Drivers are the heart and soul of a wonderful road trip, and we often underestimate their importance in making our getaways a success. A driver’s humility, attention to detail, hard effort, perseverance, and endurance elevate him above the ordinary. We sincerely believe in honoring our drivers, and we believe it is important to recognise these hidden heroes so that you may hear their stories as well. In this edition of the driver diaries, we speak to Gopinath, a Savaari driver from Bangalore. Gopinath has been working with Savaari for over 2 years. Here is a glimpse of his professional and personal interests.
How would you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Gopinath and I am a resident of Bangalore. I have been driving for almost half my life now, and at this point, it is more than just a job for me now. My love for travel, exploration, and breaking away from the barriers of daily life in exchange for stories, adventures, and memories I make on the road keeps me going.
When did it all start?
I started young as a goods carrier driver, and now I drive people to where they want to go. I accompany people on their adventures and ensure they safely reach their destination.
How would you describe your life as a cab driver?
Many people think that being a driver is low-class in nature. They believe that there’s no respect, no meaning to it, and usually less money involved. However, I want to prove everyone wrong. I have been driving for more than 20 years, and my experience so far has been enriched with new experiences every day and a growing love for unexplored landscapes. I know most of these streets like the back of my hand. I meet many interesting people daily and take home so many incredible stories.
Any memorable incidents during your trips that you remember?
One of my most memorable experiences was driving a group of 20 young boys and girls from Bangalore to Munnar. The vibrant energy of the crowd took me back to my youth. It almost felt like I was back in my old days, traveling with my friends from my hometown. The road to Munnar was filled with music, stories, and a whole lot of laughter.
The group asked for my suggestions while in Munnar and changed their entire itinerary based on my recommendations. We stopped at several pit stops, took many pictures along the route, and shared delicious meals along the way. Those five days are some of my fondest memories to date. Although I have covered the same route more than 30 times, I will never forget that journey and the thrill of discovery I felt on the road with them.
Which is your favorite route and why?
My favorite route is from Bangalore to Ooty via the Kalhatty Ghats. The experience of traveling on that route varies from enjoying nature at its rawest best to navigating seamlessly through the wilderness, which is thrilling at night. Driving past a herd of elephants in the stretch between Gudaloor and Forest Station, where the Masinagudi route junction starts, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences. The whole journey feels new every time I drive on that route.
Why are you better than other drivers?
I am a very responsible driver, and I bring onboard a level of enthusiasm, motivation, and love for travel along with my driving expertise. I treat my passengers like my friends, and I always help them pick places to see, restaurants to eat at, and even let them in on hidden gems in their destinations.
How did you tackle the pandemic and its challenges?
Before the pandemic, I used to drive mini-buses. It was my primary source of income. However, once the pandemic started, I could no longer afford the road taxes the government was charging monthly for owning them. That’s when I decided to sell them. I found it extremely hard to meet my ends, but as times got rough, my Swift cab kept me going. I bought the Swift originally for my personal use, but now it’s the only vehicle I am left with. Over the years, my Swift turned out to be one of the most constant things in my life. I would also like to thank Savaari for helping me with a constant flow of bookings during these tough times.
[Also Read: #DriverDiaries – Savaari’s unsung heroes]
What are your aspirations?
I have covered almost all of southern and western India like Rajasthan. But I am looking forward to covering more places and exploring them myself with my clients. One of my ultimate travel wishlists is to drive someone from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. It does seem ambitious, but imagine how close one would be to India and how much we could learn first-hand from all the destinations covered. There’s something enigmatic about covering every length and breadth of exploring the stunning vistas India has to offer by road. I look forward to experiencing the two extremes of India and showcasing the diversity in the physical features of the country to my passengers as well.”
What do customers have to say about Gopinath?
“We had hired a Savaari for a trip from the 23rd to the 25th of February. Gopinath’s service was excellent. My aunt and I were extremely satisfied with his driving, mannerism, communication skills, and respect he gives to ladies and senior citizens. Thank you for the great service”Prerna Thomas
“Very good, friendly driver and safe driving. Had an amazing experience. Thank you”A Roy
“I booked a driver on the Savaari car rental app for an outstation trip to Ooty. I was impressed that Gopinath, the driver assigned, had good knowledge of the locality and was able to navigate with ease to all the attractions we wanted to visit. Keep up the good work” – Sugandha ShahSugandha Shah
[Also Read: Driver Diaries- Ganesh]
Being a cab driver isn’t an easy task. First, you need bravery – to navigate through unknown paths and be ready for any problems that might come your way. It requires dedication and general awareness – you need to take care of yourself and the people dependent on you to enjoy a safe journey.
Gopinath is one such driver who lives his life and dreams while doing his job. His affable nature and skills to make the best of what he has, have not only allowed him to survive through difficult times but also given him the strength to make the most of them.