Born in January 1999, Durgesh Sharma hails from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Daughter of Mr. Brijlal, a truck driver, and Mrs. Lakshmidevi, Durgesh is presently studying at Kishori Raman P.G. College, Mathura. In future, she wants to work with a public sector bank.
It has been 20 years that my father is driving a truck. In a job, employees are promoted with experience. For a truck driver the only promotion is that their reflex gets sharper with driving under all kinds of adverse conditions and they gain a sharp presence of mind to survive during mishaps on the road!
My father drives very carefully though. God forbid, he has never had any such life-threatening experiences. But it gets very difficult to drive at night. As much as we trust my father’s skills, the family isn’t free from its insecurities. When my father doesn`t come in his usual time we get really worried. “Times are bad”, elders discuss among themselves. “God will protect.” A chill runs down our spine when we hear such words. True that, times are bad. What are we without father? Just nothing! My whole family knows that our life, without my father is not possible. We all live happily together only because the presence of my father offers that unconditional shelter over our heads.
My father always tries to discourage our emotional dependence on him. “Difficulties may come in our life but we shouldn’t let them scare us. We all are very powerful and don’t realize our potentials. During difficult times, we need to be strong, that is when the difficulties would fear us.” He says. We listen to him, but can’t internalise it completely. A gripping fear chases us always, whenever he doesn’t return in time. On one such occasion, when he was very late, we were in panic. We tried to call him too, but he didn`t receive our calls. We all got really tensed and tried to contact his friends. They helped us to contact my father. Only after talking to him, could we breathe in relief!
I have learnt many things from my father’s experience. He always tells me that all the people are equal and we mustn’t be impartial to any person. “What people do for you, it doesn`t matter. But what you do for them, defines you.” He says.
Uttar Pradesh is a state which has the largest number of road related accidents occurring daily. There is no guarantee of your safety because the recklessness of another driver on the same road can also affect you adversely. Once when my father was driving his truck, a biker speeding through the opposite side slipped dangerously and clashed against the truck. He was under the influence of alcohol, which led to the accident. Many people stopped their vehicles and rushed in to see what had happened! The reaction of the people towards my father were shocking. They behaved as if he was at fault because he was driving the bigger vehicle. They never realised that a bigger vehicle is more difficult to manoeuvre when a bikes speeds up carelessly and unexpectedly.
The concerned biker, who was injured but not serious, was driven by both egoistic and ill motives anyway. He never came forward to speak the truth, perhaps afraid of a potential liability or to simply avoid harassment from the police.
At times I wonder, why aren’t the truck drivers given their due respect? Why are they judged and humiliated so easily? They have to do the work that many others won’t have the stamina or attitude to do. They often have to drive for long sleepless hours. One small mistake can be fatal for themselves, along with others.
“Thinking of all people are not always the same,” my father assures. “Don’t spoil yourself by thinking bad about others.”
My father is not a rich person but he is very rich by heart. He is impartial towards boys and the girls in the family. All of us have been given the same freedom, at different stages of our growth. He has made us study in a good English medium school, and has worked very hard to gather the money. ”Education is very important. An illiterate person can do nothing in his life. So, knowledge is God.” He advises. I do understand where my father is coming from. He is my hero. I hope to be as hardworking and responsible as him and strive to achieve our joint dreams.
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