headermask image

roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Eff-rick-in’ crazy!

As the last two evenings have been “Curriculum Night” at the school, Susan and I have been busy hopping to and from the school, giving our presentations and then putting on our ‘parent hat’ to sit in on the kids’ teachers.

Tonight, I had to get the kids home from school, get them all homeworked, get some food in them, and make sure everything was ok before going back to school to see Breck’s class presentation. Then, because Susan was still doing her spiel for another hour, I got to rush back home and put them to bed.

This doesn’t really sound like the sort of stuff that exciting evenings are made of, until you remember that this is in India – and all that transportation is done in rickshaws. That is not usually such a big deal, but today was different. I took three (four, really, as you’ll see) trips, and each had interesting and unique aspects about them:

Rickshaw #1 – As the kids and I were coming home from school, our driver spat out a big red stream of betel juice as we waited for the light to turn, which prompted Alea to mutter, “Gross.” Then Breck saw a hijra – what is often called a “eunuch” here: a man dressed up as a woman – begging at a corner and we had quite the discussion about them.

Rickshaw #2 – When I headed out to go back to the school, I realized that our elevator had broken in the building: 7 flights down (and no excitement about the return back up!). When I caught the rickshaw, things seemed to be going well, up until the point that we hit another rickshaw going through an intersection. As it was the first “accident” I’d been in, it was an interesting mess. Neither vehicle seemed to suffer too much damage, and the drivers pulled over, yelled at each other for a few minutes, and then proceeded on their ways. I suppose we were in need of a blessing, which is why a cow stuck its head inside at the next stoplight and licked my hand! That is another “never before” event for me.

Rickshaw #3 – After the school presentation, where I sat in the 4th grade room with the school superintendent and his wife, the associate superintendent, my principal, and the high school principal’s husband (along with many other parents), I hopped back in another rick to get home. This ride started with us sitting behind a delivery truck that had 2 men sitting in the back eating their dinner, which was followed by us getting involved in a yelling match with a rider in another rickshaw. We got stuck in traffic, and inched our way up to where a passenger was yelling and gesticulating and slapping his driver. The other driver was almost in tears, and my guy started yelling across at the passenger, and pretty soon the three of them were at each others’ throats. Mind you, this conversation was all in Marathi, which I don’t understand at all, so I’m only guessing here that it had something to do with the driver not going the direction the passenger wanted and now he was mad about being stuck in traffic.

Luckily for me, we got out of that situation when the rickshaw I was in stalled, and the driver couldn’t get it going. He pushed it for a while, fiddled around in the back, and finally looked at me with a shrug. Then when I tried to be a nice guy and pay him – even though we’d gotten barely halfway home – he started yelling at me to pay double the meter (something that is just not done!). That was not a pleasant way to start my walk down the road!

Rickshaw #4 – After having a couple of ricks not take me (either because they didn’t want to go in the direction of our home or because they didn’t understand what I was saying!), one picked me up. He had a couple of incense sticks burning and was about as mellow as they come. He deftly steered around the traffic jams, and got us on the right course. We ended up having to take a little detour, however, when we came across a huge hole in the road with literally a gushing river of water in it. It seemed to be a broken water main, and there were guys down there in the mud trying to scoop out oozing black sewer stuff with what looked like oversized dinner plate.

And then I made it to Kiara – just in time to walk all those stairs. Ahh, there’s no place like home!

If you like the Stutzfamily blog, feel free to subscribe to our rss feed

2 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. This is hilarious! Rickshaw 1, 2, 3, and 4! Don’t you just love India!!

    1. Ann on August 28th, 2008 at 8:50 am
  2. Great story

    2. Karla on September 10th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.