Posts Tagged ‘rickshaws’

Queue madness

December 14, 2007

Much to the dismay of autorickshaw drivers, the government has mandated that all ‘ricks must have a digital meter. The deadline appears to be drawing nigh:

Update 12/27: The Transport Department has extended the deadline until January 31st.

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My Secret

November 28, 2007

I have a confession…I’ve become a rickshaw peeper. I can’t help it. Were it not for the “dust” (which is basically just a euphemism for all the who-knows-what that’s in the air!), riding an auto-rickshaw would be a videographer’s dream – seeing and capturing all sorts of wonders as you zip and zag through the city, with no glass screen between you and urban life.

So what’s a rickshaw peeper, you ask? Well, just what it sounds like. I love looking at people inside their auto-rickshaws! At times, this does seem quite peeper-esque, as I sometimes find myself staring longer than what’s considered polite. It’s just a glimpse. And just for a second. One of you is always on the go. And the fun is, you just never know what you’ll see! All sorts of unexpected gems of life.

Still not convinced? Let me take you along on this morning’s ride. I am driving through the Muslim quarter of Charminar when I see an auto-rickshaw. One of hundreds (thousands) like it in the city. But inside, an endearing surprise: six children (toddlers, really – the oldest couldn’t be more than 5 years old), sitting side-by-side in the back, laughing hysterically. No adult in sight, save for the rickshaw driver himself. Are they going to “Famous Ice Cream” nearby?, I wonder. The giddy crowdedness of that rickshaw is contrasted by the next one I see, directly behind it. Seated within is a young woman dressed in a black burka – everything covered except her eyes, which are gazing with intent seriousness at something faraway, out in the distance. Next behind that rickshaw is an extremely old couple – they must be about 70 or 80 years old. What remarkable changes they must’ve witnessed in this city, where a few decades ago, the poshest part of town was literally still a jungle! Following them are two Indian women with elaborately designed and brightly-colored saris – one sari is bright red and orange, quite resembling a sunset; while the other is purple with sequins. Later on comes a sight that’s incredible to witness: a rickshaw full of at least eight people, feet dangling outside! – just like a circus clown car. You can see how this can be addicting, right?

And so it goes. Seeing the world with new eyes and finding the connection that bridges us all — which is largely what this year is about. I’m realizing how much can be learned by just opening my eyes to what’s out in front of me.