People Tell the Story: India

Posted by on Apr 7, 2013 in India, People Tell the Story | 3 comments

After two days in Delhi, we hired a driver to take us through Rajasthan for 12 days. These drivers typically leave their families for days to weeks at a time. Although it takes them away from home, it’s a profession that should provide comfortably for the family. For travelers, it’s a convenient and affordable way to bypass India’s public transportation system if you are short on time. A local hotel in Pahar Ganj organized a driver for us and set us up with Anil, a man who is extremely passionate about his work and giving travelers a unique experience. Anil has been navigating tours all over India for the last 18 years. His tour clients have ranged from teenagers on a tight budget to retirees with luxury in mind. Anil entertained us with stories about his country, immersed us in cultural experiences we would have never sought out, and quickly became a good friend. Here are some thoughts from Anil regarding his native India:  
 
Name: Anil 
Age: 40 years old
Hometown: Delhi, India
Occupation: Tourist driver
Anil Chai
 
What 3 words would you use to describe your country?
Big
Beautiful
Spiritual
 
What 3 words would you use to describe the people of your country?
Happy
Satisfied 
Greedy (the rich people)
 
What is the top priority of the people in your country?
Family (for most) – the goal is to make your family happy and to give them a good life. This reality is only apparent through the middle class. The rich are constantly chasing money. They can do or buy anything, but only money makes them happy. And although some beggars can actually make 1000 rupees per day, they’re rarely happy either. It’s impossible to feel happy about their family when their kids are living on the street and most likely getting into drugs. To truly be happy, we need to find the right mix of money to provide and time spent with the family.
 
How do people typically make a living?
The younger generation is moving away from the farm and into the city (Delhi) for the government jobs – official, municipal, electric, hospital, etc. Children and their families want to be closer to the city for better education and better opportunity for work. There is no longer enough money in farming. Retirement pension from the government jobs is another benefit to vying for this type of work.
 
If not farming, the older generation is running their own business. The business is run out of their home or close enough to allow for a lot of time with the family. This is why you see so many stands and kiosks that look like the front of someone’s home. 
 
What is your favorite place to visit?
Karla in southern India, just past Goa (popular beach destination). It’s very green, there is no pollution and it’s very quiet and peaceful. The people are decent and it’s not touristy (no local Indian tourists either). It’s mostly pristine countryside, but there are two or three very clean beaches as well.
 
 
When we booked the tour, we knew that the driver could really make or break the next 12 days. Would he speak good enough English? Would he be a decent guy? Would he try to scam us at certain places along the way? There were plenty of questions that ran through our minds as we made our way to get picked up. Within a few minutes, Anil alleviated any lingering questions or concerns. We knew right from the start that we had a good driver.
 
Anil turned out to be more of a friend than a driver. His devotion to customer satisfaction was apparent everyday. He took us to local roadside chai stands, tasty restaurants down hidden alleyways and into peoples’ homes to observe gem cutting, block printing and spice making. He shared his insight and knowledge on every landmark, taught us about the different religions and let us into his life as a local. Anil’s commitment to work and family is inspiring. He followed his passion and opted to lead tours instead of the more lucrative and respected professions that his family approved of. Anil has even gone against the cultural norm to support his daughters’ education and chooses to treat them as well as he would treat a son (sadly this choice has caused him to be exiled from the family. . .only boys are typically given the opportunity for private education). By the third day, Anil referred to us as family and we were helping him set up a website for his own travel company that he’s finally ready to launch. We’ll always remember Anil for for his professionalism and friendship. We would recommend him to any traveler interested in visiting India.

3 Comments

  1. Pretty good mike….tour guide as well as a drinking buddy!!

  2. So glad you had Anil. He sounds awesome.

  3. Wonderful story. How fortunate that you had Anil. Love, Gram

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