Monday, July 9, 2007

Rickshaw - mama

Have you ever travelled in a rickshaw? Those who were born after 1989, this would be a weird word. Almost this rickshaw has become extinct in today's world.

This post is about a small time travel from my school to house when I was studying 7 std. It was a sunday evening, I was returning from my Scouts Camp. My mom asked me to hire a rickshaw and come home on my own. That was my first trip travelling alone. I was bit nervous. I haven't travelled alone anywhere, not even to the neighbourhood shops or houses. I use to play inside our house compound. My mom always asked me to go out & play, but I was afraid.

Everyone left from the school, either with their parents or friends. Unfortunately, I don't have any friends, who passes by my home or near to the area. It was 6:30pm in the evening and I still remember the yellow coloured rickshaw standing outside my school. The rickshaw man was heavily built, with big moustache and a scar near his neck. Being a small, city based boy, like everyone, I was also obssesed by the filmy villans which portraited him very well.

For a moment, I stood outside and school gate and asked my school gaurd to help me out in finding a rickshaw for me. The old man was very kind, he came with me to the rickshawman and asked him whether he can take me to my home which is some 3 km from my school. The rickshaw man accepted and asked for Rs.12 . I opened my bag to check whether I had that much money. I took three Rs 100, five Rs. 50, two Rs.10 and one Rs.5 note. The rickshawman giggled saying, you are rich boy and laughed. Again my inner villanic feeling started daunting me. I felt, this guy is going to steal my money on the way. I said, I don't want rickshaw and I'll go on my own. The gaurd insisted that I won't get anyother rickshaw and I have to walk till my house as it is a sunday evening.

This is even worse. I boarded the rickshaw. The rickshaw man got the address from me and asked me what standard I was studying, what is my name etc.etc. I was not comfortable. I answered everything in one word and kept quiet. In the middle, he turned in another way than the straight route. I was puzzled why he is going in the wrong route. I asked him. He said, this is short cut and we will reach soon. I was again afraid and demanded him to go in the straight route. Becuase I know this short cut would be a abandoned route where you will not be heard by anyone, even in case of any emergency.

The rickshaw man turned back and said, this my rickshaw and I'll decide which way I should go. If you are not willing, you can get down immediately. I don't have choice , becuase finding another rickshaw is difficult. I agreed and after 10 minutes, he stopped near a house and said, "wait here for sometime, I'll be back". I got backed up with all my fear. I nodded my head. After he his head disappeared in the building, I jumped off the rickshaw and ran. I know I'm somewhere near my house, but not sure, where I'm and in which direction I'm heading to. I was running for about 10 mins on the road. Very few people where there on the roads ( Again I cursed the SUNDAY).

After a moment, I saw my uncle walking on the roads. I went near him. He was surprised and took me to my home. I told everything to my mom and she started laughing at me. I was getting angry on her. Later she gave me a good coffee and I came outside the balcony to have it. To my shock, I saw the rickshaw man standing outside some two house from my gate and looking here and there. I ran back to my mom and told her, " see that guy has come here itself, he is going to kidnap me". And I started crying. She came outside and went to that rickshaw man. He handed over something to her and he left.

Mom came back to me and asked where is my bag? I just then remembered, I left my bag in the rickshaw itself. My mom gave the bag to me and said," the rickshawala gave this bag to you. He was supposedly, going to his house to say his children, he will be late for the day, by then you have jumped out and came home."

I felt very embracing. I wanted to say sorry to the rickshawman for thinking wrongly aboiut him, but he wasn't there. I haven't seen him after that even near his house. I'm still searching for him, hope to find soon.

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