Shankar has been riding his auto-rickshaw for a few years. He is a proud father – his son is a doctor and studying for his MD degree now. He has also encouraged his son to open a minimal-charge clinic for the benefit of underprivileged people. The life of a rickshaw driver, however, is tough. “The life of an auto-rickshaw driver is never the same. One day we may earn well and on the other days, nothing may come our way!” says Shankar.
Every morning, Shankar first cleans his vehicle and makes sure that it has all the necessary features inside. He is very careful about these things because he is conscious of the people traveling in the vehicle and feels that they deserve to sit in a clean and tidy vehicle. He also makes sure that he dresses well every day! He leaves his home around 9 am daily. For his age, his earnings are around Rs 600 to Rs 700; after deducting gas, food, and other charges, Rs 400 and Rs 300 can be saved for the day. “If auto drivers earn well, then they eat anywhere. People tend to believe that auto drivers eat only street food. Actually, it is like home food for us, and it tastes even better! It helps us lead a better life as it costs less and we can save more.”