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A couple of months back, I flagged down an autorickshaw to travel a very short distance. I got in and looked up to the driver to tell my destination but paused for about ten seconds before blurting out my destination.
The driver looked different. I suddenly had a flurry of thoughts in my head but was not ready to speak out any of them. Will I offend the driver? how do I say? what do I say?
I reached my destination, got off, turned to pay my fare and then I casually asked, “Do you stay close by or drive long distance?” The driver said with a smile, “Distance does not matter to me.”
The friendly demeanor gave me the confidence to tell the driver that it was such a delight to see young women driving autorickshaws in the city suburbs. I asked her name and even clicked a picture that she gladly agreed to let me take.
She is Sonali Shankarpatange.


I later introspected about my hesitation. I have seen many lady cabs and van drivers but for autorickshaws, it was a first for me. I felt my hesitation was about phrasing my appreciation and spontaneity. Sometimes we take so long to appreciate, maybe due to an inner conflict of should I or should I not?

We need to break that habit and be more spontaneous in our appreciation and make it a part of our culture. A compliment; however short can make anyone’s day!

Have you had similar feelings at any time, do share your experiences with me!