Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hello Saira

RR Journal - June 23, Kolkata

When we reach La Matiniere at 10am, the first four autorickshaws have already been taken and we have to wait for the next lot. They were all supposed to have reached by 7am, but the organisers just tell us, “This is India, you guys know better than us how things work here.”
When the next four rickshaws arrive, Shez and Akshay are off wandering, one examining the handiwork of the others, the other taking photos. So it’s up to me to grab a rickshaw for us and I choose the one with the nicest license plate number – 4114.
The rickshaws are 175cc, 4-stroke machines with self-starters. That’s 28ccs more than the 147 we expected – which makes us very grateful – when you’re planning to go the Himalayas in an autorickshaw, an extra 28ccs tend to have that effect.
There’s a guy at hand with a team of painters and mechanics who can soup up our rickshaws with whatever extras we need. We opt for a dog horn, extra headlight and a stereo, plus a raincoat to cover the sides of the rickshaw when it’s wet. We consider asking the painters to paint it for us, but the price is too high, even with our ‘Indian’ discount, and we decide painting it ourselves will be more personal. So we head off to buy the paint.
Just before we left, Tom decided to give everyone a tutorial on how to drive the rickshaws in our Saira (that’s what Shez named her by then) and another auto. He took the keys to Saira, and gave me another set and told me to give it a whirl. Thanks to the little training I’d had with Faisal back in Mumbai, driving the rickshaw wasn’t hard and I was soon giving some of the students of La Martiniere a joyride around the compound. Once everyone had given the rickshaw a whirl, we were ready to go. We were also beginning to get worried about everyone learning to drive on Saira and stalling her every five seconds, so we stole the keys away from Tom and went off to buy paint.

Teesra Pahiya at Launch

The rest of the day went by in a whirlwind. At some point Akshay and I disappeared to run various errands and Shez was stuck till late in the night, painting Saira. As you can see, she did a good job. At night we went for the kick-off party, but we were all pretty exhausted and decided to turn in early, so we could be well rested before beginning our journey.

cross posted on teesra

4 comments:

confused said...

Welcome back n rambles.

confused said...

What about old posts?

neha said...

you're blogging again :)

n said...

[confused]
thanks. and they're hibernating ;)

[neha]
only because I was missing you :D