“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running”— Groucho Marx, a well known American comedian has hit two birds with the same stone through this quote. While the first one depicts the exorbitant bills hospitals charge once a patient is ‘IN’ and the second one is a costly affair of traveling in a cab with its meter running like Usain Bolt.
Getting a Taxi or Auto rickshaw in wee hours of a day to hospitals for a medical emergency is like witnessing oasis in a desert. Thanks to App Based Taxi operators like OLA and UBER who have somewhat reduced the privation of fetching taxis. But for people having medical emergencies, getting Ambulance and Taxis in wee hours of a day is a nightmare even in metropolitan cities like Mumbai or Delhi, leave aside rural and suburbs.
While our ‘Real Hero’ for this post –Mr. Vijay Thakur, currently in his early 70s is not only a victim of not getting a taxi at the right time to admit his wife to the hospital but has also turned himself as a savior for all those who struggle to fetch a Taxi or ambulance in wee hours of the day.
The inside Story of Engineer- turned – Taxi Driver
Way back in 1982, Mr. Vijay Thakur, lost his yet to be born baby owing to the carelessness of Taxi drivers in not ferrying his three-month pregnant wife Mrs. Saroj to the hospital in odd hours of the day. Desperate Vijay ran to a far away Taxi stand and fetched a cab at an exorbitant price, But they couldn’t rescue their baby from a miscarriage.
This tragic incidence made Vijay take the biggest decision of his life as a consequence of which he took voluntary retirement from his high-paid engineer job at Larsen & Toubro. Further, he purchased a Premier-Padmini Fiat car for 66,000 INR and with the necessary Taxi-permit, started operating as a cab driver. From then onwards he is supporting those in a medical emergency to commute to the hospitals. A most astonishing aspect of Mr. Vijay’s work ethics is that hee never sleeps in wee hours of the day i.e. from 2 A.M to 4 P.M so that most needy people can get his support as minimum taxis ply in those hours.
This is how Vijay emphasizes his motto for adhering to taxi-driver shoes from that of an engineer—
“I was earning quite well in MNC so I could afford to pay at least double and hire a taxi. But I started thinking about those people who cannot even afford to hire an auto rickshaw.”
Also, Vijay handovers visiting card to those who will come across on his journey. The visiting card has these words—“My taxi service is available24/7 free of cost for a medical emergency.”
Mr. Vijay Thakur has completed nearly 33 years of service as the savior of patients. And he doesn’t regret the choice he made in 1984. Though initially his wife and family members persuaded him to revisit his decision he stuck to his objective firmly.
Tragedy Struck Twice
As mentioned earlier the first tragic incidence of losing his first baby due to miscarriage resulted in Mr. Vijay Thakur’s giving up mechanical engineer job and take up taxi driver’s role. But another tragic incidence happened in his life in the year 1999 when his younger son was hit by a cricket ball while playing and both Vijay and Saroj ignored it as a small cut that will get healed naturally. Unfortunately, the wound took cancerous form, and Vijay spent all his earnings to save his boy but in vein as he succumbed to death when he was 19 years old.
One incidence Mr. Vijay Recalls philosophically is as follows:
“I had to deposit 43000 INR as fees for my son’s treatment, but unfortunately I was short by 10 rupees, The hospital clerk refused to accept my deposit, But only after some stranger handed me that 10 rupees hospital people took my fees. This incidence further made me internally strong to serve the needy.”
Happy & Memorable Moments in his profession
Mr. Vijay Thakur’s area of operation is Mumbai city; it is the hub of Indian Hindi cinema –Bollywood. Around 15-20 years back, on the eve of the New Year, he was on his duty at around 3 A.M. and witnessed a car ramming against a tanker. A couple and eight-month-old baby were strangled within the car. Immediately he rescued them and admitted to Cooper hospitals. Unfortunately, the mother died while father and daughter survived. The lady was wearing jewelry worth 2 Lakhs when they met with the accident and hospital in charge handed over her belongings to Vijay. He promptly returned the jewelry to her relatives. For his surprise, the couple was noted Film producer Sudhakar Bokade and his wife. Mr. Sudhakar later tried to reward Vijay with cash, but he humbly rejected the offer. Vijay Thakur has categorically told in many interviews that his objective is not to get name and fame.
The next incidence he recalls happily is that of getting felicitated by Big-B Amitabh Bachchan in his show Aaj Ki Raat Hain Zindagi. The ceremony is a memorable one for Vijay due to two reasons, obviously, first one was getting felicitated by Mr. Bacchan and the second one is, he shared the dais with his favorite star Jeetendra. He admits that Tax Driving helped him to meet Jeetendra, which otherwise would have been just a dream in his life.
Currently, Mr. Vijay Thakur at the age of 74 is suffering from cervical spondylitis. This personality which has helped more than 500 patients is now in need of our help. Kalam Fan Club wishes him a better health and is proud to carry out a feature of this real life hero.