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.
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?"
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!