Autorickshaw

Post 4, Ranigunj

5:00 p.m
Rachit calls me from Ranigunj where he is riding his friend’s autorickshaw for the last time before he leaves for Ludhiana. He tells me he has heard that the tracks are clear and there is no fear of flooding for the next few days at least. We will take the Saharsa route rather than the Patna route. Have I packed my stuff, he asks? I tell him I have. He says he still has to start. He asks me to be at his place by 5 p.m. the following day, July 30. I tell him I will be there. 

 

Post 3, Ranigunj

5:00 p.m
Rachit is driving the autorickshaw in Ranigunj. He plans to ride the autorickshaw today and tomorrow. He will start packing for Ludhiana tomorrow evening. I tell him that flooding has disrupted rail services near Saharsa. Rachit is unnerved. He tells me about an alternative route: bus to Patna, train from Patna to Ludhiana. He plans to stay in Ranigunj till late tonight.  

Tags: autorickshaw; Ranigunj; trains; floods

Post 1, Sargana

6:00 p.m
I am at Mahadev Yadav’s cycle-repair shop. It’s a place you can find all things you might need to carry out repairs to your cycle. Air pumps, oils, valves, you name it. An autorickshaw sputters to a halt in front of Mahadev Yadav’s shop. 21-year old Rachit Yadav steps out. He wears a checked shirt, plain white trousers and a red cap. Rachit tells us that the autorickshaw belongs to his friend, but he drives it from time to time. He and his friend had taken it to Araria, 30 km away, for repairs and had taken turns driving it back.

Rachit tells me he has been a driver for a Sikh family in Ludhiana for the past 2 years. He even has a driving license, with his employers’ home as his address. His employer owns a wheat grinding mill, where several people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar find employment.

Rachit plans to return to Ludhiana next week. I am somewhat relieved when he agrees to let me accompany him.