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“Hum to Mishra hain. Hari Shankar Mishra. Zyada tar log hume Pandit Ji keh kar bulate hain. Kisi ne ek baar naam bula diya Driver Sahab, toh ho gye Driver Sahab. Ab sab Driver Sahab bulate hain”.

[I’m Mishra, Hari Shankar Mishra. Most of the people call me Pandit Ji. Once someone called me Driver Sahib, I became Driver Sahib for all. Now everyone calls me Driver Sahib]


Hari Shankar Mishra, Taxi Driver, Mumbai (Photograph with permission)

“Now see, some years back, I met this boy in Mumbai. He had a very beautiful sister staying in our village, Sripur, 60kms from Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

We were also searching for a beautiful girl for my nephew. This girl was so pretty that their marriage became the talk of the village. Everybody was wondering how this marriage is so beautiful.

Her name was Pinki. Marriage and everything happened but she died.
She must be having severe stomach ache since quite a few days, she had told her brother as well. One night, she got this peculiar pain in her abdomen. Since it was too late at night, my nephew called the nearby doctor. This doctor injected her with some medicine- as soon as she was injected, she died.
I think she underwent the pain of her appendix. As it is she was undergoing trouble for past few days and as soon as the doctor injected her, the appendix must’ve blasted. Now, who in the world can save someone with an appendix blast! She died on the spot.

I felt very sad. She was so beautiful and moreover, my nephew was too young to lose a wife. After all the crying and mourning was done, my wife suggested getting a post-mortem of the body done.

“What if the brother registers a case tomorrow? What will you prove with her ashes?” she asked.
I then called him and asked if he had any doubts about us.

“Why are you even speaking this Uncle? Whatever has happened is in front of all of us,” he said.
Still, I took him to the Panchayat and we gave our statements. It’s better to be safe in such cases.

After we came back home, along with 30 men, we went to burn her dead body.

It was not even a year when we started getting newer proposals for my nephew. Beautiful proposals.
But I told everybody we wouldn’t do anything till we complete at least one year of Pinki’s death.

Then we found this young girl, she was prettier than Pinki. Moreover, she was a Graduate, my nephew was less educated. So we got them married. The entire village was gossiping about us- well, bachelors weren’t getting even one girl to marry and here was my nephew, the second girl was also so beautiful.

Now the only tension is to get my youngest daughter married. It’s too much of expenditure, let’s see. We found this one boy – his family is also good. He earns around Rs 30,000-35,000 per month. I really like him but first I’ll divide the expenses with my brother for the current marriage at home. I’m hoping to get her married by next year”.