Conversations with a Cab Driver

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Some days I wonder.. and other days I wonder a little more than usual...

Few weeks back, I was returning home late at night in a cab. As luck would have it, I was travelling alone in the cab. Now rein your mental horses before they start running in the wrong direction - ek bhola bhala ladka, andheri rat me, akele Gurgaon me... ! :P 

By the way, Gurgaon is a shit city, I tell you, but we will come back to it some other day.

The distance was long, and I loathe listening to music in moving vehicles. So, I decided to strike a conversation with the driver guy! Bhai sahab, us driver ne zindagi ke funde hila diye mere!!

We started with usual chit chat about our respective work life balance (we were almost on the same page, by the way! No life, only work! :D) and slowly moved on to long term vision of our respective lives!

Over the course of our conversation, I realized how well sorted, and clear vision this guy has! I will spare you my side of the story, as it basically has in-hand salary as milestones for the next 5 years! :D But this guy had a whole business plan, which he had been following since 2005!

This guy, all of 19 years of age back then, came to Delhi in 2005 to earn a livelihood. After couple of months of job hunt, he was able to join some call center as a driver. There was this guy from his hometown, who was working at the same call center since Gurgaon BPO boom days. That bhaiya helped him in securing that driver job for a comfortable salary of Rs 5,000.

Yes, five thousand rupees only per month for a job that entailed 500-600 Kms driver per day in NCR!! 500Km drive per day, and that too in Delhi traffic! By God!

After doing this job for some three-four months, this guy realized ki bhayya aise to life nahi chal sakti. It was then this guy hatched the master plan for his road to redemption! Dude, such a long term plan, and so well executed, blew my mind off!

Total Per Month: Rs 5,000
Room Rent: 1,000
Other Expenses: 1,000
Money Sent Home: 1,500
Savings After Misc Expenses: 1,200

He saved every penny, and lived on the same financial model for whole five years! He augmented his income by ferrying 10-10Rs passengers between Gurgaon and Delhi, while returning empty and had a bounty of 80,000 at the end of five years! He used this sum to pay down payment for his own cab! 

Now there was another shocking line of thought, which he told me about. Of this 80k, he used only 60k to finance his own car, and saved 20k for unexpected delay in payment from the company! He told me it happens every few months. (and picked some petty cash from his friends for registration etc) 

After getting his own cab, he used his contacts of 5 years, to get it enrolled in one of the call centers, which had ever growing needs for cabs.

This was in mid-2011, and now for his own cab, he started getting over 30k per month (after paying bribes to his so-called contact and admin department of the company). After deducting diesel and EMI costs, and his previous expenses, this guy used to save about 10,000Rs per month! 

Now, if a guy can go ahead and start his own transport business (with one cab though) with 1,500 savings per month, imagine what he can do with saving 10k per month!!

Cut to today, this guy has two cabs, of which one he drives himself, and he employs a driver for the other one. If his planning (and economic conditions) goes fine for the next few years, I can easily envision him owning a small transport company having 10-15 cabs on hire! 

Aur ek saale hum hain, fighting every year that why we should get a 15% hike and not 12% hike because we did some awesome work! The point is, saali hamari soch hi choti hai. All we want is security, and we are willing to trade off unlimited growth potential for this feeling of pseudo security which our 30-of-every-month-paycheck provides!

Bhak saala!



I still cant forget the beautiful way in which this guy said at the end of the conversation - sirjee, aakhir "Naukri" shabd jo hai, wo "Naukar" se hi to aaya hai na!! 
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