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  • I got lucky: another auto ride, more insights.

  • I got lucky: another auto ride, more insights.

    I got lucky: another auto ride, more insights.

    I just got into the office after a lunch meeting and took an auto ride back as my car was stuck in a jam elsewhere. Got some interesting insights from the driver, a warm gentleman, aged 46.
    Our cities are full of opportunities, for the ones who are willing to put in the effort. Money that some of our stereotyped blue collar workers earn sometime beats what our white color work force makes.
    Some of these workers are clearly working towards ensuring better opportunities for their children; they are proud that they earn for themselves, and, clearly, don’t want to be dependent upon income that their grown-up children bring home.
    Some quick pointers. Please forgive any grammatical mistakes – I just wanted to quickly capture the conversation before I jump back into work.

    1. My auto driver of this afternoon, works approximately 16 hours every day – throughout the year, other than days when the vehicle is broken etc.
    2. After deducting running expenses, he earns an average Rs. 1000/ day – not a small amount by any standard
    3. Just a 2 shift rental for his auto would fetch him Rs. 500/ day but he prefers to work (read ahead about the ‘ownership’ bit)
    4. The older of his 2 sons is a graduate, and employed with a top 5 star hotel as a barman. Salary = Rs. 27,000/ month, all of which is his to keep
    5. The younger son, studies in class 9; watches movies; already has a mobile phone but is now demanding one with a cam. For this he will have to wait for 2 years, as pa would like him to grow up and make educated choices. Pa himself made some mistakes growing up and is conscious that the younger one is at a vulnerable stage and sometimes uses the phone for wasteful engagements – like games – didn’t explain further and I didn’t probe
    6. The younger son also knows how to work the computer and will get a device of his own, also in 2 years – when he reaches class 11
    7. The gentleman recently bought a plot of land for constructing their home, but that will have to wait until the elder son’s marriage, which is planned for next year
    8. The family has stayed in their current, rented accommodation for 40 years and the monthly rent ‘now’ is Rs 100/ month
    9. Son will likely wed someone from a similar work background (maybe a colleague), and given ‘their’ status, the wedding will be a costly affair. No dowry will be exchanged and no costs will be spared to see that the wedding is a grand affair

    The Indian middle class dream is a reality!
    However, this is what really got me intrigued. How much do you think an Auto Rickshaw costs?
    I was told, it costs Rs. 1.25 lacs (now I didn’t know that) but if I were to believe the gentleman, it actually costs most buyers Rs. 4.65 lacs ( that’s more than a car!). “How is that?” I asked.
    “It’s the permit silly” came the reply. Seemingly, middlemen corner the permits and sell vehicles at a ‘huge’ premium. Funding is organized through smaller financiers, where the paperwork is avoided.
    He bought his vehicle 2 years ago, for some 3.50 lacs (can’t remember the exact amount), with 2 lacs as a loan from a private financier. He’s already paid it back.
    I need to do more lunch meetings.
    (You might want to read this post too: Rural Enterprise.)
    Update: Forgot to add, the gentleman confessed to his daily drinking ritual – every evening, post work.

    Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.

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