Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Itna kamake kya fayda sir - A conversation with an auto driver

It was just another morning, when I was quite enthusiastic about getting back to work after a refreshing 10 day break away from it. And as ever, post haggling with the Gurgaon autowallas, we (me and my roommates) managed to find one to take us to office. 

Monday mornings and IFFCO chowk just equate to one thing - Traffic Jam. As we were waiting in the jam for vehicles to move, we spotted this pretty senior looking executive driving his car, a pretty high end one at that. And then the autowallah said - 
"Sir, ye dekho isko. Khaane ke liye bhi time nahi hai inke paas. 20-25 laakh ka gaadi hogi iski. Par ghar pe baithke khaane ke liye bhi vaqt nahi hai, to Itna kamaake kya fayda hua.
(Sir, look at this guy. He doesn't even have time for eating in the mornings. His car must be worth 20-25 lakh. But if he doesn't have time to even sit at home and enjoy the food that he can eat, then what is the point of earning so much)

And then he pointed to a beggar on the other side of the road, and went ahead with his "work-life balance" perspective (in the words of my roommate)
"Isko dekho. Ye bhi na, bhaikte ghar pe aaram se khaana khaata hai. Us aadmi jitna nai kamayega kabhi, par jab kamaake aise jeena padta hai to ..."
(Look at this guy. Even this guy would be able to sit patiently at his home, and enjoy his food. He'll never earn as much as that guy would, ever. But what's the point, if you anyway have to live like this, when you earn so much)

The signal turned green, and we reached office on time. But as I looked around in the rest of the traffic, I could see guys reading the newspaper hurriedly. Or typing away on their laptops or rattling away with a frustrated look on their mobiles, while someone else was driving the car. 

The incident reminded me of Raghuram Rajan's IIMA convocation address some time ago where he said ..
"If you do not like going to work every day, the fact that you are driven to it in a Mercedes is not going to make it any more pleasant.
What do we really work for? A comfortable life? Food at the right time? Intellectual stimulation? To have something to do in life? Because everyone else is? To achieve something in life? To leave behind a legacy, saying you improved life for everyone else in someway? For the money to sustain? To have the comfort and the ability to enjoy that football match on the weekend, and that festival in new clothes with your family? And what is that tipping point, where we can say - "Hey, all that is fine. But with so much to do, despite all the money, I'm not able to go back and enjoy what I actually work for - which is watching that late United goal on TV over the weekend, with a packet of chips to munch"

This whole thing takes me back to that conversation between Hrithik and Katrina in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara post their deep sea diving. 
Katrina: "When you've done so well in life, are you really happy? Even today if you feel something is missing, what is it? Take time out for things that give you genuine joy. Like cooking"
Hrithik: "Well, that's the plan, I mean. I'll retire at 40 and..."
Katrina: "Dude! How do you know if you'll be alive till then? Seize the day, my friend. First, live this day to the fullest. Then think about 40."
I thought I'll give time to the things that give me genuine joy as well. Like writing this post! 

PS: I do not hate my job! Not one bit. In fact, starting to figure out my own ways to make job-life even better! :). This is more of a musing on the 'greater' things in life. 

Oh! And there's this category of people as well ...


Suguna Dewan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1< arthik said...

Liked this post.

I agree. Hardly people stop to think.

Yes, I too love my work. But I still feel that mankind is not very much better off in 2014 than in in 1884 in terms of work-life balance and emotional intelligence. It is a <= at the best.

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Nachiket said...

Good one DD

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