TRAVELS IN TARAI: Rickshaws and bicycles

October 27, 2008 at 1:02 am 1 comment

Anecdotes of pedal power pushers
TRAVELS IN TARAI: Rickshaws and bicycles

By Amrita Gurung

From school students to labourers, farmers and businessmen, and visitors and locals, all travel by bicycles which are the major means of transportation in most parts of the Tarai of Nepal. During my short sojourn in Bhairahawa, Taulihawa and other villages of Kapilvastu district in south-western Nepal, I figured that bicycles and rickshaws are parts of the life there.Walking past the honking vehicles, noisy drivers, jam-packed lanes and everything that the bumpy roads of Kathmandu offer, I had almost forgotten that I had gotten used to all that, or should I say, that I’ve whole-heartedly fallen to the mundane ways of city life. Buses, microbuses and tempos have become an integral part of my daily routine, not that I don’t wish to buy a scooter any time soon, but because simply I can’t afford to.

From the time I disembarked from plane at the airport in Bhairahawa, I was accompanied by this certain rickshaw driver who dropped me to one of the finest hotels in town. It was my first time there, and with no one there I knew of, travelling on my own could have been a hassle. But for me, this particular rickshaw and its driver made it very easy.

As I got exposed more to the town, I saw many rickshaws plying on the roads; and in addition, I saw as many bicycles in this lowlands town as I saw cars and buses in Kathmandu. Rows and rows of rickshaws sided at the corner of roundabouts; and on every main road, it was a very common sight to be noticed by a visitor like me. Apart from those, there were only a few Maruti cars and big trucks that carried goods.

The next day, I was on the road travelling on a motorcycle to Taulihawa. My friend, who was riding the motorcycle, would often  say that driving motorcycles in Kathmandu was nothing compared to driving in Tarai. No wonder, the roads here were wide and clear. It was only you and your motorcycle with an adrenaline rush that you could never get enough of.

On one of those rides, I came across three boys riding a bicycle. They were three school friends and neighbours. Suddin Ansari, 7, Muni Ram Yadav, 12, and Suman Gurung, 13, were heading to the jungle to eat kadam, a wild fruit. Muni Ram pedalled the bicycle while Suddin sat in front and Suman at the back. Together, they gave me an impression of picture-perfect true friends.

Suddin said with pride that only some of his friends went to school on bicycles. He also said that in their holidays, they either play at home or go for fishing or swimming or even go to jungle to collect kadams. They love travelling by bicycles because “we don’t have to walk, and it’s easy to go anywhere”. They go to and return from school together, and in between they again ride back home on the bicycle to have lunch.

On the last day, I met an interesting rickshaw driver at the airport. He was lying on the floor with his head resting on his palm. The conversation between the two of us started when I took his picture. He got up straight from his position and posed for me just like a child. After that, he pointed me to his rickshaw and asked me to take his picture with him sitting on it. Just after three clicks, he got off from his vehicle and said to me , “Okay, okay.” For sometime, I didn’t understand his gesture but then he quickly asked, “This repotar?” I said yes.

And before I bade him farewell, he asked me to send his pictures to a nearby shop and gave me its address.

It was too naïve a request to refuse.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Talk the talk The Sorrow Of Bihar : Kosi River

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. आकार  |  October 27, 2008 at 2:55 am

    I love cycle….

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