Bhaiya, apna number dijiye, mein aap ko sham ko call karungi (brother, give me your number, I’ll call you in evening).

An auto driver who earns his bread and butter from people like us, seeing him ready to sacrifice RS 70 was a shock for me.

Yesterday, I picked an auto-rickshaw for a destination. I got confused about the location I had to reach and so did the auto driver. Google map was less of help for me, as always.

We, kind of wandered for 10+ minutes and seeing the driver of 50 something, calm even with all this was a relief to me as I have seen most of the auto drivers get irritated when such situation arises.

In between those 10/15 minutes, the driver was even stopping and asking people if they knew the way to the place. I told him, sorry bhaiya, confusion ho gya (sorry brother, I got confused).

He responded, koi baat nahi (it’s okay).

My resentment toward getting delayed to the destination increased when I found I had no cash in my purse. I asked him if he receives online payment, to which he told he doesn’t know mobile and internet thing. I asked him to stop wherever he sees ATM booth.

We finally spotted the destination and there was an ATM place near to it. I withdrew some cash and forwarded him RS 500. He told, he doesn’t have change even of RS 100. For him, RS 500 was a big amount.

I could see not a single shop around and whatever was happening was just wasting my time. I told him, bhaiya, apna number dijiye, mein aap ko sham ko call karungi (brother, give me your number, I’ll call you in evening).

Rehne dijiye, madam, 50 rupiye k liye kya call karna (leave it, madam, it’s just 50 rupees, no need to call). This was his reply and I was shocked.

It was not 50, in my calculation, it was more than 70 rupees and even a clever auto driver could demand RS 100 for those 20 minutes of wandering.

I uttered, bhaiya, this is how you earn with your hard work, just give me number and I will call you after my office.

He gently smiled and forwarded a piece of paper which had his cell phone number. While I was saving his number, he said, madam, wo paper wapis dijiyega (madam, give me the paper back).

I found my day was accomplished in its start because I had met a person who just made me realize greatness lies in integrity, not in the designation and social status.

This world is still a better place to live with people like Deepak Soni.