Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rickshey-waley Dulhaniya le jayenge?

While you might accuse me of Plagiarism because this story appears to be a rip-off straight from Bollywood (who rips off Bollywood stories anyways?), let me assure you that it's neither a rip-off nor a fiction. However, to pay tribute to Mr Yash Chopra, the man who gave us DDLJ, I names it so.

The name of the protagonist of this Love story is Krishna - a 32 year old dark, short but well-built Bengali guy, my colleague and a good friend. Before coming to Delhi in search of employment and end up pulling rickshaw, he used to live in his village in the Kooch Behar district in West Bengal.

The mythological god - Krishna was a Butter-thief (Maakhan chor) in his childhood. But apart from butter, Lord Krishna used to steal one more thing - the tender hearts of gullible, doting 'gopis'. Our hero seems to have taken some inspiration from the 'god' on this front as well (apart from his name and colour!)

Although his village was predominantly Hindu, but just to complicate the matters a bit, the "most beautiful girl" of the village didn't belong to the majority religion. She was a Muslim. Her's was one of the 3 Muslim families in the entire village. Amidst frenzied whistling and hooting, let me introduce you to 'Munni' - our heroine.

Of course, my friend can be biased about her beauty - after all she was his first love - but I am taking his words as the final authority because they were coming straight from his heart.

As he puts it, every unmarried guy in the village was after her openly (and maybe, married guys clandestinely!). Some of them were really handsome while some of them were really rich and few of them both. Yet, out of that crowd of suitors, she fell for my friend!

It took her three years to woo him (so pricey he is!). The first year, it was just the eye-contacts. When he returned from Delhi to his village the next year, things went a step ahead but still on a very 'friendly' level. It was only during the third year when their chemistry intensified and their relationship deepened!

All his friends used to ask him with bewilderment,"what the hell did she find so irresistible in you?" (just like the entire country and especially media, was raising aspersions on Priyanka Gandhi's choice). May be Robert Vadra was aware of his 'salient features' but my friend wasn't. So one day he himself asked her, "tune mujhme aisa kya dekh liya?" (what did u notice in me that appealed to you?) And what she replied is actually an education to all the clueless guys out there.

She said, "I always wanted my man to be a hard-working guy." Now in an urban-setting, the word 'hard-working' may very well be extrapolated to 'passionate'. One who is chasing his big dreams most of the time and not girls all the time. She said, "The way you walk, your 'body language' appeal to me. I don't care much about face or money."

One fine day, when they were enjoying some time together, an old budhiya (yeh, she doesn't deserve any respect to be called anything else) spotted them and broke the news. News of affairs spread faster in a village than the 'Gangnam Style' video went viral on the net and are more devastating than Arvind Kejriwal's exposés. The entire village was in a state of pandemonium. (Are you thinking of playing the legendary item-song from the movie Dabangg? if yes, please go ahead!)

His own family was against his love. His mother said, "I won't let a Muslim girl enter my house."
He replied, "if you won't let her come in this house, why do you eat with them in their house?"
Unfortunately, this simple but jolting reply of my friend didn't cut any ice with his mother.

I am not really sure to what extent did they go to convince their families but I guess, eventually, they both realized that there wasn't any future of their relationship and hence went their separate ways. The wall of religion was simply too high for them to surmount with just love. Eloping, though a very celebrated phenomenon in Hindi movies, is not a very easy thing to do after all.

That was pretty much the end of his love story. Or should I say, end of his first and most colorful love story. Few more girls came in his life; the last one of course his wife and now mother of his two daughters.

(PS: when he went to his village a month back, he met with her! Although she is also 'happily' married now!)


  1. I have been following your blog for sometime and enjoy the stories from the other side of the fence. I would love to know how you were able to blend with them, for I have heard stories and sometimes even felt the hesitancy in them to accept those from this side amidst them.

    1. hey Zephyr, good to hear from u again.
      well, I can't really chalk out a path that i took to blend with them but when u urself are a rickshaw-walla then i guess u already are one of them. the rest of the 'hesitancy' can be alleviated by simply talking, sharing ur experiences of the job and asking theirs, and simply greeting then with smile. :)

  2. Dude... i really appreciate your thoughts and your works to experience feelings of a rickshawalla hope by your effort the thinking of people against ricshawala will change. i read ur story from bbc/hindi page and i read all of your blog's stories, all of stories are intersting and eye catching i really felt sad by feeling myself as a ricksahwalla through your stories.

  3. Gaurav, how far you could go in your social experiment that I don't know. Hats off to your social attitude. After reading BBC's post I visualize and try to step into a rickshawala shoe. Being so called educated if I'm a rickshawala as a profession I would like to maximize my earning and will try to find ways to make life easier. Probably keep some savings to upgrade rickshaw with mechanical gears and good breaking system, unite other rickshaw pullers and fix rates on time and distance basis, making rickshaw a recreational value than just a regular commute (here I'm referring rickshaws which operate in Manhattan NYC). In end will ask for a ram-ram or thank you note once I provide my service. Just a bit of dignity what we work for.
    About Delhi cops I think they start conversation with a slap whether the person is on a scooter or bus.

    Take it easy and keep posting your experiments. I know this experiment is going test you in many ways and will build your tolerance.

    - Ajay Singh

  4. ये मेरे लिए एक अत्यंत आश्चर्य का विषय है कि एक इतना पढ़ा लिखा नौजवान रिक्शा चलाने का काम कर रहा है । उद्देश्य अभी भी बहुत साफ नहीं है पर ... मुझे लगता है कि ये समाज को एक आइना अवश्य ही दिखा देगा । बस जरूरत इस बात की है कि आप सिर्फ रिक्शा चलाते हुए न रह जाएं अपित जीवन का ये जो दर्शन आप देख और सीख रहे हैं ... इसको व्यावहारिक जीवन में और सटीकता से प्रदर्शित कर पाएं । आपको सफलता मिलेगी .. इसका तो मुझे पूरा यकीन है ही पर ... जो उम्मीद आपसे की जा सकती है वो ये है कि आप भविष्य में ऐसा काम अवश्य करें जो हिन्दुस्तान में आम आदमी के हितों की रक्षा कर सके ।

  5. Well your story is popular now.....thanks to bbc. I would be reading your posts now. keep a camera and take wonderful pictures of beautiful India and put it on the web for sale. I hope you publish something that will bring attention of some dignitaries and they will do some justice to rickshaw walas life.