In Conversation With—A Snooty Driver

conservative-auto-rickshaw driver

This auto-rickshaw driver was quite frustrated when I sat in his vehicle. It as night time and I am sure he must have had a challenging day. We had a striking conversation:

Whats’wrong uncle? Why are you so frustrated tonight?

What should I tell you? Let it go.

No. Tell me.

Maybe, I can be of assistance.

This girl who just the auto-rickshaw was acting very smart.


She clicked the photographs of my auto-rickshaw at the start of the journey and also asked me to show my driver license etc.

What’s wrong in that?

No one has ever done this to me before.

But uncle, this has nothing to do with you. It’s for her safety and security. Times are difficult and good to share your travel information with family or a friend. She must have done this to send information to someone at home or a friend.

Nonsense. These young girls have too much freedom now-a-days.

But everyone has and must have freedom to live life as per their wish.

I don’t know but too much freedom for women is bad. See the clothes they wear?

What happened to their clothes?

They wear such a short clothes. She was wearing a mini skirt. No one in my home or family is allowed to do so.


I don’t like what’s going on now-a-days.

But uncle, the world isn’t your home or family. There are hundreds of countries. cultures, belief systems and everyone is different. This world is a unique place, and that’s the core of unity in diversity. Let’s not become a moral police.

After the last line I spoke, we never talked the entire journey. I don’t intend to change him immediately but maybe, he’ll give it a thought one day and respect freedom of expression; whether it’s language, clothes or whatever.


In Conversation With—A Horny Auto-Rickshaw Driver

horny rickshaw driver.jpg

Here is a beautiful conversation I had with an auto-rickshaw driver who was using the horn relentlessly and then apologized with a promise to transform. There was so argument, debate, rather a compassionate communication between us:

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

It’s a habit.

I don’t think it’s a good one. Would you like to change it?

No, why? Everyone honks.

Everyone does so many things that are bad, do you want to do it too?


Everyone does so many good things, do you want to do too?

Don’t talk too much in the morning time. We’ll have an argument.

No, we’ll have a discussion and learn each other’s perspective. And we’ll also know each other better this way.

That is so true.

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

The auto-rickshaw from the side might come ahead of me, so I am honking.

You want to go ahead?

Yes. Who doesn’t want to?

I don’t want to. We can go slow.

I haven’t seen anyone like you before.

That auto-rickshaw is also one of us. He’s not a terrorist that you’re getting so upset or frustrated with him. We don’t need to go ahead—go slow. Nothing is at stake. Let’s bring love and compassion in our driving as we do in our relation.

Yes. You have a point.

But if honking is so bad, why does company manufacture it and give it inside a car? Stop the horns first.

The same way the manufacturer gives us tongue. We have given it for a reason—let’s not use it to hurt people. If your tooth bites your tongue, will you break your teeth?

I got your point.

And there is a huge awareness created in the country for no-honking. One old man from north India has given all his life for no-honking campaign.

I am extremely sorry. I’ll take care next time.

See, it’s good to talk and discuss.

You’re very right. And form today, I’ll try to honk less.

All the best. You’re a true hero.


Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

Oh, sorry, sorry. This will take time.


Simple. Whatever the question, love is the answer. There’s always a way—most of the time it’s love.

In Conversation With—A Money-rich Man


Recently, I visited a billionaire to record his video testimony for a project.  I don’t know what happened, but he suddenly started some out-of-the-context conversation:

Do you like my mansion?

Yes, almost.

What do you mean A-L-M-O-S-T?

Almost means, nothing can be achieved 100%.

Do you know how much this home costs?

No idea.

It’s worth billions.

Wait, I’ll show you my cars. Come.


See the fleet?


I’ve 10 servants to serve me day and night.

You mean, do you consider humans as servants? I thought that was an ancient concept.

Nonsense. They’re all my servants.

See all this luxury, son. I earned it.

Nice. But your eyes say something and your lips say something else.

Bullshit! Are you mad? Look at all I have. People don’t have enough to eat and I party day and night.  People don’t have water to drink and I possess this huge swimming pool. This is my success and I am happy.

Nice. But you call all these little things success? happiness?


Who is there to talk to you?

No one.

Where are your children?

In the USA.

I think this is the last line he spoke before pushing me out of his home. I don’t know what ignited anger in him but I am still wondering that does all these little things mean success and happiness? I think—maybe—he’s just a man with lots of money and nothing else; but it’s quite subjective.

In Conversation With—Coconut Amma

coconut water vendor.jpg

Once upon a time, I was walking on the beautiful streets of Puducherry and I noticed the famous woman coconut vendor—Coconut Amma. I couldn’t stop and we had a striking conversation:

Mother, please give me coconut water.

Water or creamy? Take the creamy one, it’s sweeter.

Yummy, it’s so sweet and cold.

You’re the first woman coconut vendor I have seen in my life.

Women are now in outer space, why shouldn’t I be selling coconut water?

She really inspired me. I’ll never forgot this conversation and the lesson that women are everywhere.

In Conversation With—A Garbage Collector

garbage collector.jpg

I met this garbage collector many days ago. I can’t forget the moments we spent together. He was such a gentleman and we had a spectacular conversation:

What are you collecting?


Oh, you sell plastic and earn, is it?

Yes, I am poor rag-picker, Sir.

My name is not Sir. I have a name.

How much do you earn by selling these plastic bottles?

Rs. 300-350 per day.

This is good. Do you send your children to school?

Yes, I send my younger child to municipal school.

What about the elder child?

He’s mind-less, so…

Isn’t all humanity mindless?

LOL! You can say that, you’re a big man.

I am not big man. I have a name.

What’s your duty-timings?


You’re BATMAN!


Anyway, do others like you fight with each other?

No, we do it with togetherness. We have defined our area and scope of work.

I hope leaders of the country learn from you.

You are rich people, you can say anything.

I am not rich. I have a name. What is yours?


My name is Agastya.

What do you do Agastya?

I listen.


Anyway, I meet people and write stories. Has anybody talked to you like this before?

Never. You’re the first one.

Can I be of service? Can I offer you some money or stuff for children or home?

No, no, no. You have asked and that is enough for me.

Have you met God?


Do you see God in me?

Garbage is my God.

I realized God while cleaning utensils—I could see the almighty in the happiness, the utensils, the sweat but I never visualized this angle in my entire life.

In Conversation With—A Piece of Roti


I have started walking in morning; in my housing society compound. Since many days, I had been noticing pieces of roti on the back side. I was curious to know who keeps there pieces there and why the pieces are kept there. I couldn’t resist and one fine day, I and the lonely pieces had a conversation:

How come you’re here?

The lady on the **** floor threw me away.

What do you mean threw you away? Aren’t you the one the whole world is fighting for?

Maybe, but I am out because I wasn’t required.

But why?

The lady throws one of us out daily, if we’re left. She doesn’t like to waste food, so she throws us out for the pigeons or dogs.

Does pigeons or dogs eat you?


WTF! Then what’s your future?

Just that of a garbage. The sweeper puts me into the dustbin—end of my life cycle.

Good, at least in the end, mother Earth will consume you.


Why no?

I get wrapped inside a plastic bag and kept to decompose for days but I don’t get to reach the soil.

I am sorry.

You should be. Can you help me?

No. I mean, I don’t know. Let me see.

It’s so strange that food ends up being wasted every day. Neither it’s recycled, nor does it feed any species. The people who has intention to feed waste food to non-human species throw it away, rather than feeding it to them—with dignity and love.

In many belief systems, it’s a good practice to feed the waste food to non-human species but feed not throw waste food at them. There is difference between offering food and throwing it so that someone gets fed. I hope people will realize it soon—before the same happens to them.


In Conversation With—Hair Color


I had been to saloon the other day. Every-time I go the staff, one of them is always after my life to color my hair. This time something different happened. While I was waiting for my turn for a haircut, I had a striking conversation with the hair color kit sitting in front of me:

Let me color your hair?

But it’s already black? Right?

No no, I can see many white hairs. Let’s color them.

But white is also a color right?

You’re right in a way but people usually hide their white hairs.

And, why is it?

They don’t want to look old—grown up, that’s why?

But I want to look old—rather a grown up. Besides color has nothing to do with age.

Oops, you’re a weird man!

Indeed, I am.

I don’t understand why people are in constant quest for looking young, and that too by hiding their hair color. Although, it’s quite personal choice but what’s wrong with accepting age with grace? Besides, youth this a state of mind, a vision and a mental culture. I feel strange when we tag black with young age and white with old age. Ridiculous.