“I, once, ferried a passenger from New Delhi who had lost his bag. With no money or proper address, the gentleman was having a tough time getting an auto-rickshaw ride. I decided to help him. After a 2-hour marathon drive, when we finally reached his destination, his sincere gratitude made me realise there is more to earn than just money. I redesigned my auto-rickshaw to bring positivity within my city’s urban mind-space. My auto-rickshaw is now a free library on wheels stocked with newspapers and a novel, free chocolates and toys for the children, free mineral water for the thirsty and some home-made Gujarati delicacies for the hungry and of course, a dustbin for Swachh Bharat (clean India). In return, my passengers pay me as they wish, in cash or kind.
I have been driving my auto-rickshaw across the length and breadth of Ahmedabad for over a decade now and have seen this city grow. It now has wide roads, swanky malls, exclusive Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), towering buildings and of course, a huge influx of tourists, who frequent the city for its monuments and temples. That means a boom in business for us, auto-rickshaw drivers. But I put a small portion of my earnings into a little bottle, every day. Once it fills up with money, I use it to help those in need. My little initiative is helping me chase my dream of spreading cheer. Ahmedabad is a city with a heart and I want to ensure that it becomes the city where no one ever goes to bed hungry.”