Four Rickshaw Drivers

Here is another of my favorite posts. If you can wade through the 800+ words, you will meet some amazing Indian rickshaw drivers! 

 

Posted on March 30, 2013by 

 

 

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From day one in India , we have had a love/hate relationship with the rickshaw/tuk-tuk and  we are still alive after 45 days. I guess we won.   It is cheap transportation…$0.20 for one way to Cept University. The most expensive rides have been $2.00.   Cheap, safe? What is the hate side of the story?  Well it scary, that’s what.  Rickshaws going in all directions. Yes, they scoot in the  wrong way. Cars are on the left side (thank you British) and  rickshaws squirm in and out and sometimes on the wrong side of the wrong side traffic! It is a lot like Mario Cars video game but it is real. I told David I would never criticize his driving again…a promise I hope I can keep.( Back in the US, nope, couldn’t keep that promise!)  I mostly close my eyes and pray. Not a bad idea in any circumstance, praying that is. Please watch the video on YouTube of crazy rickshaws in Varanasi. There was no footage taken in Ahmedabad, and Varanasi was the worst, crazy traffic I have seen. Here is the best of the worst! Notice auto as well as man powered  rickshaws. In Ahmedabad, there are none  of the people-powered ones which  are a throwback to ages ago, yes from the British.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98prHZuTYPI (Crazy Rickshaw Ride in Varanasi India)

Now I want to tell you four short tales of rickshaw drivers, along their daily work  on the roads of India.

The first tale was weeks ago, shortly after we arrived.  A strike was called for drivers to protest for 72 hours because of  the rise in fuel prices.  This  price rise would increase the minimum  they had to  charge and theoretically they would have less business. I was going with a visiting Canadian professor to NID, ( The woman who took us to the Kite Festival.)  National Institute of Design.  We noticed there were fewer rickshaws, and fewer who would stop, and NID is way across the city. Finally, a young man stopped for us. We entered and he said, he would have to take us by a back route to avoid the strikers. He said he was saving money for college, warming the hearts of two visiting teachers.  As we reached our destination, and exited to pay the driver, suddenly three thugs ran up as we stood  right there paying and started pounding on the small rickshaw driver.  Skye, her student, and I started yelling, “Stop, stop,” and after a few moments they ran off as quickly as they had appeared. The driver was badly shaken but not badly hurt. As we entered the grounds, we looked back to see him sitting with his head on the wheel, not driving away.

One morning, I was catching a rickshaw on my own.  A beggar women approached and started patting me as she pulled on my sleeve. This is quite distressing to me and what she  wants. But everyone says not to give them money because it goes to someone they are begging for. This seems to be true because we have given beggars food left over from dinner that we had parceled for them, and after taking the food, they still ask for money.  The driver said something to the old woman and she moved up next to him. He took a coin from his pocket and gave it to her. It reminded me of the “poor widow’s mite offering” from the Gospels and how that pleased God. RIckshaw drivers are not wealthy people.

The third tale happened one night David and I were returning from dinner. We had gone to Souk for some hummus. The ride was uneventful and we got out to pay when the driver replied to David’s inquiry of the price, “No charge Uncle, welcome to India!” We were very touched at his gift to us, given from the goodness of his heart… caring for strangers.

The last story happened just a few days ago. We had arrived at the end of our lane and David was paying. The driver said, “No, too much,” and returned 10 rupees to David.  He had inadvertently given the driver 30 rupees instead of the requested 20.

If you watched the video, you saw images of the poverty in India. Many of these drivers work for someone else, while some have their own rickshaw.  Gas is $6.00 a gallon. They are squeaking by, I imagine. There is a rising middle class as evidenced by the TV commercials, but these drivers are not part of it. Blessings for these four men who were kind beyond the call of duty, honest, caring, and friendly to a woman from far, far away

Of course, there are always the bikes, either motorized or peddled!

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This huge male monkey was resting on the motorbike just outside the Jain Temple in our neighborhood.

This Is Incredible India!   And I hope you  can see why I hold these dear Indian people in such high regard!

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Namaste ! (India's ciao.) T I I (This is India!) Anne
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27 Responses to Four Rickshaw Drivers

  1. lauramacky says:

    I loved the stories….the people seem so incredibly nice. I can’t imagine a taxi driver saying “no, too much”!

  2. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown and commented:
    But – you didn’t embed!!

  3. The rickshaw drivers are such an integral part of India and the Indian experience:) And every so often you run into amazing people driving those colorful vehicles! Great stories, Anne…

  4. Rusha Sams says:

    Love this post because we took pictures of these little rickshaws!!! We were always on a tour bus wondering what a ride would be like. And now we know . . . based on your blog! Thanks for letting us ride along with you!

    • annetbell says:

      LOL ! I love comments like thid! Traffic in India is like no other we have seen anywhere. We rode in tour busses on trips and I loved the trsins ‘t eat or drink on trains except what we brought on bosrd! . . . 2nd class was fine though we didn

  5. Dipankar says:

    Firstly, welcome to India! Umm… you see, the roads & traffic isn’t the best in here. In fact, I posted a similar blog – “Would you like to have Stray Dogs or Potholes as your day starter, sir?”
    Check it out at your leisure ;)

  6. Know-All says:

    Autorickshaws are a necessary evil for us…cheap transportation for the masses….of course makes your heart pump more blood than you care for! :)

    • annetbell says:

      That is a great description ! We were always amazed at the number of Indian people in a tuk-tuk and they would only take 3 of us. Sometimes a couple of tiny girls could ride on laps. We were happy for seasonably priced transportation, too!

  7. phebek108 says:

    Yes, when I remember my (two) trips to India, the crazy traffic is one of the first things I think about. Those auto rickshaw drivers can be so memorable. You definitely met some great ones. Thank you for the memories! Enjoyed the photos, too.

    • annetbell says:

      When I first started writing the blog, I had an Indian blogger say that most westerners talk about the traffic and riding elephants, so I have tried to expand my tales. But those two things are very memorable especially to Western tourists. For me after all the traveling for 4 months, the Indian spirit was the best part ever! Thanks for your comment! Visit again soon!

  8. We have something similar in the Philippines called tricycles. In my town, they are the King of the road. No rules and yes, it’s an exciting scary thrill to ride them.

  9. YellowCable says:

    That is touching story that the driver provided free service as a gift!

  10. annetbell says:

    Reblogged this on TalesAlongTheWay and commented:

    I promise you will fall in love with these incredible Indian people!

  11. Chess says:

    I love these pieces you write about the world Anne, so much I would not know but for you, thank you 😄

  12. kajalgada says:

    Hey. You have really catched the essence of rickshaw’s in India. It is indeed a hate/love relationship. They drive like crazy, darn difficult to find one to agree to go where you want to and yet very helpful, esp. to shoo away beggars.

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