I couldn’t study beyond Class 7 because of the financial crisis at home. My father passed away due to cancer and we had to survive all our own from a young age. We were four siblings, two brothers and two sisters, and around 20 years back, we migrated to Hyderabad to earn a living.
I began to work in a restaurant under the master to support my family. Unfortunately, every day, a large chunk of my earnings would go to the owner of the restaurant, leaving me with a meagre amount. That’s when I made up my mind about buying an auto-rickshaw. I suffered initially to clear the EMI’s but in the end, it turned out to be a profitable profession. The best part of my job was meeting new passengers all the time, interacting with them, showing them the beautiful places in the town, etc. But the Covid 19 pandemic has hit our business hard and we are trying to recover from the losses slowly. Many of our colleagues are still paying off debts incurred during the previous lockdown.
To survive in a big city like Hyderabad, we need at least Rs 15,000 just for provisions and rent, above this we need to take care of the family.
Even post lockdown, things are still the same due to a decline in the number of rides per day as people are not preferring to take rides in autos due to the covid scare. The handful of passengers who travel by autos to malls and other places are now driving their vehicles. So I realised the only place where I could find a few bookings are railway stations and bus stands. Yes, I agree that there’s a risk but I don’t take the risk, my family and I will die of starvation.
To contribute my part, I have also started to donate a small amount of my income every month to the orphanages as I truly believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to lend a helping hand during these difficult times.”