A necessary evil…

rickshaw1bsm

If you are like me and live somewhere in South Asia then the above image must be a familiar sight and for those of you mortals who are lucky enough not to know what that is …well its hell on wheels.

What’s my grouse with these death defying contraptions?

Well these days my route to work has become the road to hell due to road construction and you know how it happens. Not in a methodical way with proper road signs and diversion of traffic. No sir, you are driving happily on a Monday morning singing Natasha Bedingfield’s ” a pocketful of sunshine ” and suddenly …eeeeps …..slams on breaks… there is a huge pile of rubble on the side of the road.

Sunshine turns slightly cloudy and you mutter a few sentences with the word fuck liberally interspersed and maneuver your way out of the blocked lane to the next, you put your signal and try to turn and look at your side mirror, Clear road behind you, you step gingerly on the accelerator and see a flash of yellow with horns blaring brush past you at the speed of light . You slam on the breaks and scream ” Mother fucker!!!” and try to swerve back to the blocked road you were in and another blur of red cuts you off, and you narrowly avert a collision and loss of life.  You utter a few choice words curtsy of Emimen and drive ten feet before you come across the next block that has been dug up and the same is repeated. And to top it all off it starts raining cats and dogs and visibility is almost nil and then your phone rings. It’s your boss who wants to know if you saw that email he sent two minutes ago.

By the time you reach the office, your face looks greasy, your hair looks like Medusa’s and your pocketful of sunshine  has turned into this,

calvin

Trust me during my daily ride i have plotted many ways of slowly and painfully maiming and killing all of them. I have worked out the exact guns which hold’s the exact number of rounds i need and angles i need to be in to shoot everything from their hubcaps to  knee caps.

Now the thing is this .. as much as they are a menace they are also a life saver at times. They are relatively cheap ( don’t get on ones without a meter they will rip you another one) and fast ( a contradiction .. i know i know!) and can maneuver through anything during an emergency. Not to mention a mode of transport for millions who does not have their own vehicles or cannot go through the insufferable agony of public transport. Trust me i have been in cities in certain developed countries where there is no subway and no bus and have to wait for a cab to go two streets down to buy a burger and i had been fervently praying like a man on death row … if only they had three wheeler’s on this god forsaken country.

On a daily basis in the country that i live in there are accidents related and caused by three wheeler’s. Hundred’s of pedestrians and motorist’s barely escape with their lives while avoiding and travelling in these death traps. The driver’s i can swear have never been to a driving school and does not know a single road rule or the basic functionality of the vehicle itself apart from the horn. They actually do not know a signal light exists to indicate they wish to turn.

They have no value for their lives or the lives of the passengers they carry but each and every one of them harbored the secret passion of becoming a formula 1 driver. Each one! And you really can’t beat them for ambition and verve… there is a v8 engine roaring in front of them but does that put them off from trying to overtake that vehicle and cut in front when its going at 100km/hr and your top speed is 40? The short answer is NO. And i must say that in times of an accident or car trouble these closet Schumacher’s have been some of the most friendliest helpful people on earth.

So what is the point of this whole ramble … no point.

I am just wasting your time to point out the obvious that three wheeler’s/ tuktuk’s/auto rickshaws as you may call them are a menace you cannot live without. But for the love of God..can’t they for one day in their lives drive like a sane human being…just one day… please????????

Happy Diwali!!!

Love

Chani

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19 thoughts on “A necessary evil…

  1. Chani, this was indeed an interesting write up. I felt laughing when I read “Trust me i have been in cities in certain developed countries where there is no subway and no bus and have to wait for a cab to go two streets down to buy a burger and i had been fervently praying like a man on death row … if only they had three wheeler’s on this god forsaken country” Exactly I have thought the same in similar situations. But then autos in south are better than in north India. I am not taking sides, just speaking from my experiences. The only auto drivers whom I have seen bit caring and considerate and “don’t kill you” with rates are from North Kerala, especially Kozhikide/Calicut. In Tamil Nadu, recently they were some model auto drivers who came to limelight with their effort to made the journey comfortable for the passengers. I dunno the status now, whether its still available or not

    Of course,the way people drive, rates etc might be an issue but we can’t live without these..

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  2. I am really not suppose to be here right and should be busy fogging the food and be merry with cousins. But Damn, an auto-rickshaws post has to get some attention. You nailed them well- they are friction to a normal travel routine in S.Asia.
    I miss them when I am away from home, they can make life really easy.
    But how amusing are the silly slogans written on them.

    Diwali wishes again!

    P.S. You mouth Eminem, hayeeeeeeeeeeeee my heart beats for that Slim shady!

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  3. I agree they are a menace, but they have a certain ‘charm’ to them..if you can call it that. I went to India a few months ago and had took a rickshaw for the first time…and actually really enjoyed it…and loved the fact that it was so cheap!
    Though you’re right: those drivers will perform acrobatics to get you to where you want to go. They have spunk is all I can say. 🙂 No matter how bad they are those yellow menaces on wheels are iconic…I cannot imagine India without them.

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  4. happy Diwali to you tooo
    I completely agree with you
    nowadays travelling in an autorickshaw has become a real nightmare for me

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  5. I love rickshaw’s. Love them! In college we didn’t have cars so most of our excursions were on rickshaws… and we would fit five people in to one!! Hilarious memories!

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  6. I have never been to S. Asia but when I visited home last time after six years, in East Africa I did find them,their called Bajaj n I had the privlegde of sitting on them.

    They are fun as long as they aren’t on the bumby roads and the fresh air is amaizing but they aren’t safe at night cause of all the roberry going around.

    Am planning to take them again on my visit to far east this winter.

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  7. Autoricksha’s…they are a life saver when I cm back from clg evry month for 2 day leave after a 4 hour bus journey and can’t walk 1 km from bus stop to home.. or when I am sick at 10 at night and dad s at night shift

    I still remember going to a flm on a bandh day. 7 of us friends fitting in auto.

    But they dont cause much problems here in my place ( kerala). Here most accidents are caused by teeneger’s on motor bikes. Going as they are participating in formula one without any respect to rules.

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  8. aaaahhh so true! Evil it is n the noise but a necessary no doubt… I myself has used it many a times n once my shirt tore apart from back coz of lack of time I couldn’t find a good one but a PHATICHAR RIKSHA *sigh* n my pocket full of sunshine indeed was poured down in drain and lava was erupting in my mind…. loved ur post Chani

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  9. The quickest way to get through traffic (besides a motorbike), so the rickshaw becomes my only option when I hit certain shopping areas in the city. – I’m just laughing while I imagine you screaming curses at other drivers. If we’re ever in a car together, we might end up beating people on the road. Hahahaha

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  10. Having sat in a tuk tuk only once and even that not in India I can’t begin to imagine the scenario… Now if they only had these in England how easy life would be… 🙂

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  11. I love rickshaws , the best mode of transport when in college and I don’t know about other cities but in Karachi Pakistan you get to see the most funny sayings and shaer -o-shairi on the back of a rickshaw. The vibrant colors , the noise, the thrill……. college ka zaman yaad kara dia!

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  12. ROFL – I really enjoyed this. You love them and hate them…depending on situation. Last time I visited India, I was trying to cross a very busy road with no concept of a pedestrian crosswalk, I eventually gave up and tried to take a riksha to the other side of the road and the driver glared at me! got out of his riksha…wLked fearlessly into the road….held up his hand to stop traffic and enabled me and my sister to cross the road with the most disgusted expression on his face at our timidity….yep, you nailed the descriptions perfectly…

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  13. Rickshaw… a topic close to heart, they sure are menace.. but are a bit sweet too. A mixture of feelings, I am smiling , nodding in agreement and thoroughly enjoying this 🙂

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