“I moved to Hyderabad from my hometown Nagarkurnool at the age of 16. My father was a farmer. Increasing debts drove me to take up a job to support my family at a young age. Some of my friends from my village were daily wagers in Hyderabad and I took up the work, before learning to drive an autorickshaw.
I had worked as a daily wage labourer for a couple of years. Soon, I started riding a rickshaw on a rented basis. At the night, I would park it by the roadside and sleep in it. It was a struggle. Gradually, after years of hard work, I was able to buy my own auto-rickshaw.
Earlier, the public transport connectivity in the suburban areas was poor and we had an opportunity to serve the passengers and earn a decent income for our livelihood. But nowadays, because of the availability of other private commute services, things have been tough for our auto drivers. We get very few safaris because of the ongoing covid pandemic and there are days where we hardly earn Rs.700 a day. On fuel, we spend around Rs. 300-400 a day and our take-home ultimately boil down to a pittance. We also need to deal with different kinds of passengers, and the road traffic every day.
I have two sons. Both of them are working in private organisations currently. Well, one must agree that the city obviously provides more opportunities for people who come from smaller districts. But there’s always a cultural shock! So I try to help them by sharing food, guide them to get work opportunities and whatever else I could. I believe that kindness and good health is all we need to survive. So I pray to God every day to provide me with the strength to serve people within my capacity.”