Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Rickshaw Episode This Morning

Noticed how hot the past few days have been?

This is about a smart rickshaw driver. And heat. I engaged him near my home this morning to the CBD Belapur station from where I entrain to Victoria Terminus (not Victoria's Secret, silly, that's a lingerie manufacturer about whom a ad joke is circulating the media). This guy is the smart sort from his talk. They come in all sizes and shapes and social backgrounds. But this one (no, I didn't see his face) was a smart one. Read on.

When I came to the station I noticed that I had no change. All I had was a few 500 rupees (the ATM gave me all 500 notes) and Rs 9 in loose change. So, since the train was about to leave, and since I will be late and lose a half day's leave if I miss this crucial train (I am in the habit of cutting too fine with all my schedules, you see) I give him Rs 9 and say I will compensate him Rs 6 when I next meet him.

No way!

He says I am his first client, so I am his "Bhoni." So, he can't make a loss on his Bhoni, can he? I think, "Damn, there goes my train and my half day leave."

What followed then is rather excruciating. In the heat of the morning we went to the State Transport Depot, then to a couple of pan sellers, shop keepers, then to some roadside vendors. The last one gave me an idea. Go to the petrol pump, you will get a lot of change. I we drive in the rickety rickshaw to the petrol pump. There I get change.

"You would like to go back to the station?"

"Yes."

He drives me to the station. I ask him what fare it is. "Rs 25" he says smugly. I incurred a loss of Rs 10 and a half day's leave (which is substantial in my estimation) and suffered a few sun burns on my back in the white-hot heat. Grumble. Swear. Mumble. But I must admire his resourcefulness. He didn't compromise his fare though he put me to a lot of loss and inconvenience. There's something quintessentially Indian about his behavior. I must say I admire that.

But then, I have in the past tipped rickshaw drivers with Rs 5 and more. I have given them clothes, Boo... hoo!

1 comment:

shakti said...

Hi! Wanted to confirm whether it is ok for us to feature this blogpost in our 'around the blog' page for DNA. Could you please confirm the same?
My email id is shakti dot dna at gmail.com