Hello, Mumbai! — 5
When you knock on his castle-like 25th-floor residence in the farthest corner of the posh Hiranandani Estate, Thane, Mumbai overlooking the backwater flowing a few hundred meters away from his balcony on a leisurely Sunday evening, Amit Dhume is in his casuals and unshod.
We knew each other for quite some time, but this was our maiden mulaqat. At the back of my mind, his LinkedIn profile with neckwear on the podium keeps dancing. During his Coca-Cola days in Gurgaon, we tried interacting, but it did not transpire.
My interest in his was his latest focus on helping truck drivers mired in accidents through technology intervention. Hospitalization and legal challenges drivers face on highways.
A man full of ideas. Did he inspire the likes of Jehaan Kotwal and the LOTS gang? I won’t be surprised if the answer is in the affirmative because Dhume knows most of these promoters and has previously brainstormed his ideas with them. The big difference is that they went ahead and launched their abhiyan in whatever format. Dhume watches all truck driver-focused activities of various stakeholders from his 25th-floor perch. A bird’s eye view. Rather an eagle view.
Dhume does not mince words. Nobody is serious about driver welfare. All talk. No walk. Imagine what happens if the drivers block the movement of trucks in an industrial estate for a few days. The industry will get jittery. Politicians also lose sleep. But the disunity among truckers/drivers is taken advantage of by others. “The day they show their collective muscle, all will surrender and concede whatever they ask for,” observes Dhume.
I cannot help but admit (and admire!) that we were on the same page. I walk out of his castle with his parting shot: fear is the key. Drivers, the so-called backbone of the economy tag bestowed on them by all and sundry, are unaware of their hidden weapon. When they do, their living and working conditions will improve. The big question is: when?
Will it be in my lifetime? I am clueless.