A Tough Life

P. Nisha

P.Nisha, daughter of the truck driver Mr. S. Palaniappan and Mrs. P. Shakunthala hails from Sankari,Tamil Nadu. She was born in January1999. She is a student of B.Sc. Bio Technology.

My father  is a driver for the last twenty-six years. He has driven through many states and  has seen many accidents. Though my father is not keeping well for a while,  he ensures that goods reach the right place at the right time. The demands of the job take a toll on long-haul truck drivers like my father. Many drivers develop poor eating habits, often consuming fatty foods. The drivers have higher rates of everything associated with obesity. They have bad knees, shoulders and backs. Lack of sleep and rest is the main reason of their poor health. My father too, has pushed his body to limits in order to adapt to the increasing demands for efficiency because he has to earn for our sake. Every time I see him walking with a bent back or complaining about headache or pain in some other part of his body, I feel guilty. I feel helpless for not being able to help him and shoulder all his responsibilities.

He no longer looks younger than he is and we can see that something is not right. He tires easily, and many things are now difficult for him to do or take a little longer than it would have normally. When we ask him to go to a doctor for a checkup, he refuses.

As he goes to distant  places,  he is unable  to be with us in many auspicious as well as sad moments in the family. During night,  he  listens to music to overcome fatigue. His assistant will continuously engage in conversation with him.

Sometimes, when the goods are delivered some cordial relationships do develop with the owners. Bad things  also happen. When they go through unknown places they go in a convoy of three or four vehicles. On the way,  they develop a good camaraderie.  My father shares his experiences  of all his trips with me. I have learnt from his narrations that truck driving is one of the most arduous and distressful ways of earning livelihood. Drivers have to survive through the vagaries of the nature and the men. There is no support, no help and no respite. At times, I   feel sad about my father’s falling  health conditions and desperately want time to pass by quickly making me capable of supporting my father. I want to become a helping hand rather than being a liability to him, as soon as possible.

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