Friday, March 12, 2010

the taxi driver ..

its always interesting to talk to Taxi drivers in a foreign country and it becomes more interesting talking to migrated Indian taxi drivers.

On my way back to the Vancouver airport, boarded into the Yellow cab and we headed towards the airport. They taxi guy started to speaking to his colleague in Punjabi.. and since Vancouver has many Punjabis I naturally assumed he was here for a long time and probably could have carried over carried over his family business.

We start to talk.. he checks where I am from.. when I say HK but Bangalore is my city.. he says I should be in IT.. I don't blame him.. and before I say anything he says.. California is better for IT than here.. ( I think over shit I should have called Richie.. 16 hours time lag between HK/SFO is not good..).. I was like and then ask the akward question.. Are you from Vancover?

The next 15 mins the taxi guy talked and I listened.. he detailed me his journey to the west ..An an engineer with Computer programming skills he had flew into Canada looking for green pastures.. after 6 months of torturous job hunting .. (with work ex in India and skills sets in C++, Java etc).. he could not even land in a Data entry job.. Canadian job markets wasnt all that friendly to Indians back a decade ago..he explained.. after 6 months.. dude gets frustrated..gets drunk.. burns his certificates..and goes and gets a Truck driver license..

the next 4.5 years he drives all around NA to earn some money.. he says he was too ashamed to return to India broken.. though he dint tell and I think he messaged back home saying he was doing good in the IT world .. after 5 grueling years he settles down in Vancouver as a Taxi driver..

he further explains that back then Indian were considered illiterate in Canada as the majority of the Indians migrated had family connections who were flew in to work in farms and garages.. and he said that in an accented English.. (our conversation until now was in Hindi).. at the end he says its good that guys like you who have degrees and work in good jobs visit Canada .. he added that in the past few years the Indians migrating were more educated than he was and were landing into White collared jobs..

He ended saying that this helped raising the stature of Indians in Canada.. I dont know if the path he chose was right or wrong.. he made $35 on the journey today.. if he does 10 journey per day he makes 350 bucks or 4000 CAD / month.. thats a lot of money.. but could he have gone back and done better in India? is money the only motto he had? were his folks unforgiving if he had returned broken? or was he just too petrified of being a laughing stock??

what was the reason to become a truck driver who knows C++ and Java.. were there 10 sad stories behind every success story of an expat Indian.. i have heard that in NZ there are many instances of engineers and other indian graduates with masters ending as taxi drivers.... just had a first hand encounter with one today..

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