely go on trips now. Just a few regular customers.
M: Settled? What are they doing now?
AD: My eldest son is working at a small bank, he’s earning well. My second son, ah, he’s really done well in life. He has a job in an IT firm, he earns a lot. Both of my sons are married. The eldest has a son and a daughter and the second son’s wife is pregnant.
M: How about your daughter?
AD: Ah! She’s good too. She has a son now. She quit working after her son was born. I support her decision and I think it is great. I’m telling my daughter-in-law to do the same thing. My son is earning well, why does she need to work now?
Me: Maybe because she likes working? Or that she likes having a great career?
AD: No. See, she can start working once her kid starts going to school. It will be very difficult to take care of the kid and work as well. A woman’s priority has to be her kids. It will be difficult for the kids too, not having enough of their mother’s attention.
M: So, we have moved back here and honestly, I find it very difficult to adjust. It has been more than 20 years since I left this country.
AD: Indeed! You were living in Dubai, right?
M: Yes, for a little time. Then, in Riyadh, somewhere close by.
AD: Oh? This Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and all are near to Riyadh?
M: Yes. Somewhat near. But, they are different countries.
AD: I know why you find it hard to adjust here, then. My second son was working in Dubai for some time. He took my wife and me for a tour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Very nice places they are. Even though it is hot, there are air-conditioners everywhere, very clean surroundings, friendly people, and everything available nearby.
M: Yes, yes. My niece, the one who gave birth to the baby boy yesterday, she lives in Singapore with her husband. That is a nice place too.
AD: Her husband has a job there? That is nice. He is from another religion, right?
M: Yes, he’s a Muslim.
AD: A Hindu girl married a Muslim boy? That’s scandalous! At least if it was a Christian, that’s way better than a Muslim. Now, what will they name this baby? Will he be a Muslim or a Hindu? It is a good thing that this girl’s sister got married before her. Because she wasn’t, no one would have wanted to marry her sister either.
I’m glad that my children don’t believe in all this love-pove nonsense.
Me: So, now that your children are well settled, how long will you work?
AD: As long as I can. I spent a lot on my children’s education and marriages. I don’t really have much for my wife and myself.
Me: Do you regret that?
AD: Spending on my children? No. Absolutely not! I’m happy that at least they are able to lead a better life than me. Driving auto and all.
Me: Do you enjoy your work?
AD: No. Not really. But, this is all I know to do. I am a loner in the auto-driver circle, I don’t really like them, especially these young men who are so rude, vulgar and uncultured. I am really glad that my sons work in offices and drive cars instead of autos.
AD: Yes. Both my sons bought their own cars in the past year. My daughter’s husband has a car too. They drive to their offices.
Mum: Can you drive a car?
AD: No. I don’t know to. Never got around to it. I am scared of driving a car. I don’t know why, but after all these years of driving an auto, a car scares me. *laughs*
P.S. This is a first attempt at some kind of an interview. Do excuse if any mistakes are found. I’m an amateur. I’ll definitely love suggestions or comments on how to make it better! 🙂