I was returning home from a volunteering mission at an NGO a few weeks back with my friend Albert, and we shared a taxi. As you might know, taxis are available these days at the touch of a button, and we used an app to get one. The taxi was waiting at the pick up location even before we arrived, and as we were heading home, an informal conversation sparked up among the three of us.

Albert, who is also a staff of the NGO, just asked the driver about the app, how much money he earned using it, and other stuff. The way the driver responded to us was really amusing. It was during Pongal holidays, one of the traditional Indian harvest festivals that this incident happened, and most people were on their vacation. Sadly, corporate firms in India are treating their employees as slaves, and not many get to enjoy their holidays.
“I was bored at home”, the driver said, in response to our question. “Actually, I did not want to drive during Pongal, but since I was bored, I just logged in to the app. I received your booking,  so I came”. We asked how long he had been driving for a living, and his answer was again astonishing.
“I have been driving for more than 10 years, but I don’t just drive. I own around 6 vehicles, and I have my own Travels firm. I bought two cars recently and I use them to drive for this app. But my main business is real estate.”
I was quite shocked. It seemed he earned more than 1500 rupees per day, and he also got an incentive of 2000 rupees if he made 10 trips. On an average he earned 2000 to 3000 rupees per day just driving. Apart from this, he had income from other sources as well. Real estate brokers definitely earn in Lakhs of Indian rupees. So I was guessing that his monthly income would definitely be more than 5 Lakhs, could say even 10. I did not bother to ask him though.
My friend got down at his destination and I was directing the driver to my house. While all this was happening, I had this thought running in mind. Well, I spent more than 5 Lakhs for my college education, all to earn a worthless engineering degree, which very well served as an identity to be a slave of the corporate world. The best salary I could get was 600 rupees a day, while the question of getting a job itself is highly unanswerable, leave alone employee benefits. Most of us think that going to a day job in a corporate firm, with a Louis Philippe shirt and Allen Solly pants is the best way to earn money. There are many reasons behind this. Dignity, insecurity, family situations, the qualifications for getting married, etc. are quite a few.
As we were nearing our destination, (my house), I kept wondering if we are blindfolded by the concept of education. There used to be a T Shirt which had this quote on it: “I was born Intelligent, but Education Spoiled Me. Well, that is the stark reality of today. A tea shop owner earns 10 times the money an IT professional earns. A mechanic earns 20 times money a mechanical engineer would earn. But, they are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Being self employed is hard, it is not easy to earn money quickly, but once you are established, you get your complete share. We have spent so much money on education, that we have made the founders of these colleges and schools ‘millionaires and billionaires’, but in turn, we become a slave. Higher education to the power of higher education (to make it worse).
As the cab took the final turn towards my house, I mustered up some courage to ask the driver.
“Don’t mistake me, but how much have you studied?”.  His answer was very instant, and he smiled wittingly.  

 “SSLC Fail”.      
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About Kemmy Jose

Blogger who loves to write, eat, and sleep. This is my personal blog, but I also run a couple of websites.
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