Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Homecoming of a Rickshaw-walla!

Who says courts only prolong matters? Sometimes, they expedite them as well although these are "Rarest of the rare" occasions!

Today I had to go against my will to Dwarka distt. courts as part of a family land-dispute case (dont worry I havn't filed a case against my dad for my share! :P ). I have realized that courts are like your best friends. They don't give a s**t when you are hanging around with them but they miss you a lot when you are not not there. So much so that they issue warrants, sometimes non-bailable, to fetch you!

At 10AM I was at the court where I came face to face with my mom - first time since the news broke of me being a rickshaw-walla 4 days ago.
She asked me to explain. I declined (as I believed there was nothing to explain beyond the Navbharat Times news-report.
She persisted with some emotional-atyaachaar (main teri maa hoon, agar mujhe nahin samjhaayega to kise samjhaayega? et al)
I tried to explain. she didn't understand... once...twice. I gave up.
She asked me to explain once more - my motive, my objective, my aspirations.
I tried again. finally some ice was broken, some dark clouds were scattered.
it turned out that she was particularly miffed for two reasons -
1) she didn't know until when this 'experiment' will continue. the report didn't mention that "I hope to end it by November"!
2) the report mentioned "Girls in DU ask me that I don't look like a rickshaw-walla", alluding as if only girls ask me that ...further alluding that I am doing it to score some brownie points with girls ! ;)

The court hearing was over with the usual practice of giving another date and my mom said, "tu ek baar aa to sahi ghar" (which sent chill down my spine). I asked her to explain what she meant. She didn't.

Interestingly, my Dad was quite chilled out all this while, In fact, he hasn't even once asked me what the F*** I was doing and why. While returning from court my mom noticed my cracked heels n lumped feet and said to my dad "look what he has done to his feet" and he said, "so what?" ! hahhaha... that was awesome! I guess I should gift him a bottle of Heinekin ! ;)

Nevertheless, I picked my cycle (whom I missed the most) from the parking of the metro station and went home. I wasn't asked any further question, not locked up in a dark room nor thrashed with a wet chappal ! :P
On the contrary, I was give a sumptuous lunch! for someone who had to borrow money this morning to buy even a Parle G (not exaggerating even an iota), that was pure bliss. The party didn't end there.

I slept for three hours (although I intend to sleep only 30 minutes!) in a cushy bed, with a soft furry blanket and a pillow... yes, a pillow and not my bag stuffed with worn clothes! trust me, a pillow is a luxury. Infact, planning commission would come up with far saner policies based on "Pillow-line" rather than poverty line!

I was home and I was doing what I do best - screw up my time on Facebook! also, read random stuff online and occasionally write a blog. I was back to the world to which I had practically said goodbye for good. In fact, I made some initial investments (which swallowed all my savings) for my new life - a towel (Rs 40), a tooth brush (11), a toothpaste (10), a soap (10), washing powder sachet (2), and a makeup kit (Rs 5 vaseline!). In the coming days, I was planning to buy some Lux Cozis (or even anonymous ones from the roadside vendor) instead of Jockeys and that was cringing my heart (and something else as well!) the most!

I was also preparing myself to bathe with ultra-cold water for the rest of the winters. (although not bathing for most of the season was a partial solution). In fact, I never knew I was such a meticulous planner before these three & a half days. I was making lists, balancing my needs (not wants) with my resources. I was planning ahead...weeks ahead. Although, all the three days I ended up a nillionaire !

Sadly, all that futuristic planning has now gone down the drain. I am back to my home. a place which looks too plush to me now. 3 months back, I would have made a million excuses to dissuade you from visiting it!

So, it was the homecoming of a rickshaw-walla after only 3 & a 1/2 days of 'Vanvaas' (or RainBsera Vaas as my friend puts it)! Should we light some lamps or burn some firecrackers to celebrate? Naah, chuck it. Lets go green! ;)


  1. Gaurav, I doff my hat to you. You are trying to understand first hand how the other India lives and that is something so rare that I am humbled. If people could only take a leaf out of your book and try to be more compassinate to others.


  2. Way to go young man! God bless you!

  3. Hey.. I came to know about you through a Hindu column and I couldn't stop myself from reading the entire blog! I have no words to convey my respect and regards for you. Generally people keep on talking about social issues but hardly anyone ever tries to understand the things from the other perspective. Hats off to you for putting a great example in front of us. I am sure you will excel in any job that you take up in future :) I hope the compassion remains there and I hope you keep enlightening us with some social journalism. I also wish that people (including me) don't forget this blog/news article as just another article but take a real lesson out of it. God Bless you!

  4. man your endeavours with life are really amazing.. hats of to your determination. some of us might be thinking like you, but doing is what that matters.

  5. There is a brilliant documentary called 'All Rise for Your Honour'(2011, dir. Sumit Khanna) which has this grotesque flavour of your first two paragraphs about the court system. I was doing a fieldwork this summer in Delhi on rickshaw wallahs and I was interviewing them on their access to justice, corruption of the MCD and the police, and their lives in general. I'm glad their issues are being raised. They are well deserving of a dignified life and I think your example shows that it is time to stop thinking of them as scum, and start treating them with respect of people who try to earn their living through honest and hard work.

  6. We can atleast burn some incense sticks if u want ;)

  7. Your Mom loves you, but your Dad is awesome. That's why he has such a great Son.

  8. I haven't seen the NBT or Hindu reports. I came to this blog through a post in the facebook (to which I am NOT a regular visitor). I read all your blogs in one sitting, as some others have also said. I have no words to explain my feelings (i) for your initiative of being a rickshaw puller and also (ii) for your blog posts. I have become your fan. I have subscribed to your blog. Though I have seen several blogs in the past three months when I started blogging, this is the first one I thought I SHOULD read regularly. Hats off to you, Gaurav.


  10. This link might be of interest to you. Dr Madhu Kishwar has been fighting for rickshaw pullers since the last few years.

  11. What you have done is nothing short of amazing !!!! Kudos to you and your brave soul. Keep it going.

  12. are awesome...

    first hand real life exp... not many have such courage...

    all the best...

    I am chasing you...not on the road ...but blog for sure :)