It was a January morning in Noida. Weather suddenly became more chill and wet due to an unusual winter rain since the last night. I got up early at my hotel bed for attending conference at IIM Lucknow Noida campus. I came to Noida for attending conference in IIM Lucknow Noida campus located in sector B2. Since I was new to this place, I tried to start early in the morning despite continuous rain outside.
I came out of the hotel; the whole area was covered with thick fog. The incessant drizzling made the move difficult to find rickshaw or auto for reaching the venue. After a few step walk ahead, I located a rickshaw puller shivering in cold and waiting for customer in this difficult hour. After a few step closer, I observed a middle aged rickshaw puller looked at me with a great hope.
I also eagerly checked whether I could get that rickshaw. I observed that rickshawala is almost drenched. For a moment, it appeared in my mind that he must be from Bengal, as he was wearing a typical bong face. But he looked tired for some unknown reason. I asked whether he could take me to IIM campus. His face became bright as he at last got a customer in that rough weather. He asked for Rs 30 and I find it reasonable. So I boarded on his rickshaw for destination. Drizzling was still there. He tried hard to reach the venue fast. I assured him no hurry and he can drive safely.
Rickshaw was meandering thorough lanes and by lanes of Noida sector 62. I asked rickshawala about his native place in Bengal. He narrated his ordeal while driving his rickshaw. He was a worker in jute Mill near Nadia district in West Bengal. His father was landless laborer. He was a good student and consistently performed better till Class 10. But his father expired, and he was forced to leave his study and join mill as a labourer.
But luck was not in his favor. He lost his job due to lock out in his factory. By that time he was father of 2 children. He felt the pain of losing opportunity of good education due to want of many. He didn’t want it to be happened to his kids again. He searched many places for job. But no hopes resurfaced.
One day he got a call from his distant relative now working in Noida. He was desperate to join some job to support his family. He left Nadia in West Bengal for Noida for exploring opportunity there. He came to sector 62. Hetook a rented rickshaw and become a rickshaw puller. He managed to get Rs 300 per day after a daylong hard work. He could send some money to family. Three years have been passed, children were grown up . Expenditure was shooting up. Then he took a call to shift his family from West Bengal to Noida. His wife also joined some domestic help. Now husband and wife both earned about 20k.
I was grossly engrossed in listening that story. He still murmured… “Babu, now I can support children education here after tight budget control”. He still remembered his old days in rural village. But he is happy now; at least Delhi NCR helped him to earn his living and supporting children education. Despite mild fever in last few days, he came out today to earn some money. After all, he has to save some money for children.
We are about to reach Noida IIM campus. He is still recounting his journey. Telling me, “Sir, you know. My elder son is studying hard and he is class 12 now. My son is telling me, ” baba, you need not work, let me finish graduation and then I will join job”.
I also know Delhi and NCR are such a place that young man like him would get a job someday. He can help his rickshawala father to get some relief in the rest of his life. I reached campus and deboarded the rickshaw. Priyalal ( his name)was still looking at me. Asking me, ” Sir, will not my son get job here ?” I nod my head and assured him. I know this place is far better than west Bengal in terms of job opportunity.
Hence, without any hesitation I assured him that your son would get a job and fulfill his dream. His face again become brighter with a hope.. I give some courage to this old father before leaving to join conference. I appreciate his courage to leave Bengal and struggling in Noida to give support for his children’s career.
I stepped into the campus. Rickshawala was standing there with a pensive look as if he was still talking to his past. After few seconds, when I looked back and seen he was vanishing into the fog at the turn of the road.
Next day he again picked me up from hotel. Today we also discussed many things starting from politics to job and education market. I got astonished to see his interest in many fields. I am haapy to know that this rickshawala still finds hope to get his dream fulfilled through his son and daughter. Noida has given him earning and hope for his next generation.