Tag Archives: rickshaw

Kolkata: Runner-pulled Rickshaws of India

runner-pulled rickshaw of kolkata, india

A rickshaw-puller waits for passengers in Sudder Street, Kolkata. (More photos at the end of the post.) Pics by DW

I can’t recall when I did I first see/ride a rickshaw but I still remember that day 11 years ago when I rammed a cycle-rickshaw unto a culvert in Bardia National Park. After visiting the national park, I rode back to the bus park in a rickshaw. Somewhere on the way I told the rickshaw-puller to go back and let me pull. He obliged. I used to ride bicycles well, or so I thought. This thing had just one more tire. No big deal. I started paddling. The real rickshaw-wallah behind me was smiling. I was going good… until I started loosing balance and plunged into a culvert.

No human was hurt but the front wheel of the rickshaw had twisted beyond recognition. Smile evaporated from my ‘passenger’. He got off, inspected the tire which, I guessed, he didn’t recognize as the tire. “You will have to fix it,” he said in a low but resolute voice, “or buy me a new one.” Fixing that was out of question. That was not fixable. Second option would cost me Rs. 300. After the payment, I was left with Rs. 400. Bus ticket to Kathmandu? Rs. 370. Rs. 30 wasn’t enough to keep my stomach full for the next 15 hours or so. But I had no option. I was broke by the time I reached Kathmandu. I called a friend at my office to come to Kalanki to receive me. बिहान काठमान्डू त पुगियो तर राती खान नपाएर पेटमा मुसा खुबै दौडेका थिए ।  Some incidents can never be forgotten. A cycle-rickshaw may look like a bicycle but riding it is not the same as bicycling. The act of balancing is slightly different. The mastery over the art can only be attained by experience. Continue reading