Sunday, March 12, 2006

Taken for a ride

A coupla years ago, when I went home to my maternal grand-dad's house, one of my three rowdy cousins insisted, "Apa, let me take you around on my kinetic (Kinetic Honda)." He even insisted that I wear the jeans and the top he picked.

"Hmmm... what's the catch, beta?" I demanded.

"Haha, nothing nothing... I just want people to look ... and wonder who the girl with me is... value badhti hai." He grinned.

I could not help but laugh. Teenagers and their "value"! If only he remembered...

When I was ten, and he was just a little boy, I'd taken him for an unforgettable ride.

On a rickshaw.

When I was young, I'd spend every summer at my grand-dad's place. Grand-dad travelled a lot, and most of the time he took the car and the driver with him. The kids were really young, so he arranged for a public rickshaw to take them to school. The rickshaw would often be late, and sometime wouldn't even turn up. Their house was not in the route of the school bus either.

So my Grand-dad, with his cute eccentric ways, decided that he should buy a rickshaw, which came complete with a rickshaw-wala called Basanta (no, he's not the one in the pic, this is a random pic) to exclusively cater to the requirements of our family. In the morning, he would take the three kids to school, and in the afternoon, he would park the rickshaw in our garage, and he was free to moonlight the whole day, as long as he did not use our rickshaw and was available whenever we needed him. He got a monthly salary, plus tips from my grandma, aunt and Mom who often summoned him to take them for shopping trips. He lived behind our house, and summoning him was a special procedure. Bana or one of the kids had to crane their necks outta the window, and yell, "Basanta! Basanta! Basanta!" till he (or his wife, if he wasn't home) responded. He was then given the time when he was to be ready with the rickshaw.

So one boring Sunday afternoon, all the grown-ups were taking a nap (Back then, I often used to wonder why grown-ups took so many naps! Even now, I wonder!) and my cousin and I were just hanging out, with nothing to do. So we decided to go out in the blazing afternoon sun. We played cricket for a while, but in my excitement to hit a six, we quickly lost the last tennis ball we had. My cricket rules were simple - if you can find the ball, it's a six. If you can't, you're out.

"Hmm... now what?" He asked. "I'm so bored!"

I looked around. Suddenly, my eyes lit up.

"Listen, you wanna go for a ride?"

"In what??" He looked flabbergasted. I was obviously not talking about the car or the scooter.

I smiled a devilish smile.

"No!"

"Yes!"

"The rickshaw??"

"Yeah, what do you think?"

"But do you know how to ride it? It looks difficult. Basanta sweats a lot when he rides it, you know!"

"Arre, unlike a bicycle, it's got three wheels, so it's already balanced. And you're so light. No problem!" I assured him.

So I deposited him on the seat and got on the rider's seat. When I imagine it now, I laugh my guts out. But there was no one to see us. Except for a stray dog and a bull, there was no one crazy enough to be out in the blazing sun.

And so started our adventure. I'd been right. It was really easy to ride it. And luckily, I was wise enough not to venture into what we called 'the main road', which was out of bounds to us kids whenever we went out to play. So I rode the rickshaw for a while, with the little fella totally enjoying himself. Finally we had reached the end of the lane and it was time to turn the rickshaw around.

Uh oh.

I had to get off. He had to get off. We tried to turn it around by pushing it, but could not. We were kinda freaking out, when Basanta appeared out of nowhere like an angel. He gaped at us. He just could not believe what he was looking at.

"What are you two doing??? Get off the rickshaw! You want me to lose my job or what??"

"Basanta, can you take the rickshaw back?"

"Yes, get on the seat, you two!" He chided us.

We scuffled on to the seat and soon we were deposited home by a still very shaken Basanta.

"Now don't tell ANYONE, okay?" I instructed my cousin. "Otherwise we will really get into big trouble! Okay?"

"Okay!" He nodded.

The same evening, Mom wanted to go shopping, but Basanta was not at home.

"Hmmm... okay, I'll take a public rickshaw then." She said.

The moronic litte fella could not keep his mouth shut! "Oh, Apa can take you in the rickshaw!" He said earnestly.

I went red.

Everyone around burst into laughter. To my utter relief, they thought he was making a joke.

Phew.


I joined them sheepishly, "Hehehe..." at the same time, giving him a killer 'I'm so gonna kick your ass' look.

It's been years now. But I remember it. What a ride. What glorious days...



26 comments:

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

aHHA!!! PHURST

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

wow! i'd love to do that! somehow, my memories of rickshaw rides are mostly tainted with two things, 1) feeling really bad for the puller (i guess i was a fat kid heheh ;) ) and 2) the crazy way people would bargain with the poor guy...jeez! haggling over Rs. 2 with someone who was going to haul your ass around for you!

p.s: sash, you wake up early for a sunday AM! go sleep!

Raam Pyari said...

ohh me gawd??!!!!
am I genius or wutttt???
gold nahi toh silver hi sahi!!!!
wah!wah!
twice ina row?!
amazing!
*bows to thundering aaplause*

ruchi

Just another ... said...

I remember my cousin trying something really stupid. He decided to be a bullock cart driver and take all of cousins for a ride. That was a nightmare.

Eclectic Blogger said...

bail gaadi chalayi kya kabi!?

Macho Girl said...

No cycle rickshaws at my maternal grand parents' village. Only bullock carts! My cousins and I have a blast each time I go there. It has become a routine for all of us to go out on the cart whenever "didi" (thats me!) comes to visit :) when the bulls were busy in the fields, we wud take lots of hay and sticks from the backyard and build a mini hut around the empty cart! I tried driving the bullock cart once.. was quite fun :) Now maybe i shud try cycle rickshaws ;)

tinku said...

Basanta rikshaw-wala is related to Basanti tangewali in any way?

Tinku

Shekhar said...

Ha ha. Good one. There are so many things that we did in our childhood (Oh shit! childhood gone already?) that are embarassing.

I remember playing football inside the house when the guests were called to dinner and I accidentaly almost kicked the football onto the dining table. Thank God for the guest who caught the ball before it hit any of the plates. How Mom had glared at me!! Still gives me shivers when I think of it. That was, however, the end of Pele's soccer career in India.

J'Adore said...

Cousins! gotta love the younger versions that you can boss, and mess up around, and still have them adore you!

!xobile said...

haha
tu mast ricksewaali hogi yaar..
haha...

Sayesha said...

#The Girl from Ipanema,
Welcome! :) Wow! We have another 'The Girl'? World-selling Girl will not be happy :)

Yeah, the rickshaw wala's are in a really bad state :(

//sash, you wake up early for a sunday AM! go sleep!

Sigh... I actually woke up at 7:30 am :(

#Moonwalker,
Congrats on silver! And that's all you had to say? :P

#Just Another,
Bullock cart??? :O :O :O
Sounds freaky! :O

#Eclectic,
Nope, haven't had the good (bad?) fotune of doing so :)

#Macho Girl,
Whoa sounds like fun! :)

#Tinku,
Hahahahahaha!
Never thought of it that way! :D
Hahahahahaha!
Tu mast hai re! :P

#Shekhar,
//Oh shit! childhood gone already?

Sadly, yes :(

Hahaha... can imagine your football scene! Natkat bach! :D

#J'Adore,
I second that! :P

#Ze Ex,
Ghumaaon kya tujhko riskshe mein? Ya ghumaake ek doon kaan ke neeche? :D

HoliDevil said...

Thinking of it I learnt riding a Rickshaw b4 a cycle.

TC

ritzkini said...

:)
kid brothersand sisters..idiots !
Muh bandh rakhna nahi jaante..
have a experienced a few instances and gharwaalon-ki-daant,myself !
:)

Lalit Singh said...

I had the same Question in mind... is bansanta related to basanti...
anyways.. while u were at it did u sing any song?

virdi said...

I used to go in a rickshaw with 2 cousin sisters and 3 brothers... :-)

V...

virdi said...

Sayesha just see this lazy bum rickshawala of London... click here

Khi Khi Khi Khi Khi !!!

Kitna badal gaya insaan...
Oh kitna badal gaya insaan...

V...

Rohit Talwar said...

BASANTA?!
WHAAAAADDDDDD!

:D

Siddhu said...

LOL!

How old is your image-conscious cousin?

LOLOL!!!

Suds said...

That was cool. When I was a kid I loved the auto rickshaws. Wanted to own one.. Hehehe...:)

Harshi said...

Wow...what a story!
Somehow, it's still hard to imagine how u managed that Sash.
Dangerous bhi toh tha. I am so glad Basanta came on time haan? :)

Rickshaw rides were always fun :).

Sayesha said...

#TC,
Hehe... me tooo! :D

#Ritzkini,
Hahahaha! Yeah, the little monsters... we use to be them once upon a time! :D

#Lalit,
Oye! Kya samajh rakha hai?? Were you singing it seems! Riding a rickshaw is hard work, okay? Hahaha! :D

#Virdi,
6 of you on one rick? Poor rickshaw wala! :(

//Sayesha just see this lazy bum rickshawala of London

He's not a lazy bum. He's pretending to sleep so he doesn't have you lug your lazy bum around! :D

#Rohit,
:D

#Sid,
I think he was 17 or 18 :)

#Suds,
You wanted to own one? Hahaha! Abhi ek khareed lo, phir Swati Bhabhi ko usme bithake ghumate rehna! :D

Sayesha said...

#Harshi,
Arre your comment just appeared?! :O Anyway, I guess now that I think about it, it was pretty dangerous to venture out like that! Lekin us age mein koi sochta kahan hai? :P

Vikram said...

hahahahaha, i wanna see you ride a rickshaw... kya mast rahega...

i think Basanta must have thought you are gonna screw up the rickshaw... that's why he freaked out...

if he hasn't told you already, let me tell you...

to turn a rickshaw/bike you have to turn the handle either left or right depending on where you want to go...

theek hai? clear? ok? you want me to explain it to you again? :D

Kusum Rohra said...

Oh my God, your cousin must be brave to have ventured out with you hehehe...BTW i have never been in one of those hand pulled rickshaw, i never thought someone could pull ME!! :P

Sayesha said...

#Vikram,
Thanks a lot for the tip! :/ Tu pandrah saal pehle kahan tha?? Khud ka risk-shaw chala raha tha kya? ;)

#Kusum,
My cousin ventured out not because he was brave, but because he was just incredibly young and had NO IDEA what the hell we were upto! :D

Thanu said...

i actually pictures u riding a rickshaw... tht is so funny