Monday, August 10, 2009

Bombay: Rickshaws

Whoa...back again. I remember writing once before that its been a long time since I blogged. I'll say it once again. This time though the absence has been more than a year long (thankfully for the audiences. I can faintly hear the sighs and 'oh god! he is back' rising from the back of the hall, especially those dimly lit parts where one cant make out who is sitting next to you but one can definitely make out! AHEM now to get back to what I was saying...). I had forgotten how much fun blogging can be. Or for that matter how very cathartic, if cathartic is the word I am looking for. But the point is that if one is blogging, one definitely better have something to say. One cannot just blabber away, hit keys at random and generally create a nuisance.

So let me tell you about one old creed of Bombayites. They are normally called Rickshaw-wallas, but sometimes also 'bhaiyas' and other more opprobrious names.They tend to come in as many variations as there are rickshaws on our super highways. Each three wheeled contraption is supplied by a unique driver. Their uniqueness manifests in different forms. Its easier on the customer but dangerous for the traffic when the manifestation is physical in respect to their vehicles. Mostly this is seen at the back, just above the flimsy crash bumper (which actually is a strip of metal held on to the rick by a liberal application of glue). They are normally awesome vector arts of hindi film actors or actresses. Andy Warhol would definitely get an inferiority complex. This art, if I might call it that, reached the zenith, when one had a complete vector art set of all the characters of Sholay pasted all over the rick. Gabbar Singh would have been proud!

Besides this visual exuberance, one has to keep in mind, what Jeeves would call 'the psychology of the individual'. And you are bound to come across psychotic behaviour before long. Ranging from drunk ramblings to rickshaw seat shrinks to meter-pinging philosophers to road-rash romeos to...well I don't think there is a need to make a production number of it. I am confident that you get what is called the gist. P.G.Wodehouse would have found rickshaws to be an inexhaustible source of humour.

Rickshaws, like all historic inventions, have given rise to situations which would not have existed but for them. Getting a rickshaw to take you to your destination is an art one learns, or rather has to learn in Bombay. The following few true life instances should explain:

engaging of the mighty rickshaws -

true life instance No.1
khar chaloge?(dear sir would you be kind enough to take me to Khar...please??)
Rick 1: [bewildered expression] khar?(khar?!?)
me: ha khar (yes sir. you said it. Khar it is)
Rick 1: [ruminates...masticates...] Khar mein kaha janeka? (where in Khar do you wanna go?)
me: Khar west...S.V.Road
Rick 1: [frown on face] S.V.Road??? (is it in bombay????)
me: haan S.V.Road. (yes sir!!! you are scintillating today. correct...S. bloody V.Road)
Rick 1: highway se nikalneka? (do you want me to take the highway?)
me: nahin...linking road se (no sir. I would be infinitely obliged to you if you would kindly take the linking road)
Rick 1: time kya hua? (what is the time?)
me: [bewildered expression] eh? 12.30!
Rick 1: night charge lagega (will have to charge you the night charge)
me: abey din ka 12.30 baja...(Ha crack me up...its 12.30 in the afternoon)
Rick 1: nahin...nahin janeka (bugger off...I shall not be moved from my resting place)
me: toh itna lamba interview kyon liya???
Rick 1: #^^@^#
me: $&@#&)@#&@#@#*%**&^^*(&(&)&()*()*)*)*(*)

true life instance No.2
Rick 2:
kahan janeka saab? (where do you want to go sir?)
me: kahin nahin...road cross karneka hai (nowhere...I want to cross the road)
Rick 2: achcha...chalo baitho (oh ok...sit, i'll drop you)
me: abey yeda ho gaya hai kya? (have you lost your senses???)
Rick 2: arrey saab sabere se bhada nahin mila...aadha bhada de dena (sir, havent done any business since need pay only half the fare)
BEST Bus driver: ayyy umitabh bachpan...kya re hema malini baithi kya andar???rickshaaa lene ka toh le nahin to nikal... (dear sir, you are holding up traffic. Please hire the rickshaw if you need to or let it pass so we may be on our way and everyone is happy as ever)
me: oi kishore kumar...awaaj band yeda mereko road cross karne nahin de ra...tereko jaane ka to jaa iske upar se...(ah! I apologise for the inconvenience my dear public servant. I shall correct it as soon as I can.)
BEST Bus conductor: abey hero chal nikal nahin to bus chadata main (oh very good sir! we shall await developments. hope they are conducive for us to resume our onward journey)
me: abey Rajnikanth...ghanti baja (very good. I shall do the needful old pal)
BB conductor: chya-aila, rajnikant kisko bola re...ghe re yala...(kill the bourgeous...long live socialism...atleast long live mob justice....)
me: ackkkk!!! huff pufff hufff {to myself: run forest!!!!}

Note: Some parts of the above reminiscences might be a tad polluted / fabricated, owing to a lengthy passage of time between the time of occurrence and that of publishing. Any loss of information in translation is entirely due to the literary shortcomings of the chronicler.


  1. Super ya Situ! Cracked me up! Keep blogging! xxx

  2. Fan Fukin Tastic yaar...
    I'd say it was Mind BLASTING...