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Auto-Biography



A pot of flowers in an auto rickshaw is absurd, I feel. On closer inspection of the vehicle’s interiors – something avant-garde was at play. An interior design like one out of a children’s book; a well designed vanilla white metal interior with framed literary verses and a light show.

The little sample of external conformity intrigued me enough to want to find out the backing to such a setup.

On further enquiry, the reply initially informed me that the plant was in fact a real, living, breathing and photosynthesizing plant. Its purpose – to welcome the traveller.

So why the woodwork? It was his passion – a sort of application of his skills to add that little change to his everyday work.

Also, Mr. Ameen is not only an auto rickshaw driver but also a plumber, a handyman and is capable of doing any job requiring the application of his technical expertise.

Mr. Ameen was an unexpected man. Everyone has a story, but when you have some sort of ice breaker or invitation, discovery gets easier. People get extremely happy when you ask them what they are passionate about and thus, I asked the autoist to navigate through a slightly longer route as time was of the essence at that moment.

Mr. Ameen showed me a two story house on our way.

It was here that he acquired his liking towards mastering the internal workings of mechanical systems. As a labourer’s son, he dissembled toys AND reassembled them, instead of breaking them like most children do. Later he moved on to going to the market and buying wires and small components to play with. His passion would eventually land him in Saudi Arabia where he’d work as a handyman.

However, life had more thrilling plans for him.

On asking about his skillful use of the English Language, I found out that Mr. Ameen had practiced his speech in the U.S. where he worked in Texas in one George W Bush’s company. His excellent track record in his previous job was noted by one of Bush’s associates in Saudi Arabia.

Texas wasn’t the end for him. The U.S. Army deployed him as a technician for residence appliances on an Afghan military base. Mr. Ameen claimed this to be his best job experience; he described it to be his best paying job as well as an excellent oppurtunity to befriend soldiers on the war field.

So what brought this globetrotting individual back to his home country? The answer is ironically not Trump, but, it is Obama. Obama’s economic reforms during his presidential candidature introduced cutbacks on military base expenditure translating to Mr. Ameen heading back to India.

“So Mr. Ameen, you have so much job experience but why did you decide to become an Auto Rickshaw Driver? You did mention it was more of a past-time job.”

I was startled by the ubiquitous truth.

Competitiveness drives applicants to strive for higher qualifications. When the numbers are high, no one cares about your story. I left out a small detail – Mr. Ameen didn’t receive any formal education at all; never in his life did he step into a single educational institution as a student. Aldous Huxley right stated, “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

The takeaway from the incident – at least for me – was that it doesn’t matter whether you’re endowed with opportunities or not, as long as you’ve got the drive in you.

To paraphrase Mr. Ameen, ” I believe one must love what they do and eventually things will turn out right.”

-Vickram Peter 12 B

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