The world is flat, Pune roads are not.


I had heard enough about the driving skills of Pune rickshaw fellows. Today,I just happened it be vis -a-vis with one such entrepreneur.It was around 7.00 PM and the Railway station was bustling with 7 million sounds. I barely managed to crawl my way out of the swarm of souls and
found myself entangled in a web of the most dubious Rickshaw fellows. I announced that I wanted a ride to Aundh on the outskirts of the city. Before I realized, a haggle broke out with prices shooting to 80INR , 90 INR up to 100 INR for a ride to a place 12 kilometers that would normally cost 70 INR. Agitated by the wide spread monopoly and none ready to ride me to Aundh, I moved away walking my way through the narrow street that leads to the next
Rickshaw hive.

I had just walked about 200 meters when I encountered this very young lad, dressed in an orange T-Shirt and blue jeans and a black cap worn backwards. His appearance, from the driver seat of the rickshaw amazed me and as he started to talk I understood how well Bollywood influenced the Indian youth. I insisted on 80 INR and we mutually disagreed because he demanded 90 INR. I walked further ahead after abandoning him only to find that he was following me. We agreed on 85 INR.

As he flew the three- wheeler through the most dubious parts of the city, I held my heart tight. Speed fascinated him and I could not help but acknowledge his driving skills with which he managed to skip and avoid the larger than life pot holes of the city. The ride was getting like one of those roller coasters on Californian beaches. The rickshaw and his mouth seemed to fight the race against time. The monologue covered various topics like, "the roads of Pune", "why do 'well -off 'people haggle for prices", "What is life like for a rickshaw driver in Pune". His analytical skills dumbfounded me. I could just imagine, if he could not write a blog of his own to express his deep concerns and understanding of this world and create a separate section for "How to fly through the traffic in Pune ?"
Nevertheless, the learning from the trip is that, an average Indian today is aware enough of his capability and takes on the world in a spirit that truly represents 'the Soul of the Earth'. The information explosion has left behind a young lad that understands without bias, the nuances of regional politics and the auto engine equally. He is no longer crippled and a generation later may not succumb to exploitation. It is a bunch of millions of such informed souls that represent the spirit of India, its growing economy. This bunch also represents a whole pool o f people who can deliver quality, if employed aptly. The very fact that we have an auto driver in India who can comment on the government Tax policy and wear a Michael Schumacher cap strengthens, "The world is indeed flat even if Pune roads are not"
Unless we, the educated youth stand up for the infrastructure, developement, environment, political and social issues, the world we grow flatter but the roads from India that lead there wont.

1 comment:

Paritosh said...

If you think of it the other way round - the very fact that an auto rickshaw dirver in India can comment on the tax policies of the government, a paan wala has his own views about the reservations in higher education institutes proposed by the government or for that matter, a farmer in a remote village is proud of the fact that APJ Abdul Kalam is India's President (& not because he is a Muslim, or a South Indian but for the politically correct reasons) speaks great lengths about the 'awareness' of the common man in India. India rocks!!
-Paritosh