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May 4, 2020 / catherinebwrites

INDIA 16 DEEPAK SHYALAKOTI

DEEPAK SHYALAKOTI

Deepak arrived at our hotel looking very dapper and off we went through the mad Delhi traffic. He was the driver taking us on our tour of the Golden Triangle (see blogs INDIA 10-15) .

Despite the mayhem of horses and carts, tuk-tuks, lorries, wandering cows, bicycles, motorcars, pedestrians, motorbikes, scooters, vans and monkeys, it was soon clear that we were in safe hands (See INDIA 2). Deepak was a good driver, experienced and skilled. We sat back and relaxed.

As we got into chat, we realised that Deepak wasn’t just a driver, he was an intelligent man, interested in a wide range of subjects. Over the next days our conversations ranged over history, philosophy, society, politics and religion. Never discuss politics or religion they say, but we’re Irish. Any half decent conversation that doesn’t include religion and politics is hardly worth having! Deepak was curious about us and our culture, we were curious about him and his.

It was soon obvious that Deepak knew as much about the sights we visited as the guides allotted to us. Often he know a lot more. Because of his range of knowledge we assumed he must came from the educated middle class. We were so very wrong! He was born in poor family in a poor village in the mountains. When he was a boy, a villager who lived and worked in Delhi returned to visit. This sparked an ambition in Deepak. The man was dressed to the nines and the boy wanted, one day, to be able to dress as smart as that. At the age of fourteen he ran away from his village and came to Delhi. He had no money, no education, no skills, knew nobody and had nowhere to stay. All he had were brains and ambition.

He slept on the streets, suffered attacks, saw all kinds of degradation and poverty, scams, violence, “things you wouldn’t believe”. But slowly, gradually, he found jobs, found help, worked his way up and educated himself on the way. Now he drives for Noble Tours but also, he runs his own tour agency OMINDIA TRAVELS* ( contact info below)

One day he surprised us.

“Thank you for respecting me.” he said.

What on earth did he mean?

He meant that we were polite and we had conversations with him. Hey… we were spending four days together, what else would we do? But, apparently, many tourists treat their drivers like their personal slaves and never speak to them except to give orders. Well more fool they!

Deepak and us outside Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) Jaipur

This was something we heard a lot from people in service jobs in India. They all had similar stories to Deepak. Realising the kind of difficulties they had to overcome gave us huge respect for them. So many people in India, like Deepak, build lives for themselves against overwhelming odds. Congratulations Deepak. Congratulations all of you. You have more than our respect, you have our admiration.

DEEPAK SHYALAKOTI www.omindiatravels.com

MOB:++919654387235

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