Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

130. His Daughter’s Dream

“Do you know what I had when I came to Delhi?” he asked me with a proud smile.

Now I knew and he knew that the question was meaningless. Not because the question was not important; but only because I had met this young man just about 10 minutes ago.

I always feel that there is some kind of spark in working people, in poor people that connects me with them in an instant. The person I am referring to was a Taxi Driver – a clan; I have lot of interactions with and learning from.

When I came to Delhi, I was advised to take MERU cabs – a well known Taxi service. It is little costly – but safe, clean and always on time. I have interacted with many MERU cab drivers in the last eight months and have always enjoyed the interaction. Today was no exception.

After initial dialogue about Delhi traffic, MERU working, customer behavior, driver behavior etc. we entered into more personal kind of information sharing – rather he entered into it with the above question.

“No, I do not know. What was it?” I asked.

“I came to Delhi with just a Zola (a small cotton bag) - that is all. I had no education; I had never been to a big city….. and see now for the last 15 years I am driving a Taxi in Delhi”, he added with the same pride. I can understand him. Coming from a small village, I know what it is to be in a Megacity. I know what challenges it poses and I know how one feels disconnected sometimes.

This man, Jai Inder; in his late 30s was born and brought up in Banka district (earlier Bhagalpur district which is now divided into two districts) in Bihar. At the age of 17 or 18, he came to Delhi in search of livelihood. He worked here and there and saw a great opportunity in driving profession. Then he purchased a taxi (kali –peeli – black and yellow colored cab used for public transport) and drove it for years. It was only recently he joined services of MERU and he was enjoying his new work. He does not at all know English but can make out generally whatever text messages he gets on his "GPR"System installed in the cab.

I had been to Banka district a number of times; so I could talk to him about the places, the people, the environment, the hopes etc. He was thrilled to meet a woman who had been to ‘his’ area. (This is one of the advantages of my profession that I have visited places where city people hardly go!!) Then he started talking about his family. He has a 10 year son and a 7 year daughter. When asked about them, he told me that they are studying in a good school in his village. He added, “I have decided to provide best education to my children. Madam, like you are sitting and I am driving, I dream that when my children grow up they would be sitting like you and someone else would be driving their car….”

I was touched by his dream. I was touched by his passion. I was touched by his hopes. I was amazed by his simplicity. I could see a poor, illiterate (or just functionally literate) man, staying away from his family, working hard... so that his children have a better tomorrow. I wish his children know this and remember this when they grow.

“But what does your son want to become?” I asked.

“Oh, he wants to be an Engineer. He studies hard and gets good marks.” Again a proud father emerged.

“And what does your daughter want to become?” I asked. I was ready for an answer: teacher or a doctor or a pilot or a computer operator – that is what most of the girls say.

Jai Inder looked at me. Then he asked me very seriously, “Won’t you laugh if I tell you what she says?”

I was astonished by his question. “Oh, certainly not. Life has number of possibilities – so even if your daughter is dreaming something impossible – who knows, it would happen!” I encouraged him.

“Well, she actually wants to become a Railway Minister!” he said sheepishly.

I was taken aback by the innovativeness of his daughter’s dream. I have interacted with thousands of girls and this was the first time I have come across a girl and just a 7 year young wanting to be a Rail Minister.

“Who knows? She might become a Rail Minister one day….. “I said honestly and was glad to be able to feel and say this.

The father was very happy. He even narrated me a childhood story of Dr. Man Mohan Singh (whether true or not true I cannot say). The story goes like this: Man Mohan Sing’s father sold vegetable in the market. One day he had some other matters to attend and he asked his young son to manage the stall for few hours. Young Man Mohan declined. His father became angry and asked, “If you don’t want to sit in this chair, are you going to sit in Prime Minister’s Chair?” On which young Man Mohan replied, “Yes, I am going to be Prime Minister of India.”

It was one of the rare occasions when I did not argue about the story. I mean there are such stories about all people who became successful later in life – it is trend to rediscover and exaggerate their greatness from (and in) their childhood. But today I realized that such stories (whether true or not true) have a bigger role to motivate those who are not in a good condition, who are poor, who have the capacity to dream but no means to achieve those dreams.

I cannot say whether His Daughter’s Dream would become a reality. Maybe, when she grows, she would want to become something else. What I appreciate that a 7 year girl can think so differently and her father loves her so much that he wishes the dream to come true – he strives in that direction – giving her best of the education is first step according to him.

Girls now dream differently. Bihar expresses itself differently. Poor have the tenacity to strive for their dreams - differently. India is shaping differently.

Daughter’s Dream can certainly make the difference.


  1. A novel dream for a 7 year old!! Pretty impressive!!
    Amen to his daughter's dream and happiness! :)

  2. brilliant!!

    heart beats of india!!

  3. Very touching.So many people with similar stories(working away from home for family).

    And a different kind of ambition the girl has....wish their dreams come true.:) :)

  4. Thanks Shilpa, JP, Deepakbhai and Anu :-)


  6. I was totally expecting something along the likes of 'mein Mdhuri Dixit banna chahti hoon' but I didn't think about Lalooo to inspire a seven year old kid!

    I understand you wanted to bring to the forefront the equality of sexes and you did but the young girl's dream seems to have caught everyone's pulse!

    novelty always does :)

  7. Sidrajee, Welcome to Times Change. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to share your thoughts. You never know who will inspire whom .. we may criticize politicians .. but they too motivate!


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