Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Sleepless Mornings

After a tiring day at work, Roy reclined, as if it were a couch, in his cab which would drop him home. He closed his eyes with a sense of relief that he doesn’t have to work for the next 12 hours. He was immensely satisfied with work but the fact that the weekend was 5 days away made him sad.

The driver, after having a chat with his colleagues came inside and greeted him. The whistle blew and we were past the company gate. Still 23 kms to go and that equals a good 30 minutes drive home. Roy didn’t want to doze off as that may affect the driver as well. It was around 11:35pm. He tried to have a conversation with the driver. He knew that the driver didn’t understand Hindi and the best way was to start speaking in Marathi.
Roy never saw the driver pick him up during the daytime. It was just the nights. “Do you have drops after this?” The driver replied,”Well I have drops until 5 in the morning.” That didn’t surprise him. He further asked,” That’s fine, you can do pickups the next week right.”

“No Sir, I never do pick-ups as I cannot read.”

For pick-ups the driver is given a printed paper with the address of the employee and a contact number. It doesn’t matter during a drop as the employee is already there in the cab.
The driver was in his late fifties, probably with his spectacles, Roy doubted it must be the eye-sight. How does he drive then? Roy asked himself. Roy had the answer for his own question. Further questioning, the driver informed that he never went to school. His mother was widowed when he was just 4 years old. Well let’s not go into that bit because it’s the cliché old story of illiteracy.

He has his own family. A daughter and a son. The daughter is married and his son is busy wasting his dad’s money on alcohol. He further says that he has been doing these night jobs just because the only thing he knows is driving and the one thing he curses himself of not knowing is reading. He has been doing this since 12 years. He has the option of going for a different driving job but that won’t pay him well.

This is just one amongst the many cases of a person working during the night just because he is illiterate. Now we realise the fact that sleepless nights are way better than sleepless mornings. If we have a sleepless night, we have the rest of the day to get that lost sleep.

If he has a sleepless morning he cannot compromise by sleeping through the night as that would steal some money from his wages to support the lavish lifestyle of his son.

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