Mostly About Rickshaws

View from the volunteer house at 7am

I would like you to take a moment and imagine yours truly. Picture my google calendars, color coordinated organizational systems, and habit of arriving 5-10 minutes early for everything. Now, picture me living in a country where there is seemingly no sense of time and even if there is, the world conspires against you from arriving on time, and no one really has any idea what the plan is. Or if there is one. Because things will happen eventually. Or they won’t.
I was supposed to go straight into volunteering, but for one reason or another that’s been waylaid for a bit (no one is concerned) and I’m hanging out in the bunk room at the volunteer coordinator’s house for a week socializing with a group of about six women from all over the world. No one seems terribly concerned about schedules or time or anything. Or informing me or anyone else what is going on when. I totally expect that the coordinator will just roll in one day, tell me to pack my bags, and dump me at a house in a different sector. I just have no idea when this day is just yet.
I’ve been into Delhi twice via rickshaw + metro… Faridabad is about 40 minutes away from a metro via rickshaw and then the metro is about 15 minutes depending on where in Delhi you want to go. I wandered around a market with the whole group of us yesterday (where I was head butted by a bull who apparently wanted to be where I was standing) and the two Danish girls and I went to the Lodi Gardens today.

Taking the rickshaw to the metro

But yes, transportation here: I think they drive on the left. But it’s honestly hard to tell, because really people just drive where they want to and honk for numerous reasons. At least, I am sure there is a reason and it’s not just for the hell of it. Last night we got into a rickshaw and another rickshaw driver (that we had not seen previously) came up and we *think* he accused our rickshaw driver of stealing his fare and started punching our rickshaw driver.
We found another rickshaw driver.
One of the first things I did was buy a scarf (70R… between 1 and 2 USD) to deal with all the dust that flies up on rickshaws and just in general.
The metro here – the stop closest to us just opened up two days ago – is way fancier than the DC Metro. There’s also a women’s only car at the front of every train which is, frankly, awesome. It’s nice to get away from the leers (lechery is universal). I’ve gotten looks that are just… so blatantly objectifying they make me ill. The comments, thankfully, are more rare. (A kid who must have been 16 or 17: “Hey sexy, Hey can we take picture? You give kiss? You so sexy, you from America?”) The point being, I don’t find the gender segregated car nearly as fist shaking as I would in the States.
We’ve had other rickshaw related adventures. The city is divided up into sectors – we live in sector 10 currently. Our Hindi class is in sector 15. We took a rickshaw from the metro to sector 15 (there was a fight over who got to take that fare, too). Or, theoretically we did. He dropped us off at the sector 16 market instead of the sector 15 market. They are not really close at all. I know no addresses at all, just where houses are located in relation to the main market of each sector.
Let’s just say that we got there on Indian Time and via three white girls piling into a cycle-rickshaw and a tiny Indian man huffing and puffing his way through traffic.
But we got there. Eventually. Like everything in India.

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One Response to Mostly About Rickshaws

  1. TheBlackTwig says:

    I’ve been to India a couple of weeks ago and I love their auto rickshaws. It’s affordable and can get you anywhere. Plus, I fancy their meters–as if they were taken from museums.
    Your post inspires me to write about various rickshaws in Asia 🙂 Thanks.

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