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Life behind the wheel

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vikash Ram, maybe a victim of discrimination when it comes to driving a taxi.

But the 33-year-old man from Raiwaqa on the outskirts of Suva is totally in control behind his wheels.

Growing up in a single bedroom house with three siblings and his mother, Ram did not really understand fully the meaning of life until he decided to venture into the taxi business.

He has been working behind that wheel for the past 12 years and never at any moment in his life as a taxi driver regretted this choice he has made.

His journey has been hectic yet fascinating. Ram grew up in Raiwaqa with his siblings and mother after his father passed away when he was only eight.

Being the eldest of three boys, his role required a lot of patience and dedication to put food on the table and provide his family with the best necessities.

He attended DAV Boys College until Form Four when he decided to close his books and look for a job to support his family.

He had worked in a printing press and garage but he could not ask for more when he sees passengers get off his taxi smilingly after being dropped off at their various destinations. Ram described his work as fun, satisfying and interesting.

He is based outside McDonald's in the Capital City. "My life has revolved around the taxi where I get to meet new people everyday," Mr Ram said.

"This is one job where people like me are victims of discrimination because of the nature of our work," he explained.

"People see us as low class and many passengers do not respect us," he said.

Nevertheless, Ram said his job was to give his customers the best services knowing that their safety was in his hands.

Ram is the only one in Fiji while his family resides in New Zealand.

Questioned on whether he would one day leave Fiji to reunite with his family in NZ was not answered as he bowed his head and whispered, "Fiji is paradise, I love it here and I will continue as a taxi driver no matter what. We've had our bad and good times, but taxi drivers have shared a special bond where we share first hand news," he said.

"Taxi drivers know a lot, if you ask a taxi driver of any issue in Fiji, they will tell you all the information needed, and most times we love to share our opinions and debate on issues," he added.

Ram said no one needed to obtain qualifications to live a successful life. It only takes commitment, hard work and most of all believing in yourself.

For Ram his life as a taxi driver requires loads of patience and dedication not only for the safety of his passengers but certainly for all road users.

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