One day from the life of the velaiksha
Varanasi is rightly called one of the oldest cities in the world. Stretching along the western bank of the Gang River, it is a labyrinth of narrow streets, branching and intersecting. Every day, the city, which is believing the Hindus, the sacred place, takes the flow of tourists and pilgrims both from India itself and from other countries. Despite the fact that in Varanasi more than a million inhabitants, it is possible to cross it in about an hour. But here, as in any other city of the world, traffic jams. Considering the medieval narrowness of the streets and the absence of public transport, BELORIKSHA – the fastest and most convenient way to get somewhere. Extremely weak competition they make up the motoriks, the tariff in which is twice as high. If the motor wheel is a three-wheeled scooter with the cab, then the velaiksha is a small pleasure "coach", Highly raising passenger over the bustle of the streets of the Indian city and driven by the driver, torque pedal. Generally, Ricksha in India came to replace horses. First time a trip to "Miracle Machine" was expensive, and only people with high prosperity could afford it. However, gradually Ricksha became truly folk transport. 10 km from Varanasi there is a famous plant for the whole India, which is engaged in the production of velaiks. A new bike costs about 20,000 Indian rupees (this is about 12,000 Russian rubles), and the support can be purchased for 5, and even for 3 thousand rupees. Each copy is a work of art. Drivers try to decorate their vehicle by applying magic symbols to it and paint the rainbow in all colors, since the success of items, by believing Indian Ricks, is associated with the location of the gods.
In order to understand what Varanasi looks like "Carrot", I took rent a lot, leaving the owner decent on Indian standards a mortgage amount. Mine "Handsome" It was only ten years old. According to his owner, this time is very small, and the bike is considered almost new. Wanted to finally not forget to lubricate the chain and not to plant more than four people, Banglavs disappeared into the darkness of the alley, for the first time in many years, returning from work on foot.
It should be noted that the morning Rickshaw starts early. Many drivers closer to the night just fall asleep on the seats of their bikes until their first morning passenger wokes up. So, I wind up a wide scarf’s wide scarf – one turn through the chin and a little around the forehead, how often professional velaiksha do – and start the day. It turned out that this occupation requiring not so much forces as endurance. A bike with passengers to stronger from the scene is not so difficult, but bring them to distant distances – this is a serious physical work. The distance to which Rickshaw is limited and equals approximately 5 km. Then you need to make a transplant to another drive. For such "maximum speed" A local resident will pay the amount equivalent to 15-20 Russian rubles, and the tourist is 2-3 times more. Of course, tourists are of the greatest interest to Veloiks. Such luck is not so often, but when it happens, the driver is coming. Serious help can have the most primitive knowledge of English. In the absence of a well-developed group of sounds and meaningful gestures from the driver there are every chance to fill a big value for your service.
They say: "Newbies are lucky!" And the first my passenger was the Israelis of Medium Dimensions. After my masquerade was recognized, I found out that his name is Zvi, and he returned from his Indian friends. Past me slowly proceeded at home only waking up Indian city. The sky in the narrow slot of the street seemed to be perfect white. Ahead of me was waiting for a hot and difficult day.
Rather humanely, that the driver of Rickshaw nobody makes all the way to twist the pedals. For example, on the risks of the bike, you can simply roll, which is also more convenient in areas with poor road surface. Other participants of the movement: such as private bikes, scooters, cattle and simply pedestrians – belong to Veloiksha somewhat dismissively, suddenly unfolding or stopping right in front of him. Then you have again slowly and hard to gain speed. You can often hear the shout: "Hey, Ricksha!", who calls Rickshaw to immediately go through and give way to the road.
The serious difficulty I experienced during the work is the crowds of the Zevak, who were going around me, it was worth only to stop. On the road was easier. Everyone watched other vehicles and did not look at the faces of drivers. Therefore, I did stop on vacation: Parking my bike, I jumped and immediately mixed with the crowd. Those rare passersby, which for a moment a man noticed "tourist" or European appearance behind the wheel of the velaikshi, did not attract the attention of the public, simply not believing their eyes.
Difficulties associated with my "Foreign" origin – when removing the local population – forced me to reoriented to the remuneration of tourists. Unlike the inhabitants of Varanasi, who sometimes refused my services or on the road suddenly jumped from the velaiks and were taken to help me, tourists turned out to be more favorable to such an experiment. They willingly showed the road, were vividly interested in the details of the work of Rickshaw and paid twice as much as the local population for the same distance.
By noon, I felt exhausted after the trip to "Three End" And decided to eat. As it turned out, there are whole streets in the city, on which Rickshaws dine, meet, spend a short rest. Prices for food here are incommensurable lower than in other places. A variety of dishes is reduced to rice with sharp sauces and tea. In addition to Ricksha, these places almost no one visits.
In one day, or rather before sunset (in October in Varanasi, at five o’clock in the evening) I earned 160 Indian rupees (approximately 100 rubles). This is a very good indicator, considering that I only have six people, four of which were tourists. For comparison: the usual rickshaw per day earns about 200-250 rupees, carrying about 20-25 people.
Anticipating inevitable pains in the legs from the unusual load, I did not plan anything for tomorrow and returned the owner’s velaik. The next day, on October 31, the election of the mayor of the city of Varanasi was appointed, and the government decree banned anyone from seven in the morning to five in the evening to stimulate a large attendance of elected sites. For one day, Varanasi acquired a rare appearance of the city with streets without bazaars, without movement, without Ricks.