Rickshawshank Redemption

Gurgaon educates, entertains and eradicates. Eradicates what, you ask? Disc.

Not silly little things like flying discs nor the discus throw disc (Can you say that 15 times quickly? Discus throw disc. Feel free to practice.)

Of course I am talking about the disc in your spine. One among the several that holds the entire setup together and allows you to be a vertebrate.

Yes, these discs would be systematically eradicated when you live in Gurgaon for extended periods, and the event shall be characterized by a precision matched only by the Kalmadic method of eradicating public money. Unfortunately though, Suresh Kalmadi is not the culprit behind this abominable phenomenon that characterizes Gurgaon.

Let me try to explain it in a different manner. Gurgaon has three seasons. They are not Summer, Rainy and Winter like is the case in the rest of the country. Instead, they are the following –

Season of the Roads – This is also known in some quarters as the Season of the Money. During the four months of this season, the money that we the Public pay as tax is diverted from the public exchequer’s account in State Bank of India to the Savings Account of the Tar company owner in Dena Bank. But if you assume this to be a simple one-way transaction, I must dash your hopes with a shrug and a pitiful shake of the head. You are being naive, dear friend.

See the following diagram –

The Food Chain

See how complicated it is? See?? Aam Aadmi’s money travels in something resembling Brownian Motion, with a shadowy presence in the middle consuming most of it. The contractor’s model in this figure has been the subject of much midnight-oil-burning by those who study such things, as the method by which he gets back the salary he pays out to his Tar-men is commendable. He merely starts a contract business for booze. Ingenious.

Anyhow, with whatever little money they get, the Tar-men construct beautiful roads which adorn the Millennium City during the Season of the Roads. The remaining money travels in Brownian fashion and necessitates the next two seasons of Gurgaon.

Season of the Lakes – This follows immediately, when Delhi and it’s satellite towns get submerged in downpours so bad that some offices actually shift their times from 9-6 to 11-8. This of course has no effect on when you leave your house in the morning. There have been several instances during the recently concluded Season of the Lakes, when one took 2.5 hours to travel the 5 kms or so from one’s home to the office, only to be beaten to the morning Samosas by one’s colleague who lives in Noida 40 kms away. One’s face turned red with anger.

Season of the Lakes is when the beautifully constructed roads from the previous season gets neatly removed and lakes of varying shapes and sizes get formed. This of course is merely Gurgaon’s way of answering it’s critics that the city has no tourist attraction. Lakes, for heaven’s sake! What more do you want? During this season, several Delhiites reportedly congregate on the NH-8 without fail, to snap pictures of these wonderful lakes in the DLF premises down below, confusing it to be part of the Kingdom of Dreams setup.

This is also the time when the Marketing folks at Surf Excel roll up their sleeves and start shooting the “Dhaag accha hai” ads. The HUL officials merely walk down the stairs of their corporate building in Gurgaon and push their kids on to the roads. And then the ads are shot.

Season of the Rollers – Finally arrives the Season of the Rollers. This one is straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel. I mean, visually the description would be something like –

“Gigantic road rollers occupied two lanes of the road at all possible times during the Season of the Rollers. The remaining two lanes are used by all traffic, navigating their way carefully around the stationary cows (Lovecraft would instead have Cowthulhu or some such beast), which remain the only beings unaffected by the seasonal changes.”

Kindly glance at the following visual for clarity. The ‘C’s in the picture are cars, the ‘R’s are cycle rickshaws, the ‘R-R’ is one of those gigantic Road-Rollers.

Please don't say that's a bull and not a cow

If you did not carefully note the arrows in the picture, kindly proceed to do so now. They indicate the direction of motion. Of course the cow has no direction of mootion, and for the cars it’s pretty straightforward, but the arrows near the rickshaws give a very heavy hint on what the best and most reliable form of transportation in Gurgaon is.

Well, Indian cows do have the right of way over every other creature. There was this hilarious comic recently by flyyoufools, which gives an accurate idea of how Cows really rule the roads in the Northern part of our country. But you can’t exactly travel on them, can you?

So, mooving on from the cud-chewing curmudgeons, the most reliable form of transportation is undoubtedly the rickety rickshaws. Trust me. You must NOT be misled by the rickshaw’s appearance. Nor the rickshawala’s.

Rickshaw Bandhan

The Great Indian Rickshaw is a supremely engineered contraption which can carry close to 10 people under the right conditions. Refer picture below (image courtesy)

Gurgaon Rickshawala furiously cycling away from the Family Planning babu.

And the Great Indian Rickshawala is an equally supremely engineered fellow, who might look like an unfed street urchin, but secretly has the strength of a 100 Great Khalis. Will he beat the Great Khali in the ring? Maybe not. But will he carry the Great Khali in his rickshaw like King Kong carrying that dainty little woman? HELL, YEAH!

Public dependence on these Khali-carriers and their steeds is especially strong in Gurgaon, due to paucity of other forms of transportation. And more importantly, they represent the city in so many other ways. As can be seen from that picture with arrows and Cows, Gurgaon rickshaws can commute freely on the right side of the road. That makes them the true symbol of this city of capitalists and ardent followers of the western model of development.

Hence, imagine the chaos when the rickshawalas suddenly decided to strike (undoubtedly a Mallu infiltration happened in their brotherhood) one fine day last month! Unofficially termed ‘Rickshaw Bandhan’, this day saw a peak in the number of absences in Gurgaon offices, which directly caused the financial markets to crash (Sorry Mumbai) and a number of MBA-type traders to briefly consider early retirement in Goa instead of the Caribbean. And therefore dear MBA-types, ignore the rickshawala at your own peril. When a rickshawala’s heart-rate flutters in one corner of Gurgaon, it sets loose a random chain of….OK, too much.

That was a brief summary of the various seasons of Gurgaon and the city’s major form of transportation. Now go back to your work.


6 responses to “Rickshawshank Redemption

  1. Heh heh! Having been in Gurgaon for a good couple of years, I can completely relate to this!!

    Strikes happening everywhere these days… Mumbai included!! I guess some mallu traditions had to spread around… πŸ˜‰

  2. It depends on time and situation, not a great issue. But it’s sure that we should follow rule and regulation……

  3. Haha! Rickshaw Bandhan is brilliant πŸ˜€
    Well written.

  4. Thanks Kartik and KC πŸ™‚

    @business center in gurgaon – Of course. Jugaad.

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