It started with a Humans of Bombay’s post about an ordinary Taxi driver with an extraordinary story. Intrigued by it, we decided to take it a step further.
One sultry afternoon, we approached his neighbourhood, where we sat with him at a nearby tea stall and discussed how his life had unfolded; a story that had touched millions of hearts across the country.
Vijay Thakur, a 75 year old Taxi driver and here’s his story –
“One night, my pregnant wife began to experience sudden pain in her abdomen. It was 3am and no cab stopped for us, despite my desperate pleas. At the time, I was an engineer at Larsen and Toubro, earning Rs. 65000 a month. However, it was at that moment I realised that money could not get you through everything. My wife had suffered a miscarriage that night and for me, it was a turning point in life. I gave up my career and began to drive a taxi, running an ambulance service free of cost, for all those who need to get to the hospital, at any hour of the night. Driving a taxi earns me Rs. 10,000 a month, but the happiness I get from doing this service, is priceless.
As of today, I am 75 years old and have transported hundreds of emergency cases to the hospital, only because I do not want anyone else to go through what I did, years ago.”
Story courtesy : Humans of Bombay
We felt a story like Vijay Thakur’s needed a canvas. And so, along with the designer, Poorva Shingre, we decided to realise it on a Taxi Fabric in his taxi itself. Vijay's noble deeds speak volumes and the Taxi Fabric is a small token of appreciation for his humanity.
Interacting with him on a personal level, she learnt more about his life, interpreting it into beautiful illustrations along the way.
While narrating his account, Vijay spoke very fondly about his daughter, Khushi, who has brought great joy into his life. “She inspires me to do the same for others everyday,” he adds.
Thus, we felt it was appropriate to dedicate the Taxi Fabric to his daughter. And so, Vijay’s taxi came to be known as Khushi’s Ambulance.
The taxi-ambulance comes alive with playful illustrations of our hero, Vijay and his daughter, Khushi, spreading joy and warmth to all those in need of it. “These illustrations speak of his love and determination to help others in emergencies,” says Poorva.
While she was excited about creating the design, Poorva also felt that a huge responsibility was resting on her shoulders. “I was worried about being able to do justice to the story of Mr. Vijay Thakur.”
Justice was done indeed. On seeing his Taxi transformed with tales of his own heroism, Vijay was overwhelmed. He pointed to his own character and smiled.
So, who wouldn’t love a spoonful of ice-cream and a sprinkle of kindness? With its interiors exuding happiness, Khushi’s Ambulance is bound to bring a smile to your face, too.
Written by Isha Jhunjhunwala
Photographs by Mayur Mengle , Niqita Gupta and Siddharth Samant.