13th December 2014 – Kolkata, India
The midday sun came sweltering on him, but there was No one else. Only the sun, and not a hint of a misguided tourist. The sweat was yet to get worked, and the legs were ready to move, as he licked his lips, tapped his heal, and awaited another tryst.
One of the pictures that many foreigners have about India, is the hand-pulled rickshaws that they have seen in so many documentaries.
The fact is, these guys don’t exist anymore. Atleast in 95% of the country. A notable exception is the hill station of Matheran near Mumbai, where the eco-sensitive rules have banned motor vehicles completely, making these guys required.
But they are still found in plenty, in Kolkata.
As back as 2006, the Chief Minister of West Bengal had declared that pulled rickshaws would be banned. But nothing has changed yet in Kolkata where this small section of people still thrive. Living a life of poverty, these guys are cluttered around the sudder street area, looking forward to people who wanted their services for short durations. And mostly, first-time foreigners, who relied more on them to cross a street, than wading through the crazy behemoth that is called India.