I have always been very excited and glad whenever I get a chance to travel outside valley (which I don’t get mostly). This year, going to Eastern Nepal was a very magnificent experience. I had opportunity to try many things which were left undone until. One of the fun things I tried this time was a “Rickshaw Ride”. Indeed, Kathmandu does have the rickshaws in the Thamel area but I had never gone for it. But in the places like Dharan and Biratnagar, Rickshaws and cycles were the most reliable and normally used means of transport. Everywhere you get to see is the cycles and Rickshaws; these have been so eye-catching in the east.
One beautiful morning, with a friend of mine, I made a Rickshaw ride across different places of Biratnagar. The Rickshaw driver charged us 100 rupees while, he took us around different places in Biratnagar. I was truly not feeling okay to have a rickshaw ride for the first time, even though I always wanted to go for it. The seats were not so wide but for 2 people it was an easy sit. They used some slippery type of things as seat covers. For me, I was truly scared when the rickshaw driver started to paddle the cycle. I was sitting holding the ends of rickshaw so that I didn’t fall down.
Slowly we left the properly black topped main road and we came in the narrow lanes of Biratnagar with potholes. Until the rickshaw was moving on the pleasant street, it was truly fun, but as soon as we reached to the unmanaged roads, I started getting nervous. To stay away from getting scared, I started talking with the rickshaw driver. The rickshaw driver was in his late 60’s. He didn’t tell us the name but said he lived nearby with his wife. It had been 15 long years that he had been working as a rickshaw driver. He told us it required a lot of strength, energy and power to be a rickshaw driver. While he was saying that I could see the muscles in his legs strong enough. A complete legs exercise. He told us that they need to concentrate a lot while paddling since it may get topsy-turvy. When he told that, I felt like, why are we riding a rickshaw? He started to open up slowly about his family matters. He said, he had 2 sons and he brought them up through his hard work, but once they got married, the sons left him and his wife to themselves.
In order to live, he became the rickshaw driver. In the age, when he has to be taken care by his children and resting back home, he is working his best to earn something for his wife. I remembered a line “Sons remain sons until they get wife, but a daughter remains daughter all her life”. Indeed we end up our ride hearing a sad story of an old man who worked as a rickshaw driver, but still the ride will be cherished all my life. we had a fun new experience and looking forward for the ride again!