“Autowala”

Hello father,

I hope you’re living fine, and mother is still cooking and not bedridden with spondylitis or arthritis. See I’m able to pronounce and write such big names. At some point of time, these were the names of monsters in greek mythology to me.
It has been about 12 years that we haven’t spoken to each other. I have spent 12 years without you both. I have spent 12 Durga Pujas without you and maa. I have never gone out without you for pandalhopping after that. I still remember the evening you had mocked me asking me to get out and I still remember maa was sobbing. It didn’t matter much to me then, father. I had never realised I would end up being an educated fool.
Not everyone understands the problems faced by people like us; our section in the society. No financial stability, only one breadearner, no business mentality, because, they fear they might lose everything. They want to be employed. They want to be the employees and not the employer. With a monthly income of 40-60 thousand Rupees, it becomes difficult to spend the last 10 days of every month. And they want to be educated, in fact, highly educated, but they end up being satisfied with this 40 thousand rupees income.
A friend of mine, Xavier, plays brilliant football. But his family can’t afford the expenses. They want him to study. They are ready to spend on education but not on sports. Guys like us dream big. They do, I swear. But, at the end, they earn the same 40 thousand rupees. At the end of every month, refilling the phone account with 120 rupees full talktime and 1GB 2G data becomes tough in this world of 4G. Many suggested to leave the country, but where is the money? I have studied about the vicious circle of poverty, where rich grow richer and poor become poorer, and eventually die the worst of death.
I had a dream of having money, not lots of it, but enough to feed a family of four, and dress decently forever; not branded, but sober. I had a dream about sleeping with no tension like a baby does in his mother’s lap. I had a dream about having a small family far away from this chaos. I had a dream about being content with what life would fetch me. I always  dreamt about that day when you both would say, “No, our son is not barren, he has something which makes him unique”. I have always dreamt about you both feeling proud of your son. I had a dream of being a good husband, and a great dad, indulgent to some extent. I have always had a dream about that day when I will not wake up, but still my family will have enough of everything that they will ever need after me.
And here I am, rocking “like a hurricane”, and writing this regretful letter to you. I somehow managed to earn a degree. I have sold all my medals and certificates of everything to the government, and they have provided me with a particular amount of money for all that; their new policy. I have bought myself an auto-rickshaw and I earn about 20 thousand a month. You might see me someday if you ever come to Gariahat.

With Love,
Autowala

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