Part IV: The Autowallah with the Most Inspirational Story

During our Hyderabad trip in December 2013, most of our point-to-point sites were covered in autos. The autowallahs in Hyderabad, Wikitravel had warned us, would be too rowdy and are known to charge exorbitantly even to the locals. We, as tourists, hardly stood a chance of bargaining with them or plead them to go by the meter. As it turned out, we met quite a few unique autowallahs during our trip. I have talked about the ‘tell me the way’ guy and the ‘preach while you drive’ guy in my previous post.

There was a third autowallah we met. It was the importance that this particular autowallah deserved, that led me to dedicate a separate post to him. He was unlike any autowallah I have ever met anywhere. Read on to learn the amazing story of the ‘studying MCA’ guy. Yeah, you read it right!

On our last day we took an auto from our hotel to reach Secunderabad Station. The journey should have taken us about 20 minutes, but there was a jam and it took us almost 45 minutes. (We were still 40 minutes early for our train) And here we were in an auto with the most educated autowallah that I have ever known. From his looks, he was young, cultured and surely didn’t look like one who drives autos for a living. Unlike all our previous autowallahs who were surprisingly fluent in Hindi, this one conversed in pure English.

‘I can understand Hindi a little. But I can speak English better,’ he told us. And indeed! I had never heard a more fluent English speaking auto driver! Dad struck a conversation with him and there it was- the most interesting story I never expected.

‘I have done my BCA and now I am doing MCA by distance learning,’ he said. He is my age and doing Masters! Why driving autos then?

‘Financial problem at home. I am from a small town in a neighboring district and cost of living in a big city like Hyderabad is too high,’ he explained.

But then, if he was this educated, why not try at a real regular job?

‘I passed all tests but got rejected due to ‘communication skills’. My entire education was in Telugu-medium. So I am learning to speak English now.’

‘How much do you earn from driving autos? Is it sufficient?’

‘I hire this auto for which I have to pay Rs.300 to the owner every day. He lends it to me for 12 hours- From 6 in the evening till 6 in the morning. But I usually drive only till midnight. The petrol costs have to be borne by me. Whatever more I earn, it’s mine.’

Evening 6 to morning 6. So does he study during the day time?

‘No. I have a regular job. I earn Rs.7,500 a month. It’s not enough. So I drive autos to add to my income.’

Wow! I have a mixed feeling. I don’t know what one should reply to this. Thankfully, it is Dad who is having the conversation right now and I am listening, I think.

I have to write about this guy on my blog. I just have to. He is brilliant! People ought to know about him and his spirit!

It seems he is a little confused about this last stretch of road to the station.

‘No, no, I know the road, it’s nearby,’ he assures us. But then he asks for directions from a motorcycle guy riding parallel to us. Soon we are at the railway station.

We get down from the auto and Dad gives a bonus while paying him, more than he agreed for and adds, ‘Continue your education. It is important and you will get a good job.’

He thanks him and smiles. The smile isn’t the sly one we usually get from auto drivers here in Delhi. It clearly reflected truth and innocence. Probably a picture of him would do well for my blog, I thought. To take the photo, I didn’t feel flashing a phone that looked costlier than the hardworking man’s monthly salary was a very good idea. I let the case rest.

Learning his story did push my brain to ponder upon it for some time. Migrated from his village for education, stayed on in a big city, didn’t get a job for a reason but wouldn’t let it hamper his future, continues education and strives to improve his speaking skills, gets an income well below his qualifications should get him and smiles as he drives people around to their destinations (away from his life’s ambitions) in a rented auto for 6-12 hours a day to earn a little for his needs. How many times do we come across such positive and hard working individuals these days? Can we even think of categorising ourselves into such a positive-being and hard-working individual category?

This was truly an amazing autowallah of Hyderabad.

Don’t you think his story is inspirational and ought to be shared?

Other posts in this series: 


  1. Inspiring ! Though he had much more to narrate I am sure, I was touched by reading just a part of it. Wiping my tears and commenting on the post. Yes your post ought to be shared and I suddenly got a brilliant idea in my mind which I will share offline with you!
    -Shilpi Dutta

    1. Thanks Shilpi.
      Brilliant idea? My eager brain is waiting to hear it soon! :)

  2. I did not know you were so much impressed by this lad. I am sure you must have realised that life is not that easy as we think it to be. How much better placed we are compared to such educated poor guys! Well to do people hardly take notice of such poor chaps. It is this type of resolute youths who can change the destiny of any nation. All youths should respect and adopt the spirit of this guy to usher in a new order in today's turmoil world. Waiting for your next post.

  3. I once met a Rickshaw wala here in Dwarka, he was a post graduate in Biology..from Guwahati..and he joined a few jobs..left them because of corruption and now is driving a rickshaw and earning money! :/

  4. Very inspirational and yes, I have heard similar stories of autowallahs and rickshaw pullers too. In fact, I remember one of my school bus drivers was always so keen on studying further and learning new words. Inspirational and depressing at the same time :) Nice blog you have got here! :)

    1. When we look around, we do find so many amazing stories everywhere. We are just not aware they are there, isn't it?
      Thank you! :)


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