The time was 2.25 am. It’s quite late to leave the office, especially when you join at 10 am. But I was quite accustomed to such working hours in the organization. Well, ideally you shouldn’t be accustomed to such extremes but sometimes you do not understand what the price would be. Nevertheless, coming back to the main point on which I am writing this article.
So my organization used to provide shared cab service for all employees to drop them safely to their home. I used to stay in a part of Pune which had lesser employees from our organization. As it was quite late, I got allocated a cab only for myself.
As I got into the car, I couldn’t help but notice something unique about the cab driver. To describe him, he was a man probably in his early 40s wearing quite a clean set of clothing and having a tilak on his forehead. He was watching a YouTube video. While that is not uncommon, the point I noticed was he was going through some sort of educational video.
Damn, he had locked the car from inside. As I knocked on the window to get his attention, he hurriedly closed the video and kept his mobile aside.
“Sorry Sir. You had to wait and knock on the window”, he said politely as he opened the door. I had a habit of sitting on the seat that was beside the driver. This would help me connect with people (obviously if they are willing to).
The car was kept clean even though it didn’t look like cleaned at a workshop. By the time I settled in, it’s already 2.30 am. We hear the guard whistle and we start for home. As we pass through the driveway, I notice some of his fellow drivers giving him a slightly scornful look.
5 mins into the journey and I initiated a conversation with him.
“You keep your vehicle quite clean and everything is neatly arranged”, I said.
” Thank you Sir. I like to have neatness around me “
“I noticed you were studying something on YouTube”
“Yes Sir. I always look for ways to manage my money and I think that has helped me”
“Nice. But how do you think it has helped you? I mean you still have to work hard to meet your ends”. I was a bit curious to know what money management skills he had.
Now this somehow brought out a different person altogether. And out of nowhere I now had a finance expert driving me home.
“Sir, I plan my investments so that I don’t have to depend on anyone during any time of the year. I have two kids and a wife to look after and I try to plan my finances in a way that not only are their needs taken care of but they probably are a lot happier than familes of most of my peers. ”
Wow. This was interesting. We seriously live in a world where it might be difficult to manage finances for most people and I had a person next to me who claimed to have a happier family than his peers. Maybe he was showing off or maybe it’s worth an ear.
“So what do you do exactly”, I asked.
“My wife does household activities to earn about 6,000 a month. That helps us pay the house rent plus school fees for our kids.
I earn about 15,000 monthly. From that I pay my car EMI of 5K, set aside about 6K for the food ration and other utility expenses and invest the remaining 4K.”
We were about halfway to our destination by this time as he continued telling me about his investment pattern.
“We are not rich, so we do not invest in stocks. Rather we have invested in a couple of social security schemes, 1K per month in the PPF, some health and life insurances cost us about 1K per month and we make a recurring deposit of 1K per month”
I was amazed at the way this person had put a thought in trying to secure the future for his family. But wait, he was not done yet !!
“After all this calculation, we normally have about 500 rupees left. We keep this for any urgent requirement. When I get the payment for the next month, we use this same amount and have a small dinner outing at some local dhaba or restaurant that is within our budget. This makes sure that my wife gets a break from cooking and kids have fun as well.”
Around the same time, we reached near our destination. As I got down the vehicle, there were multiple thoughts running in my head.
I belong to a generation where people are dependent on credit cards to make sure their needs or maybe wants are met. And the person I met just now is happy with the little earnings that he had. I knew many friends who once earned the same as Mr. Cabbie but complained about not being able to save or invest. And Mr. Cabbie was able to plan his expenses, his investments and the cherry on the cake, a small monthly outing for his family.
Maybe he has found a way to identify the difference between needs and wants and that is what keeps him happy. Something we need to introspect in our lives as well. And now I understand why his fellows gave him a scornful look. It was the jealousy that stemmed from the fact that he was content with his life while they were not.
Hatsoff, Mr. Cabbie !!!