Continued from Part 1:
Jai had started his taxi service about 10 years ago with a loan from family & friends. He bought a taxi & ran it itself. Then as the work expanded, one of his close friends joined him. We shall call him Gabbar (!)
Together Jai & Gabbar grew the business to 10 taxis, most of them financed by their earnings and Jai’s wife’s jewellery. As the business grew, Jai took to drink to escape the pressures. Gabbar encouraged him. After drinking, Jai would become violent, beat his wife, scream at his kids, and break things. Then Jai fell seriously ill. Gabbar told him he would run the business like his own. And he did. He changed the signboard, and started running the business as his own. He even contacted the IT company, and convinced them to give the contract to him.
Jai could only watch his business going away bit by bit from him. His drivers started deserting him. And in the end he was left with his old Ambassador with an empty fuel tank, no customers, and an illness that kept him confined to his bed most of the time. His kids were starving. He turned to prayer, praying day & night to Devi. He said he would never take a drink again, if only she would forgive his sins, and save him.
This was right about the time Veeru’s life took turned really hectic (refer part 1). He started taking a cab home every day. And since he was slow to change, and had Jai’s number on his desk, he always called that number. Despite the fact that the company had a contract with Gabbar! For 6 months, while Veeru cursed his life, Jai praised his Gods that he had a passenger at 500 rupees a night, 6 nights a week. He managed to pay off most of his debts, bought another cab, and even managed to get back most of his drivers who were getting tired of Gabbar’s high-handed ways. He even managed to wrest back the contract from the IT company, when a senior executive complained of Gabbar’s rudeness.
But he never forgot his bad days, and as he said “Only 2 things stood between me & suicide Sir! My wife & kids, and your business. I praise the Devi for having brought you to me. Thank you sir!”
Years later, Veeru told me this story ending with “I do not know whether there is a God. But I do believe that human beings lead lives which are curiously intertwined, which intersect at odd moments. So the next time you feel you are going through a tough time, look closely. It might be a way towards the improvement of another life.”