We were just roaming around Chaura Rasta – Jeet looking for a small guitar to carry on our travels, I reminiscing my engineering days when we bought and sold books there. That done, we thought of moving to Jawahar Kala Kendra. JKK and the in-house Indian Coffee House have a special charm for me. It was ‘my place’ during my solitary one-year at Jaipur in 2006-07.
We were looking for auto rikshaws when we bumped into a cycle riskshaw driver. Now, people who know Jaipur, would understand our predicament of riding a cycle rikshaw in this situation. JKK from Chaura Rasta is quiet a distance. And our proposed driver was an old man, may be in his late forties.
We were about to walk away looking for a motorised transport option when he convinced us by stating that he will take us because this is how he will earn. We realised that we aren’t really being noble by not riding in his cycle rikshaw, we are robbing him of a revenue opportunity.
Of the six and a half kilometre ride, our guy took just one break where the road was little uphill. He was fitter than anyone I know of this age. And he was proud. We talked about his daily income, how much he sends home and what do his kids do. It was like going back to the pages of Shantaram describing the water-carriers.
When we got off, we paid him double. But it wasn’t with a sense of pity. It was out of respect and awe. This man, we thought, will survive the shortage – of oil, or luxury and of the at-your-door-step consumerist lifestyle. Not only will he survive, he will thrive when we hit collapse. He will be one of the most sought after transport provider when we hit peak oil. Even today, he is providing a service not just to the citizens of Jaipur but to the environment as a whole. And he has something that the richest jewellers of the city may lack – stamina fit enough to survive collapse.
Photo courtsey : http://www.dailytravelphotos.com/ and http://www.stockpicturesforeveryone.com/2011/01/cycle-rickshaws-in-north-india.html
We were not able to click real-time pictures in this case.