So, last Saturday, I had to take an auto-rickshaw to go to the hospital to take care of some important lab work. I took a rickshaw from my colony to the hospital and back, which would have been a trip of around 3.5 kms. I convinced him to make the round trip for Rs 60 which was an achievement considering that it was night time and it was Gurgaon.
Gurgaon is essentially the city where everything costs a little more than normal. Maybe because everyone has a little more than normal. Of course, that statement excludes the daily wage labourers and manual workers. So yeah, I took the rickshaw and we started with a tense air. The air was tense because the bargain had started at Rs 100 and he was grumpy to have conceded Rs 40 in the bargain. It was only when I had threatened to walk away that he got convinced for the ride.
We went to the hospital quietly and he drove in silence too. On our way back, he began to ask questions as he realized that I was a doctor and was going to the hospital for some fancy urgent work. I decided to engage and replied to his questions. I even asked him to get a check-up done in my clinic. He immediately brought up the topic of affordability and like a novice, I offered him free consultation. I am very liberal with my consultation fee because I feel that the power of healing should be used liberally.
Later on, he told me that his younger brother (he himself looked not older than 16) was working in a dental clinic and was earning a handsome salary. I urged him to stay ambitious and try for such jobs which require technical skill. To my surprise, he told me that he was already married and had to bear the burden of his family. That was the main reason he was unable to freely go job-hunting and field-switching.
I told him that marriage is a big responsibility and should be taken only when one is ready. We talked about marriage as if it was something he was lamenting and I was running away from. Only in the last leg of our short trip he dropped the bomb when he said that his marriage was a ‘love marriage’ and he himself had pushed for it.
My parting words to him were that he then already has everything a person dreams for. We dream, we earn, we work to finally be happy with our loved ones. He had love and happiness. His joy of togetherness trumped my quest for survival.
Sometimes, in our small little, we lose sight of the real targets. Maybe there is nothing to take away from this story, maybe life is just as random as it gets, maybe life is just a series of mood swings.
But, there are times when we WANT and NEED to make sense. Love helps there.