I was going to make this post about the beauty of Gangtok-I was there for a holiday and loved it! The pictures say it all don’t they?
But this isn’t gonna be about my experience while rafting down the Teesta river, or the fact that I could see the moon at 12 pm, or the Chinese soldiers at the border (Nathu La pass) who were dying to take pictures with me *it was hilarious*. The highlight is not the ICL team’s players whom I saw at the airport, or watching the sun set at 5 pm every day, or even a pollution-free Gangtok devoid of traffic jams. My post is about car drivers…
About 30 odd cars (Innova and Tavera) and their drivers were at our service for 6 days, and we made complete use of them. Most of our day was usually spent in travelling to far off places on twisted roads with hair-pin bends. Hats off to the drivers for being so wonderful. Plus, they were really friendly and gave us a lot of information about the place. And every time I requested, they played latest Hindi/Punjabi songs on the stereo at a really high volume!
But little did I know that they were being treated like filth. On the last day my car’s driver was telling me what he and the others had to endure during the 6 days there-HELL. They were promised rooms to stay in, but didn’t get any. In that cold weather they used to sleep in their respective cars. There was 1 bathroom for them, but no water in there; they hadn’t showered for SIX whole days! Plus, they weren’t even given any food, even though they were told that food would be provided. They were left to fend for themselves. And the one time they were given, it was the previous day’s leftovers. No wonder they gave all the cheese sandwiches to the monkeys on the roads instead!
I can’t understand this inhuman behavior. Not even water for showers? How pathetic is that? Here I was relishing my chocolate soufflé and taking several helpings of the fried fish for dinner, while they ate badly made momos to fill their stomach.
In a Capitalist society we exploit those who we can. True. And it’s probably fair too. But this kind of disgusting treatment is beyond me. They are working bloody hard and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not like beggars at traffic signals.
*This was written in October 2008..posted a little late