Friday, January 23, 2009

Sakim-Story Of Determination

He was rated highly by all his village school teachers in Saharsa district of Bihar; after all education was his best ticket to take a flight out of the hole of abject poverty, his family was into. His poor parents were doing everything they could with their meagre resources to help him attain his goal. “Resources and its paucity” was fighting a losing battle against the resolve of Sakim and his parents until it found an able ally in the village shop owner, one fateful afternoon.
Gory incidents of that day were powerful enough to crush the resolve of Sakim; who would soon found him inside a train to Delhi. A debt of Rs 200 or US $ 4 altered the course of life of an 11 year old kid forever. Fate alone knew that that village kid who used to enjoy reading his daily lessons would soon have to wash utensils in a big city restaurant to meet his ends.
His first salary was more than enough to repay that Rs 200 debt of the shop owner back home in Bihar; but it was nothing when compared with what he had lost- his childhood...For next 3 years he would break his back every day in his pursuit to fight that stigma, he was carrying since that afternoon. The money that he earned would help marry his sisters into respectable families. Whatever was left was used to construct a one room hutment for his family.
By the time he went back to his village, that kid who had left the village 3 year ago had become an adult. His erstwhile school teachers tried to persuade him to go back to his studies; but the charm and pull of big city life was too powerful. He found himself back in that train to Delhi after a gap of six months; his younger brother giving him company. This train journey was a lot different from the one he had undertaken in the past- he had new plans and a new goal- to save his brother from doing a Sakim on him.
When he had left Saharsa station, he had a role in sight for himself- that of a driver and he was relying on his fellow villager for helping him achieve that. His plan was simple- to learn driving in the night and work during the day. However, fate again had different plans in store for him.
The person who, Sakim was relying on to execute his plans chose to turn his back on him. Quoted reason- Sakim’s poverty doesn’t entitle him to sit behind the wheels. Unlike last time, Sakim would not have to fight a lonely battle. Another fellow villager who heard Sakim being ridiculed for his poverty came up to him and handed him his cab keys. He made Sakim sit on the wheels giving him driving instructions while playing the role of a perfect navigator.
That one gesture again altered the course of Sakim’s life forever. The fear of wheel was gone and in came a desire to excel in the driving arena. Now, Sakim drives a cab, stationed outside Hazrat Nizamudin (HZM) railway station and ferry visitors throughout the city. He calls the man who became his saviour that night, his “Guru”, perhaps rightly so. His younger brother is studying in a Delhi school and his parents live back home in much better condition than what they were 5 years back, all thanks to Sakim’s amazing grit and determination.
I heard Sakim’s story in his own words on the morning of 5th January 2009 after I hired his cab for Rs 400 following much persuasion and bargaining. His story really moved me and I felt ashamed of myself to bargain with him for 100 rupees- considering that it was double that amount which changed Sakim’s life forever.... with an apologetic note I handed him Rs 500 and told him to keep the balance.
We exchanged mobile numbers, he told me to save his number in my phone book and call him up for cab whenever I am at HZM railway station. Two days later, he would follow up our interaction with a phone call- something that reminded me of much talked about corporate etiquettes one is expected to follow to ensure one is registered in other’s mind....... Though Sakim never required one to do that; he is already registered in my mind.....
There is no dearth of Sakims in this country or for that matter anywhere on this earth...... but then what separates this Sakim from other Sakims is his amazing grit and determination to erase the incidents of past while taking inspiration from them and using them as a tool to rebuild his life. Sakim is successful in his own way and his success is no less than anybody else’s- he was able to win a major battle in his war against the abject poverty. However, he has a long way to go as there are many more battles left to win this war.....with his grit and determination he will come out as a true winner in this war...


Bhavana said...

Beautiful took the time to talk to the cab driver. Often we do not bother, we forget their humanness and their struggles. Yes, there are many Sakims in this world. Let me share from one of my blogposts
"I love auto rides. This evening my auto driver was a versatile guy whose conversation topics ranged from preventing alcoholism with compassion, through cynical realities of marriage all the way to Vedic mathematics and numerology. At the end of the ride, I told him that for the first time I did not want to get down but rather go on another long ride–talking and conversing with this extraordinary man. He smiled and replied—“Aah, it gives me happiness when my passengers are happy; it is not just money, you know.” My salute to the unknown gems on the Chennai street!"

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