“No, thank you.”
Daily Life in Varanasi. Actually, India in general. Especially as a whiteskin. Negotiation and Negation are omnipresent.
On the left side of the road, a wrinkly-faced man resides on a rickshaw. An old-school one. Powered by manpower.
His eyes are focused on some happening in front of him.
Cow. Chewing on a translucent thin fiber of orbicular shape in pinkish colour. Muhhhh
“Oh nahi (no), Cows don’t eat no plastic, they are just searching for vegetables”, one Indian friend once mentioned.
Vegetables. Right. Freshly grown organic veggies from your local dump yards. Seasonal and regional. Food for every New-Ager.
Street cows as well as street dogs and even some of the human Beings, go through this rainbow-colored mosaic emerging between houses to fill the emptiness in their tummies. Unluckily, cows, unlike humans, are not blessed with proper finger-equipped hands. Thus opening bags filled with the leftovers of today’s meal consisting of Dahl, rice, and some onions becomes difficult.
Reality is a hero of thousand faces and although reality is perceived different by everyone, some events are fact, no matter what story your mind makes up.
The following story can also be interpreted in different ways. Some may take a side. Some may get emotional. Some may laugh. Some may fall asleep.
The wrinkly-faced man sitting on the bicycle watching the cow which is still feasting on midday’s leftovers stops his admiration of nature’s wonders for a moment. He goes on an adventure! An adventure through the streets of Varanasi, together with a pair of seat heaters. Destination: The Learn for Life school, Aurangabad.
Of course just after negotiating a price acceptable to both parties.
Sitting on top of a silver-colored seat made out of aluminum, having a wrinkly-faced man towed in front of you may have been the utmost ego-satisfaction in medieval days. Now, it’s not that hyped anymore.
It doesn’t give you the feeling of superiority. It makes you feel awkward. Especially if the man despite pedaling pretty slow does not stop complaining about your weight, as if people don’t do that enough already, and the non-existing heat.
Whether or not he just wants to provoke empathy or those circumstances really bother him that much, will remain a mystery as our man is not familiar with the use of proper English. Neither is known if he speaks decent Hindi either.
His mouth is occupied with something else. On his left cheek a bulge. His moving mouth showed what’s hidden inside. Teeth in reddish color. Not orange-red as Varanasi by night and not shiny red as a freshly polished ruby. It is a red of water-soaked bricks. A red you find in the upper row 3rd position of your paintbox you had in 3rd-grade elementary school. Right after you mashed it with the black from the downer right corner.
The subtle expression of our man’s unhappiness regarding his working conditions does not discontinue.
Decisions have to be made. His Rickshaw is left behind with the seats still warm, seats heated by butt heat.
One fourth of the way has been progressed, yet our man with wrinkly face and red teeth gets the full price.
In the middle of the street of Varanasi, a Murmur of sounds emerges.
Our wrinkly-faced man doesn’t seem to be satisfied to get fully paid while just doing one fourth of the work.
He talks about humans in uniform, the police and not to get off in the middle of the road.
Apparently, drivers are not allowed to let you out in the middle of the street in Varanasi.
And maybe and just maybe, his feeling of self-worth, aka ego, got damaged.
For the man with wrinkled face and 3rd-grade paintbox-reddish teeth, the journey is not over yet. His leg pain vanished miraculously and he improves his speed to unknown dimensions immediately.
He makes his mind up and wants to continue yet walking gives the seat-heaters more freedom. Freedom of direction and freedom of mind.
So far, the abort of the journey has not be accepted yet.
The atmosphere now gets energized by vibrations coming right out of CSI: Miami.
“CBI: New Delhi: Special Edition Varanasi!”
For the following minutes which can be counted on two hands, a thrilling chase emerges.
A chase which leads past narrow gaps left open between 2 parking Rickshaws and more. Traffic gets avoided by passing through hordes of cows accompanied by fertilizer, the end product of this charming 2-horned herbivore.
Parkour skills and jumping over trash is the prerequisite.
Passing through the gap, the man is already there.
Avoiding organic growth enhancer, the man is already there.
Even after escaping by walking on a 50-cm pedestrian walk, which’s appearance is a miracle in itself, the man is already there, accompanied by another two Rickshaws who want to get their share of the prey.
When the man with the wrinkly face and red teeth’ comes back to his office in New Delhi, his persistence surely deserves a promotion.
Despite his efforts, the seats on silver-looking aluminum are not being seated again. The butt-heat has vanished.
Suddenly! An auto-rickshaw appears out of one of Varanasi’s narrow alleys, ends the pursuit and leaves the energized scene together with two seat heaters in the back.
The ride to Aurangabad is safe and the forthcoming lateness is still below the Indian factor.
Our wrinkly faced man nowadays can still be seen on the left side of the road, watching cows chewing on translucent thin fiber of orbicular shape in pinkish colour.
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