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I am Abdul, the auto-wallah

I am Abdul, the auto-wallah
New Delhi: Auto-rickshaws parked along a street, during the nationwide lockdown in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)

New Delhi: The one you were annoyed with when he refused to stop as you hailed him.

You didn’t care to ask if I was rushing home to feed my ageing mother, or pick up my child from school, or, perhaps, trying to catch my prayer.

I was, like all my other khakhi-clad comrades, just another slave to serve you.

So be it!

But, ’tis two months since I’ve picked up a passenger.
Yes, 60 days since I’ve earned a rupee.

  • Coronavirus: Lockdown in Delhi
  • Auto-rickshaw

Those working from home, and those reclining on savings;

Those who had the money to stock their kitchens and their living room bar counters;

Those who never had to pawn their brass vessels to buy medicines;

Those whose fixed deposits and kin abroad kept them funded

What will these know what hunger pangs mean; that a sick child’s medicine can dry up a whole week’s earning;

What will these know what it means to swallow one’s dignity to ask a little help from a better-off relative;

Did you care to hail my plight; to let go your ego for a while, and help me hold on my dignity.

A simple meal, a simple hello, an anonymous gift of cash to help me tide over.

Is it asking for too much from those who have; from those who can spare; from those who learnt more than me on virtues of charity?

Agreed I am not as well read, as cultured; and, perhaps, a bit ill-clad.

Yes! I’m being vocal, ’cause my PM said, I could since I’m local!

Khalid Noor Mohammed (Linkedin) Khalid Noor Mohammed


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