Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Auto-Rickshaw Drivers,

Dear Auto-Rickshaw Drivers,

Thank you for driving me around Guwahati. Thank you for putting up with my Taylor Swift music while you honk your horn. Thank you for ripping me off again and again. Thank you for teaching me how to be aggressive. Thank you for forcing me to learn Assamesse so I can understand what you're saying about me. Thank you for being jerks .

You always let me sing aloud to the music playing through my earphones. When I ask you if it is okay, you say of course and then start singing your own Assamesse song. I love our singing festivals. This is something good I will remember about you.

I will also remember your kids who attend the Don Boscoe afternoon school. They will do great as they are knowledgeable, sweet, and hard working. They know what they want and I guarantee they will get there. You only speak Assamesse and you are the reason I understand so much. Somehow, with hand motions and signs, I have learned what you are saying and how to say it.

I understand that you struggle and I understand that you have families. I am sorry that I have yelled at you so many times over the past eight months. But, after the first month of living here, I realized you all were just playing games with me. What should have cost me 80 rs, you charged me 150 rs instead. Your favorite thing to do is to rip people off. I felt bad when I caught you at this, imagining whom you support with the money you make off of driving me. Most of you all are Bangladeshi immigrants who move here for a better life and must start all over again and you have many mouths to feed. And I completely understand why you all want to rip me off: I am a blonde- haired, blue-eyed foreigner in a sea of locals. The concept definitely makes sense.

You laugh at me as you drive away with my rupees. I do not like people laughing at me, and I do not like people playing games with me. Walking up to your rickshaw stand and approaching your posse is like getting prepared for battle. I say the place I want to go, and you all gang up on me with one ridiculous high price. After fighting to bring down the price in my broken Assamesse, you do not budge and you refuse to take me. Bummer for you, because I walk away and you do not get paid. Being the object of your gang disgusts me and I choose to fight this.

One day we will be friends. I have trust that we can develop such a thing. Let’s try to be friends within the next couple of weeks. You try to understand that I want to pay the regular price. And I will try to understand that this is your job.

Much love (and sending smiles from India),

1 comment:

  1. i doubt any rickshaw puller will be reading this.