She Shouts, She Fights, She Drives- The Lady E-rickshaw Driver of Burari

She asks you where you are going. The destination does not matter. She will take you to where you name any destination. She has the guts to do things in her own way. And, that’s what inspired me to write this post.

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I could not inquire much about her. All that I could know is that she has been driving e-rickshaw on the Burari-GTB Nagar line since last four years. She is about 35 years of age. She is so far the only LADY e-rickshaw driver I have come across in Delhi. The first ever that I witnessed personally.

At first, I thought she was with her son or husband. She was asking the passengers where they are heading to. She was speaking fast, vigorously. When she saw me with my friend, she inquired the same. When we said Sant Nagar, she asked us to board the rickshaw. We did. That’s when I came to know that she was the driver!

Amidst the crowd of male drivers who keep shouting and fighting with each other to get passengers fast, she was no less. She was full of energy, confidence and was equally capable. She fought her way, shouted loudly, got the passengers fast and drove us to our respective destinations with ease.

Elsewhere in the world, seeing a lady driver may be normal. But in India, this is a rarity. All of us know why and I do not intend to engage in that stuff here.

I would say that the lady inspired me in many ways. She reminded me of especially the value of hard work. This does not mean that I do not see the unfairness of life, the inadequacy of the system, the protest of the oppressed, and that she might be pushed into doing that job she might not necessarily want. I simply wanted to celebrate the virtues she excelled. This short article is a small salute to her courage, determination and confidence.

Next time you see her, say hello. She will smile.

May you shine in life sister!

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One Thing About Travelling in the Delhi Metro is That It’s Shitty

These days, I have been taking long rides using Delhi Metro. The metro rides in Delhi is itself a huge challenge nowadays. Besides being very crowded, the lack of travel etiquettes among fellow travellers makes the situation even worse. The pushing and pulling while boarding the train, and breaking of queues at each point are the norm. Most metro travellers do not respect the feeling of other fellow travellers. It makes me think that even in such ordinary situations, people have become way too selfish.

Beginning from the ticket counter, the travellers often try to sneak from side and, without a little respect for others in the queue, tries to buy the ticket. When politely asked not to come and buy the ticket from the side, some of them would listen to the travellers in the queue and move away while some others would still would not listen. The person sitting in the ticket counter doesn’t say a word and there is no security personnel to look after this.

This breaking of queues happen at security checkpoint, at the entry gate, while boarding the train and at the exit point. At every turn, people will rush and try to break the queue.

When it is about to board the train, the real character of the people comes out. The species driven by instincts devoid of rational faculty are trying their best to serve their narrow interest. People don’t think about their safety as well as the safety of others. They don’t think about waiting for the next train a little longer and letting others who are already standing ahead in the queue board the train first.

Inside the train, people are told not to eat, drink, play loud music or take pictures while travelling inside the Delhi Metro. Well, you guess it or you have probably seen it. People inside the Delhi Metro eat, drink, play music and take pictures. They also throw the empty water bottles, empty plastic packets, chewing gum covers etc. on the floor of the train. Those carrying huge backpacks don’t care whether their unmindful movements are causing any discomfort to the fellow passengers.

While all these things may not bother most passengers. It bothers many others. It certainly bothers me though. I wish that the passengers are little mindful of fellow passengers’ feelings and keep the metro neat and clean and comfortable while travelling. Crowd is not the issue.

What I think from my observations of my fellow passengers in the Delhi Metro is that the dignity and respect for each other among people has certainly reduced to a considerably low point. The value of each life has significantly lost. If some people die in a stampede, it will just become a news item and nothing more. The day will pass as just another unfortunate day. There will be investigations and reports. That’s all. People will not stop to behave the way they are behaving now.

Why I am saying what I am saying? People rush and are not concerned whether their actions will lead to significant damage to others’ life. He doesn’t think and reflect. He just acts according to the stimuli. The same people have already heard, read, or seen people dying due to the negligence of others. Thousands of people die in India not because of their fault but because of the negligence of others. Road rage victims are the prime example. All these people have heard of a similar incident already. Then why is it that they continue to be negligent? Or, are they not aware that they are negligent?

The awareness programs through radio, television, and print media are not really working that effectively. It is not reaching most people. When we know that it is not reaching most people, that most people are not respecting the safety concerns of fellow passengers, we should not wait for a major unfortunate incident to happen to address the issue. It is better to act before a crisis happens.

What the government or concerned the authorities should or should not do must be a concern for the public. It’s time for public to behave as well.

One thing I would like to speak from my heart is: let’s teach the children about these social etiquettes. If the parents fail, let the children correct them. And, children are the best because they learn fast and early. I don’t have much hope from the elders who are never ready to change. I believe in the young blood who are asking for a better change.

 


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