Ramana lost his wife during 2nd wave of COVID19. There is a void; he cannot fill. He was under severe depression and, at times, thought of ending his life. He consoles himself that he did everything by his means, from running to a hospital to bribing for a hospital bed or paying an inflated price to oxygen cylinders to taking immediate cash by depositing gold.

Ramana’s daughter, Mala, lives in England with her family and a 10-year-old child. She could not attend her mother’s last rites due to lockdown. She has been persuading her father to move with them. But Ramana being a free bird, likes living on his terms, essentially freedom.

I was sitting with Ramana and smoking bidi near Basawangudi Bull Temple while appreciating the beauty of garland-laden newly purchased auto. He told me that I had to wait till 9:30 am to join him on the maiden ride. The priest has not come yet for puja.

I asked Ramana, what was the need for driving an auto, he could relax, read and be with himself on which Ramana interrupted saying, he has no plans of dying in boredom and loneliness. He likes talking, mingling with the crowd, and eating at the old shops. Ramana’s daughter Mala wanted to buy him a car, but Ramana wanted an auto. It requires less maintenance and is more mobile.

I could see his eyes being numb and, he confessed educating her daughter was the best decision of his life. He is not worried about his survival. His end meets are taken care of by Mala. This auto-driving is to keep him active.

I had a customer meeting at 9, so I left wishing Ramana good luck. I am hopeful of riding on his auto someday and continue our conversation.