Remnants of a conversation with the Rickshaw-Wala.
I just have to take a 5 minutes ride from my Nanu’s place to a market nearby, which is a few kilometres away. I’m in no mood to drive and the cars parked in front of the main gate have already decided my fate, because my car cannot go out, till the time I go to New Colony's shops and ask, whose car, is it?
I decided to book an Uber, but it didn't come. I thought of taking an auto, they were asking too much. I decided to walk on foot, but accidentally a Rickshaw-waala crossed me. It wasn’t very obvious for a rickshaw to be seen in this part of the metropolitan world. It reminded me of Nostalgia. I asked this smiling, happy go lucky, wrapped in his favourite muffler, human being, Subhash ji. He quoted the same price to me as the auto waala. But I said, okay.
The short trip began, as he took one hand away from the handle, wide open, stopping each car on the road to take a U-turn. He seemed like a boss. The road was jam-packed.
He took a sudden sharp right and took me from one of the galis (street). I’m familiar to that area, but I guess he knows it all. It’s 2-minutes now. Suddenly a person shouts, ‘Kya haal hai’ from a shop, which’s counter read, ‘Jai Mata Di’. Subash ji replies ‘Sab theek hain tu Suna’. I asked him, ‘Who’s he?’ ‘Padosi hai mera, he’s a neighbour of mine.’ he replied.
Conversations about his architecturally-rich sweater, muffler and rickshaw started. It’s been 10 years that he’s been circling around this area with his rickshaw, it’s his saathi. I asked him, why did he start riding the rickshaw, he said, it’s healthy for his health, otherwise the days are very boring for him. He works for 12 hours, 8-8, morning to night and takes a 2-hour break in between for lunch and rest. The conversation went to politics, places and people. I told him about my Nanu. He said I know him. I know all of you. I was surprised.
Then he told me he put up a vegetable stall outside our house long time back.
Nanu had a fixed Rickshaw-waala. Was it him? I feel he was. He must have been the one who would have taken Nanu from one place to another.
It was time I had come to my destination. I asked him ‘Can I take a picture of yours to show it to my family.’ He said, ‘yes, I’ll just put my mask down for a second, puchlena, mere baal safed hogayen hai bas baaki mujhe sab pehchaan lenge.’
I am at the market now, but I just have this question going in my head. Is he the one my Nanu used to talk about? After 2 hours, I come back home. I ask, it was him.
I wish I meet him again to know more of the qissa’s about Nanu’s life. I think we’ve forgotten the Rickshaw wallas but they remember everything.
Ahh, their world must be full of beautiful stories peddling their time of life.
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