Driving in twilight of life

Driving in twilight of life

Driving in twilight of life

Krishna Kamath in his autorickshaw. dh Photo

In contrast, gutsy men on the wrong side of 70 venture on to the roads in their autorickshaws and criss-cross the length and breadth of the City from morning to late in the night. A typical case is that of 72-year-old K Krishna Kamath.

A native of Kinnigoli near Udupi, Kamath landed in Bangalore in the late 60s and after a short stint as a driver for a nationalised bank, decided to make a living driving an autorickshaw.

“In most cases, the passengers jaw drops when they sees me and after they hop into my vehicle, the first question they  shoots is, 'how old are you?’ Next comes the query why I am slogging at this ripe age.

“I am tired of answering these questions but I understand their inquisitiveness and I end up pouring out my heart. I don't have sons and I'm blessed with two daughters. The younger one suffers from cerebral palsy. But I have no regrets. “God has gifted me with a lovely wife and sound health. I will sweat it out until my last breath,” says Kamath.

Over all these years, every day, every trip has been a learning experience. The City has undergone tremendous changes. “Those days, there was a great demand for autos, and drivers, especially. There were hardly any good arterial roads. Though we used to earn around Rs 90 a day, we were happy and got back home peacefully. Today, to move from one area to another is a daunting task.

“I have never said 'no' to any passenger unless I am heading home in KS Layout at the end of the day. The City has given me so much and I can only return the favour by serving its residents with a smile.”

“There is no age restriction  to drive an autorickshaw, classified as a transport vehicle,”
says Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety Bhaskar Rao. “Apart from holding a valid driving licence, every auto driver is issued a badge. A medical certificate is required to be produced annually stating that the licence holder is deemed fit to drive the vehicle.”
The mature 70-plus pilots of the ubiquitous three-wheelers have proved equal to the task.