Mumbai: “My granddaughter calls and tells me, ‘I came first in class’, and all my pain vanishes”. These are the words of an auto rikshaw driver in Mumbai whose heart wrenching and inspiring story has been all over the internet. The story of Mr Desraj was first shared by ‘Humans of Bombay’ and has got everyone talking about it.
The story reveals how even after losing two sons, not having enough money to feed his family, and having to make a home out of his auto, Mr Desraj did not lose the courage and will continue to keep working hard in order to educate his granddaughter who would soon be the first graduate in the family.
“Six years ago, my oldest son disappeared from home. A week later people found his dead body in an auto; he was just 40. A part of me died with him, but burdened by responsibilities, I didn’t even have the time to mourn-next day I was back on the road, driving my auto,” Mr Desraj told in his interview with Humans of Bombay.
Two years later he lost his other son to suicide and was left with the responsibility of his daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.
In order to feed his family and also educate the children, he would work extra hard, leaving home at 6 AM and driving till midnight. He would barely make ₹10, 000 which would be enough to feed the family and he would sometimes have to beg for money to be able to afford medicines for his wife.
However, he says, everything was worth it when his granddaughter secured 80% in her 12th boards. He was so happy that he gave a free ride to all his customers that day.
When his granddaughter expressed that she wanted to do a B. Ed course in Delhi, Mr Desraj sent his family to live with his relatives and sold his house to be able to pay the fees.
“Educating her in another city was way beyond my capacity, but I had to fulfil her dreams at any cost,” he says.
So now, Mr Desraj lives in his auto. “It’s been a year now and honestly, life is not that bad- I eat and sleep in my auto and during the day I ferry my passengers.”
“I can’t wait for her to become a teacher so I could hug her and tell her how proud I am,” he adds.
After the story went viral on the internet, a lot of help has been pouring in for Mr Desraj.
A Facebook user named Gunjan Ratti also started a fundraiser for Mr Desraj.