Ideal shitty job = Rickshaw driver

My future occupation?

My future occupation?

Driving in India is fun.  It’s like playing a videogame, in the sense that Indians drive like they’re playing “Need for Speed” with an unlimited number of game-overs. They’ll shoot any gap, squeeze any median, and jump any speed bump (and there are many). Worse comes to worse, they’ll slam the brakes and collapse onto the horn.  They don’t fear the horn, like pussy Americans, who would hesitate to offend a hornet out to sting them.  In fact, almost every truck actually displays the request “Horn please” — in decorative hand-painting — above its bumper.

Okay, it's misspelled, but you get the picture.

"Horn Pleaes": Okay, it's misspelled, but you get the picture.

If I had to work a shitty job, Delhi rickshaw driver would be at the top of the list (except not bike rickshaw, since I witnessed today that those bone-dry single gears suck to crank on). This occupation has it all:

1.  Excitement: “Can I make it in between that milk truck and accelerating pack of bikers? Only one way to find out…”

2.  Variety: Every part of Delhi, from the people-clogged streets of Chandni Chowk to the Ring Road, which is like a congested version of the autobahn. Picking up everyone from tourists to working stiffs.

3.  Fun: Spotting an easy mark (not hard; white-skinned and wielding a camera) and manipulating him like a little kid reaching hungrily and wide-eyed toward a cookie in your hand must be a blast.

See, bike rickshaw is not nearly as much fun.

See, bike rickshaw is not nearly as much fun.

Yeah, not feeling the bike rickshaw at all.

Yeah, not feeling the bike rickshaw at all.


3 Responses to “Ideal shitty job = Rickshaw driver”

  1. Forgot to mention: According to rickshaw driver Bhim Sing, there are 80,000 rickshaw taxis in Delhi, most of them controlled by a few large companies. His company owned 25,000, he said.
    Of course, he also said he’d never had an accident in 15 years of driving a rickshaw, which would seem to be a virtual impossibility on India’s chaotic roads.

  2. Yelena Shuster Says:

    hi Alec,
    very interesting blog. i am also from russia (donetsk specifically; ukraine technically)… though i haven’t lived there since i was 7. your posts about india give me nostalgia…
    just letting you know you have a new admirer

  3. Yelena Shuster Says:

    ps. my first impression of india was it’s sweet smell as i rode in the taxi from the airport to one of the poorest districts of delhi (don’t remember name) where i was greeted by gangs of dogs and hordes of sleeping bodies (on benches, in rickshaws, in pedicabs, on the ground)

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