Dear Bangalore Rickshaw Man,
I will get straight into the point.
I have been living in Bangalore for barely a year and a half. Enough material to write a love letter to you.
Every time I ask you to go somewhere, you say NO to me. Every time. I wait so much for you to make my day with your beautiful appearance. Then also why do you hate me so much? I thought first that you hated me because I do not know Kannada/Malyalam/Tamil/Telugu and that my Hindi is worse than your Hindi. But even after I joined classes for ‘How to speak Hindi like a True Blooded South Indian’, you still ignore me? Why?
And when you do decide to come, after much coaxing and endless waiting in sun, rain and other kinds of unpredictable Bangalore weather, you tell me that you will not charge me as per the meter. Why? Why must you torture me like this with all your nakhras? My father did not put that meter in your rickshaw no? If he did, I would tell him to remove it and use it to scratch your back. But the Government put that meter in your rickshaw, so you must show respect and use it no? If you don’t like Indian Government, then why do you remove all your hate on me? I sit nicely and listen to your South Indian music. Then also you will not charge me with the meter. If you won’t scratch your own back with the meter you do not use, at least scratch mine. That also you won’t do. After all the love I shower on you, this is what I get.
And to top it all, why you rob your own beloved of so much money? If the fare is 17 rupees, you will not return 3 rupees if I give you 20 rupees. What is that? I own one bike, but my husband works very hard so he cannot get up in the morning to drop me to class. So in pity I come to you, you silly rickshaw man. That way morning morning, I get to see your lovely face also. But how you repay me? You charge me insane amounts of money to take me from home to my guitar class and back! And both times, you charge different. When I am going to the class you take 50 rupees. When I am coming home you take 70 rupees. What is this double timing you are doing with me? My father’s fault or what, that the roads are bad? My father doesn't own anything but one tiny house in Malad in Bombay. If he owned the road, then both of us would go cavorting in Bangalore Volvo AC bus to airport and back no? But he doesn't own the road with so many holes. Then why you take out all road anger on me and make me pay so much?
And if it rains, instead of getting all romantic and Tollywood song-singing-types, you unleash ‘Rate Card from Hell’ on me. For 1km travel, you will charge me 40 rupees. And if I am carrying one onion in my hand, you will charge me 60 rupees. Why you hate onions and rain so much? I was going to make kanda bhajiyas for you and make some tea by collecting water from the leaking roof of your rickshaw. So much I love your rickshaw and its nature-friendly ways. And yet, you want to make me poorer? And what happens to you in the night time? The bhootiya (bhoot + ch**iya) enters your body or what? Why you charge me some three times the original fare? Night time people get all romantic and all you can think of is money? Why silly man why?
Now after all this also, I still persist to show you how much love I have for you. After you have vehemently refused to acknowledge my shadow also, you rudely tell me hop in. I hop in, you go 3kms, then stop in the middle of nowhere and tell me to get down and walk the rest of the 10kms. What is this new nautanki you have started? If you want to leave me, just say so, I will go okay. But don’t tell me to leave after I am all comfortable and about to sleep to the sweet hum of the roaring South Indian music. And if you think that this is your way of telling me to exercise because I am fat, then I am seriously very hurt. After all I lost so much weight just trying to stop you. If you had so much as looked in my direction, you would have seen how much weight I had lost. And looking in rear-view mirror that shows amazing angles of my chest does not count. Thankfully, I have not lost any weight there ok. That much you know very well na, you silly rickshaw man.
But you won’t leave me, you will roam around me and ignore me like I am a dirty big fart from an elephant. And you bring your friends also to join you in this ignoring parade. Why you make fun of me, I do not get. And yet, I do not disown you, even though I know that any ride in the lap of luxury that is your rickshaw could be the last day of my life. I risk life, limb and guitar every time I hitch a ride with you. The loving curves that your vehicle take has drastically changed the positioning of my internal organs. My childhood dream of reaching out to moving buses from a moving rickshaw is realised every single time, sometimes so closely that someone from the window of the bus can reach out and spit some conditioner onto my head if they are inclined to.
So much I suffer for your love. One ride is too much to ask perhaps, so one look also will do.
But at least, oh silly rickshaw man, show me some lovin’.
Disgruntled Loveless Passenger