As soon as we step out of the house, we look for someone to make our travel easier. In the times of cabs and autos, these unnoticed and ignored rickshawallahs are something to cherish. Those tanned arms, strong muscles, dry hands and sweaty bodies hide a lot that is left unseen. Here is a glimpse into the life of these everyday invisible heroes.
It’s a rarity now, but earlier, except for the old government transport buses, the rickety rickshaws were the primary mode of urban transport. Here in Vijayawada, surprisingly there exist a decent, though dwindling, number of rickshaws.
So I hop on to David Raju’s rickshaw to know his story and to enjoy a ride. David tells me, that people still choose rickshaws in the city as the old by-lanes are crammed and the motor autos find these lanes hard to manoeuvre. So that’s where these rickshawallahs operate.
It’s unimaginable how these middle-aged and old men cycle their way through the ups and downs, the motor traffic and the hot sun.
Mind you, the average temperature here hovers around 40 degrees all year long. He says the silver lining, even for him, is that they are the last of the rickshawallahs. His children are studying at a government hostel and he is sure that they will lead better lives.
He makes about Rs.200 a day but says the physical exertion takes a toll, and that he drinks every night to soothe the body strain and to sleep. It’s how they’ve lived and they are making sure the next generation wouldn’t fall into this extremely taxing job.
But still, if you ever go to a place where you can find rickshaws, do hop on because its an experience that is unforgettable. With cars, bikes and buses passing by, it’s as if you are sitting in a time machine and watching modern India go by.
See more Invisible Heroes of Everyday here.