Auto Driver Chandra

Please try it yourself!

Try looking for ‘Bangalore auto driver complaints’ on google, well I did, out of curiosity and google threw up 7,79,000 results! Some of them read:

Harassed by auto drivers? Now you can do something…

Auto Complaint Bangalore – Android Apps on Google Play

How to Complain Against Meter Tampering by Auto …

And so on and so forth! Yes if you have had the misfortune of travelling in an auto, driven by a particularly nasty driver, you will understand what it means.

Recently, on my way back from work, I tried to get an auto to go home which is a distance of about 5 or 6 kilometres.  As usual one auto driver asked for Rs. 20 extra (above the meter fare) while another asked a round figure of Rs. 100.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt that if I just keep asking enough autos, without loosing my patience, I will eventually find one who agrees for the meter rate. As I turned down the third greedy driver, another auto who was patiently waiting came up to me and asked me ‘Madam, where do you want to go?’. I stated my destination and the man quietly turned the meter indicating he willing to take me. Happy that I got an auto within the 4th try, I got in.

As the driver swung onto the 80 feet road coming dangerously close to a lumbering BMTC bus, I involuntarily gasped. The very observant driver, Chandra told me reassuringly ‘Don’t worry madam, I have been driving an auto for nearly 27 years now and have not had any untoward incidents or accidents so far”.

Noticing that he was speaking in a dialect of Kannada which was from Uttara (North) Kannada, I started a conversation with him and I was happy I did that. Below is the gist of our chat:

Chandra owns the auto he was driving, he considers himself an entrepreneur and is proud to be one. He has worked for nearly 27 years and he never refuses a passenger nor does he charge them extra. He waits till the passenger has asked all the autos in the vicinity before he approaches them so as not to irritate the other drivers. He confidently told me that he earned quite well! He said he had invested well for his retired life…

Unable to contain my curiosity I probed to learn that Chandra was the owner of a 19 acre areca plantation! Chandra told me that he had saved judiciously and purchased land for 60 lakhs in the year 2006 in his native Honnavar. He said that his 3 sons Ravi, Vishwa & Kiran were settled there with their wives and were cultivating the property.


He proudly said ‘Madam  the property that I bought in the year 2006 for Rs. 60 lakhs is now valued at around Rs. 2 crores. My family works on the land (plantation) and it is enough to sustain us’.

He went on to tell me, ‘Madam, in a couple of years when I retire, my wife Kalyani and I intend to live in Honnavara, life there is so peaceful’. The pride in his voice was unmistakable.

By then we had reached my destination. I requested him for a photograph because I wanted to write about a ‘cool’ auto driver who is also a land owner by his perseverance and hard work…



While money is clearly a motivator at work, genuine appreciation and acknowledgement are what make us happy. Bob Nelson, an author and motivational speaker says, “More than anything else, employees want to be valued for a job well done by those they hold in high esteem.” 

In a recent CEO conclave a young person sitting next to me asked a question to the panelists ‘When the CEO is 30 plus, how can he motivate an employee who is 49 or 50’? Response he got from the panel was not clear. I wanted to tell the man, the age of the employee is irrelevant, what matters is the way in which you address him! If you take the stand of a ‘know-it-all’ (just because you’re the CEO), then there is little hope of you motivating him. However I held my silence as the question was not directed at me 🙂 but it set me thinking.

Corporate world is unforgiving and uncaring, contributions made are quickly forgotten. Initiatives taken by someone later becomes a mandate! Soon all sorts of experts spring from the inside and outside the organisation. The person who started the activity or the initiative is told ‘Don’t talk about history, I don’t want to know’, many experts little wonder enthusiasm just melts away.  The organization ends up having a bunch of Zombies, keeping busy in ‘activities’. The person is quickly branded as a negative person and kept away from the power houses!

What happens to such an employee? When career progression is not in sight and all one hears are empty promises, employee morale dips. When a business owner or the CEO sets his goals high he should also have a motivated team on his side, a team having an equally single-minded focus as the CEO.  Is it enough that the top 2 or 3% of the workforce is taken good care of? Will these people be able to motivate their individual teams to action, when they feel deprived? I feel it is imperative to have an energized team right up to the lowest level, they should want to contribute. Is it an ideal situation that I’m talking about here? May be, may not be; whatever level an employee is in, if he or she knows ‘what’s in it for me’ and if it appeals to him/her, then the CEO will have whole-hearted support from the work force. 

When compliments are paid grudgingly or an offer made in the form of a Watermelon: Red inside – Green outside, a barb covered by praise, it rings hollow! Statements like you’ll have ‘Horizontal growth’ which means you will not get a promotion but will get to do more work! Or, ‘we have Leaders without titles’; it’s to be read as ‘hey, this guy is on the lower rung of the corporate ladder’!  

So here my young ‘CEO’ friend, age does not matter, what matters is the feeling ‘I matter to you’.  When you speak to this ‘older’ employee, keep in mind that he is another ‘human being’ and can be a very useful resource to you and your organisation, if he feels cared for and valued as a person…

Boss or Supervisor?

I dislike the term ‘boss’, in my opinion it is slang. Most people in corporate circles associate the word with ownership, and expect ‘total’ loyalty from the subordinate. No one even pauses to think whether he/she deserves the loyalty from the subordinate and if so why? 

A subordinate who so much as dares to address the MD or Proprietor and not his immediate reporting officer, ‘Boss’ is severely dealt with. The fact that the ‘supervisor’ (if you please the ‘boss’) himself is in employment (of the organization/Proprietor/Management) and is entitled to be called ‘boss’, is most often forgotten. This subordinate may even face the consequence of a bad appraisal, as the ‘Supervisor’  get’s ‘emotional’ and is unable to excise his / her logic while doing the appraisal!

So let’s dwell on this topic a little further, whom should an employee’s loyalty lie with? Should it be with the organization, with the management or with his/her immediate supervisor? Who is responsible for the growth of the organization? Who is ensuring that the organization runs smoothly and grows? Such a person or a team of such persons, deserve loyalty and respect from the work force.

At no time, should the employee be totally subservient and forget his self-esteem. The employer-employee relationship is professional; the employee gets paid for the services he/she renders. So where is the question of subservience?  

For a healthy relationship at work place both the supervisor and the subordinate should learn to respect each other as individuals and support each other. An attitude of one-upmanship will only go so far and the dynamics of a workplace can turn a supervisor into a non-entity in no time.

The most important aspect is to help each other grow personally as well as professionally and build trust.