Vantage point

Monday, June 14, 2004

Rickshaw Maadi!

Each city has a different DNA code, which is defined by two things. Either the panipuri you get there(a topic on which I have written at length in the past) or the rickshawwallahs in that city.

Bangalore rickshawwallahs are astounding fellows. No, they don't display the abnormally high degree of avarice that a Delhi rick-wallah does....the Delhi rick-wallah is of course, a member of some political party interning in preparation for a Ministerial berth. Neither do these fellows feign ignorance of the rashtrabhasha, as the Chennai guy(reportedly) do.

The Bangalore rickshawallahs (henceforth to be referred to as rickies, in the interest of my avoiding carpel tunnel syndrome) are just astounding fellows. One thing about them is that most of these rickies have decided the destination they wish to take you to. So if a ricky has decided that he shall go to Malleshwaram then not even the most persuasive wild horses would convince him to do otherwise. And even the manner in which he refuses you is astounding. Imagine a guy who believes that magic tricks performed using playing cards are crap. Now imagine if you have goaded him into picking a card. Now imagine next that after applying whatever complex algorithm that magicians apply, you have come up with a card, and asked him "Is this it?". Suppose you are wrong. How will the bloke break the news to you?

Like Bangalore ricky of course! The contempt-disinterest-cocktail on their face is very frustrating.

Now your Pune or Mumbai rickshawwallah will refuse to do business with you only if your destination is remote. So if I stand at Deccan Gymkhana and tell the ricky "Bavdhan", he will quail at the prospect, for the simple reason that on the outskirts of the city, it is difficult to get a return passenger quickly. but the Bangalore ricky has no such train of though. Whether the place you wish to be in is on the fringes or in the centre, does not matter.

Another funny thing about Bangalore is that here the 1.5times thing starts as early as 10 p.m! This time limit is midnight in places like Pune or Mumbai. But Bangalore, despite having made the transition from a sleep reasearch-and-pension-haven to IT Capital, resolutely sticks to the 10 p.m. deadline.

Now even if you get used to it, what makes this more annoying is the attitude of your Bangalore ricky. From 9:15 to 10 p.m, it is impossible to get a rick. All the fellows refuse to take you anywhere, and are biding time for the clock to strike 10, so that they can get 1.5 times their pot of gold.

Such are the Bangalore rickies. Extremely humane if you compare them to a Delhi ricky, but very weird if you compare them to the Pune ricky.