Not able to manage the chaotic traffic in Chennai we decided to appoint a driver for our old AMBY. After a lot of deliberation we chose to employ a man who was on the wrong side of sixty rather than one half his age thinking he will not grudge driving an old Ambassador and will refrain from over speeding unlike the young ones who prefer to be at the wheel of the latest jazzy air conditioned cars with a music system. But let me tell you who had the last laugh at the end of it all!
The problem arose sooner than we expected when we wanted to attend a wedding reception late in the evening. Our driver informed us with a sheepish smile that he had been postponing his cataract operation as he could not save enough money that is required and his vision gets poorer once it gets dark. We were left with no other alternative but to shell out three months’ salary of his as advance after his repeated pleadings. He was back the next morning and we thought he had come to inform about the date of his surgery. But we were wrong when he enlightened us about another problem of his, that the doctor asked him to wait till his sugar level came down and until then he could continue with his job during the day.
We felt helpless and wanted to sack him but did not have the heart of writing off the advance which was no mean sum. Months went by with us forgoing all our evening engagements and no sign of our driver’s sugar level decreasing. When we paid his salary withholding a part of the advance, he came out with another sob story that it was difficult for him to maintain a family consisting of his wife and four children.
As we were reaching the end of nearly a year, there were more unpleasant things to follow as we began to have second thoughts for picking up expensive stuff because we noticed our driver jealously eyed those huge and attractive carry bags we were shoving into the rear seat of the car. We prepared ourselves for what followed next –which was for more advance and when we tried not to give in to his pleadings, his tone immediately changed, to one of bitterness and we were forced to put up with his monologue of the strange ways of God, of how He is kind to some who are fortunate and not to others like him who have to slog all their lives.
This led to our speedy decision and the best solution –to dispense with the driver and our old AMBY as well !
Meera Raghavendra Rao