Tuesday, August 07, 2018

One pedal man


There was something odd about the way he wore the rubber slipper on his right foot. It was half off all the while he kept his foot pressed to the pedal.

The other odd thing was the way he pedalled the cycle rickshaw. He would pedal only with his right foot. The left foot was balanced on the pedal but it did not move and so, the strain of pushing the rickshaw forward came in half cycles, which served to double the effort he had to put into it since it broke momentum and didn't let him ride lighter.

I sat in his rickshaw a bit reluctantly. A young man, probably in his late twenties, he was the thinnest, most undernourished rickshaw puller I'd seen in a long time. He also seemed not to want to make even the most cursory conversation, choosing to communicate in gestures. I told him my destination; he held up two fingers in response.

It was a two-minute ride and all along, his half-worn slipper was bothering me. Finally, while getting off, I asked him why he wore his slipper the way he did. He didn't respond and I hurried away into the station.

What are the chances that one will end up hiring the same rickshaw, the same day? In a big city, very few. It is even rarer that one will remember a rickshaw-puller whose face one has not had a chance to look at properly. After all, one sees only his back and he doesn't get to look at his customers through the ride.

I was returning very late that night. In the dark, I didn't think I would have recognised him. But there he was, the same thin frame, one of his hands waving madly at me to come to his cycle-rickshaw instead of the autos. Silent, but waving very insistently. And again, his slipper was half off his right foot.

Again, I noticed that his manner of pedalling was odd: a series of half cycle pushes forward. Finally, I asked him why he was pedalling like this. He told me; he had hurt his left leg a while ago, so he tried not to use it.

I paid him and then spent a week thinking about him. It is true that I am relieved that nowadays, in cities like Lucknow and Delhi, there are more e-rickshaws than cycle rickshaws now. I feel guilty, especially when elderly or clearly undernourished men pull a cycle-rickshaw, but it is also true that I can see that the elderly or undernourished citizen is the one who needs the money most desperately. I'd rather give it to him than to the auto-rickshaw driver. Even so, this was the first time I had sat in a rickshaw pulled by someone who had had an injury and was probably still in some pain.

He had been chewing paan or tobacco. He had been spitting too. And for a handful of minutes, I had watched him go about his life, pedalling hard, pushing his body to its limits so he could make a bit of money and exist in this world. A honest living, after all.

I am still thinking about him and his rickshaw, and a city where a young man like him gets others to their destination safely, at minimal cost. What is the meaning of being accommodating in such a world, and what is the meaning of trust?


First published here:  https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/a-two-minute-ride/article24564601.ece

1 comment:

Ric Mr said...

Most women don’t know this... but even if a man is attracted to you or even says he loves you...

...chances are he still feels something is missing.

Because there is a secret, emotional need hidden within his heart that he craves more than anything.

And in most cases, is not being met.

The problem is, if it’s not being met, his attention will inevitably wander until he finds a woman who can give it to him.

Maybe one in a thousand women knows how to do this instinctively, and they usually rise to unbelievable levels of influence and fame.

But most women, or men for that matter, don’t even know it exists.

On the other hand, when you have this 1 simple secret...

You won’t believe the shocking effect you have on the men in your life.

Here’s a video I discovered that shows you exactly what I’m talking about:

==> Here’s what I’m talking about: <=========> He’ll give his heart to the first woman who does THIS...

Best,
Ana

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