Tag Archives: Autorickshaw

Mumbai Monsoon Through An Autorickshaw

Rainy Road


Motorist in the rain

Ideamarked 8-14Apr: Real Life Is Tragicomic

I’ve been in an indescribable frame of mind all week, well I tried anyway but couldn’t accurately put a word on it. There’s nothing really going on in my life. I don’t exactly feel depressed about it. Most  of the time it’s a nice kind of emptiness, one that gives me the space to fill it with funny, sweet thoughts. But when I meet other people, there’s an impending sense of gloom. There is much that is wrong with the world and the fact that laughter is not clean anymore, is the least of it. Here’s what was mirroring my mood all week:

  • #GenuineKoshan from the irrepressible twins to their mother: Finger Business
  • So bad it’s good from the 90s: Altaf Raja‘s Tum To Thehre Pardesi. Enjoy!

Catch the links as they appear on The Idea-smithy Facebook Page. If you’d like to see a link appear here, send it to me and I’ll feature it. Email me at ideasmithy at gmail dot com or

Repeat Business

Autorickshaw_Phir kab milenge

The Mumbaiker’s Prayer

Lord, grant me an autorickshaw for this morning’s commute,
Change and the correct meter reading at the end of the journey,
A sturdy body to take the bumps and speeding around turns,
The patience to not snap and end up on the side of the road, waiting again
And a blank mind that will let me forget I have to do this all over again tomorrow.

Who’s Your Daddy?

As much as I complain about autorickshaws, I can’t deny they certainly improve the stuck-in-traffic experience.

‘If ur bad, I am ur dad.’

Ideart: Grand Theft Autorickshaw!

I did this one a good while ago actually but I haven’t had a chance to put up a post about it so far. Twitter tells me that there’s an autorickshaw strike in the city today (again? when was the last time these guys did some work?) so here’s one for the frustrated commuter.

When I first spotted this plain yellow V-necked tee-shirt, I knew I wanted to do something around the taxi/ autorickshaw theme, given its colour. I wore the tee plain for a good few months because its clean, vibrancy added a lot of cheer to my mood.

When I finally got down to paintbrushes, I realized I’d need a number of practice runs to create the image. For starters, I wasn’t modifying an image I’d already seen (as with the superheroes), I didn’t have any earlier references (as with folk art). All I had was a vague image in my head.

Anybody who has been in Mumbai this past year knows that the public transport that we Mumbaikers used to pride ourselves on, has gone to the dogs. The endless metro work has key suburban stretches dug up & cordoned off to the point of dirt trackdom. Meter rates have gone up and so have cases of meter-tampering. What’s more, due to various regulatory dictats, there seem to be fewer autorickshaws & taxis plying on the roads now. And finally, to add insult to injury, these once ubiquitous black-and-yellow guy have turned rude to the point of inhuman (Sick person to be taken to the doctor? Floods & pouring rain? Bomb blasts? Forget about any help from these guys!). New York cabbies probably have nothing on us now.

Anyway, here’s how I chose to relieve my frustration:

Apologies for the not-clear photograph. It was shot on a cameraphone before I had my camera. And unfortunately the tee-shirt has gone missing now! 😦 The caption is ‘Grand Theft Autorickshaw‘ and painted on a silver rectangular background, complete with kiss decals to represent the sidey rear-view mirror of an autorickshaw.

Garment: Standard size S ladies’ V-neck tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Eggyolk yellow

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no. 21 Sap Green
  • Fevicryl no. 30 Flesh Tint
  • Fevicryl no. 27 White
  • Fevicryl no. 04 Crimson
  • Fevicryl no.304 Pearl Green

*Cross-posted to Divadom.

Reverb 10.15: Five Things To Remember From 2010

Here’s another Reverb10 list-prompt! And this time with a fantasy-time travelly theme to it!

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

(Author: Patti Digh)

  1. Mr.Everyday (of course!) – Specifically, I never, ever want to forget that one magical autorickshaw ride in June. We’d been on nodding and smiling terms with each other for months, even spoken on a couple of occasions. But that 30-minute ride changed the course of both of our lives, hopefully forever. 🙂
  2. The first week of October – September ended gloomy, grouchy and with no promise of better weather (which always impacts my mood). Then October came in with writing projects. A column. A commissioned article. Another writing commission. And the book, again. Magical week.
  3. The best friend moving across the world – Goodbyes are never pleasant memories for me. But this move marks an important milestone in my 16-year friendship with Lady P. She moved to a new country and a new life, one she had been needing for a long time. We fought, we cried then we made up. And true to our history, we came back stronger than ever.
  4. First draft – If I never manage to get the novel published, if I have to go back to working with that horrible tag of ‘failed writer’ looming over me, it will not take away from the fact that I managed to plow through and toil over a complete first draft. YEAAAHHH!!!
  5. Swimming.

And….there’s the timer. That’s that. Five wonderful things about 2010.

Surreality Show

He called me the gatekeeper of the great suburban conscience of Mumbai.

Am I? Each time I write something serious about the city, I’m reminded of a friend bitching about the ultra-intellectual types who eat at McDonalds and come out and talk about the poor people in the country. Am I one of them? Does the city give you a choice, surrounded as you are with surreal constrasts?

Here’s something I spotted a couple of weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. Presumably the store is one of the many designer boutiques that dot the fashionable area of Juhu. Do they know that at night, their porch turns into a bedroom? Perhaps they do, considering our man has a pseudo-four-poster bed with a mosquito net tied into corners. And the faithful guard lies in waiting, a few feet away.


In the middle of this melancholic week, I don’t find cheer even in my favorite streetside philosophers. Today’s autorickshaw spotting reminds me that this city runs on money, money, money.

Maal hain to mohabbat hain (If you’ve got money, you’ve got love)

If you’re wondering what the word ‘surreal’ means outside of a Dali painting, you know where to look it up, now. What’s left for me to say?

Auto Driver Philosophy

I don’t know what ‘Ramsha’ means but I was struck by the embedded Hindu reference in conjunction with a license plate that imaginatively draws out the ‘786’ in the its number. For those not in the know, this is supposed to be a holy/lucky number for Muslims.

And there’s the inevitable romance embedded in the decor of course. Except of course the ‘Love is Life’ philosophy etched right where a lot of people are apt to put up their feet. Unless this guy is following the common Indian ploy of putting up socially sacrosanct images (usually religious symbols) to prevent people from dirtying the place. Smart.

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