With a pounding heart of 150cc pushing 7hp of raw power to the wheels the Indian Auto Rickshaw is engineering at its... well perhaps not its best. Driving a 'tuk-tuk' or a 'rick' as they call it here might not be the fastest thing you'll ever do, but by goodness it is an experience. Loud, uncomfortable, prone to breaking down and completely useless at protecting you from anything at all, they are really not your best, but sometimes your only choice to travel around the city. No, I'm not a big fan of rickshaws. And here is why.
After a small farewell party our friends threw last weekend before leaving India we hired a rickshaw back to our place. It was about 10PM and dark and that's when things began to get interesting. Halfway home, the rickshaw hit something in the road (probably the unmarked road divider) and we did what I can only describe as a somersault. The driver lost control over the vehicle, we hit the curb, the back end flew up into the air, turned us over and the vehicle landed on its side.
I recall being upside down and instinctively curling myself up into a ball for protection... Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as it always does in these situations... we came to a stop.
Arek: Are you alright?
Me: Yes, I'm okay... are you?
The rickshaw was lifted from us and a crowd of men started to gather around out of nowhere, they seemed unsure what to do now that the rickshaw had been safely removed from these very dishevelled and dazed looking foreigners. Very luckily we were not hurt with the exception of some minor bumps and scratches, but we saw the driver curled up on the side of the road, holding his heavily scratched hands in front of him, his mouth bleeding an open wound on the back of his head. When we mentioned the word 'hospital' no one seemed very enthusiastic about it and the driver stood up and started to slowly move the rickshaw away from the road.
We started to walk down the road thinking about the way to get home. Finally we had no other choice and hailed another rickshaw (this was the last thing we wanted to be in... but needs must), we climbed in and went back to our apartment. So now we can not-so-proudly call ourselves rickshaw accident survivors.
This was another adventure we had here in India. I keep wondering what's next. But very hopefully the saying is true... lightening never strikes in the same place twice! Afterall we still have to go around in these little 3-wheelers - for about 2 months more.
This is the other rickshaw driver who took us home after the accident. He made a point of being photographed and asked us to send him the picture by post
All photos Arek