Live simply, move on

A memorable ride with an 80-year old cabbie.

I had just completed a training session, which was at a resort a couple of hours away from my home. I was thrilled to find a cab at the gate of the resort.

The cabbie agreed to the long commute. He did not even try to haggle over the fare. He was standing outside his cab and peeling an apple.

Over the years, I have seen cabbies chewing gutka and paan. Eating roti and sabji. Never an apple. He did not seem to be in a hurry to hop into the cab even though I stood around cooling my heels. Like any typical Bombay-ite, I would have been irritated by the delay had I not been intrigued.

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So I asked him whether he usually carried an apple. He said yes and talked about the health benefits of eating right and on time. I could easily believe it because he was extremely fit. And even able to drive in Mumbai without glasses. He was approximately 80 years old, perhaps older. He didn t know because nobody noted his date of birth.

He had three sons. All of them educated and doing well for themselves with decent jobs.

So I wondered why he had to work. Not only was he working, but also supporting his third son. When he was sixty, the bank refused to give him a one and half lakh rupee loan for buying his taxi cab. And he made the mistake of borrowing it from his son. Till today, I am paying him back. You do the math, he said.

I asked him why he continued to do so? He explained how his wife was emotional and didn t get the fact that he was not obliged to support his son. They could easily live independently with the money he made as a cabbie. But, he bowed to her wishes and continued to pay the bills for their joint family.

Here was a guy who worked hard all his life to give his sons a better future.

He did not have any vices. He managed to dodge the smoking habit and the drinking habit early in his career because he had seen what it did to people when he had started driving minor movie celebs.

He told me about doing what needs to be done and never expecting anything in return. He explained the concept of detachment and karma doing one s duty by quoting Sanskrit verses from Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. Because he practised it in his life, it was easy to buy into his philosophy. For a while, I tried to do what I was supposed to without worrying about how things would pan out. Then I promptly forgot about it.

I just need a little reminder from time to time.

Live Simply is a series of experiences that have taught me to try and live simply. Can I manage to live simply? I don t know. But, I intend to explore the possibility and I invite you to be a part of my journey. Comment to share your life experiences.

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