Monday, September 24, 2007

Bicycle Rickshaws

On Saturday, after completing work, a couple of friends came with me to go furniture shopping at Steel Junction. Will and the rest of us piled into a taxi and took off toward Salt Lake. When we arrived, I realized it was yet another mall with expensive designer stuff, not the metal bazaar I had expected. They did have some furniture, most was not my taste. I did love the railings, door fittings and accessories, though they were quite expensive. I was being followed around by many sales clerks that would jump to answer any question I might have. I decided to have a little fun at their expense.

"Does this come in pleather?"

"I'm sorry Madam?"

"You know, animal pleather?"

"Pleather? I will just go see..." He conferred with 3 or four other sales clerks, giving me time to sit on things, test stuff out, and touch the fabrics without feeling like someone was watching my every move. By the time he came back to tell me no, I had already decided what I wanted to get. We purchased a glass and steel table for around 7,000 and four leather and steel chairs to match at around 1,200 each. We also selected a convertible couch that can be pushed up on one side to make a double-wide chaise lounge, or folded lengthwise as a couch or used flat as a bed. This cost a little over 18,000. The modular sofa I have my eye on is 40,000, but that will have to wait for another day... Delivery is 400 rupees and we should have it tomorrow. It will be so great to have furniture!

After that, my friends suggested Big Bazaar for all of my other metal needs. With a dog with a long wagging tail, we have already broken every single glass in the house. I wanted simple steel cups. I wanted plain metal thali dishes as well. Nothing fancy. So we jumped into the taxi and headed to Santoshpur. The place was packed as expected on a Saturday afternoon, but I went nuts as soon as I got there. They had everything I had been look for at normal prices. Towels, clothing, socks, paper towels, food, liquor, wastebaskets, even an international food section! I was exhausted. We had two full carts and two pails completely filled with stuff and when we finally were able to check out, my debit card wouldn't work (probably because we spent over 30,000 earlier at steel junction, but it's a debit shouldn't be that way). We quickly pooled our resources and we were around 1,500 short, so my friend said she knew of an ATM close by.

Will and my other coworker stayed with all of the stuff with she and I left the mall.

"It will be faster if we take a bike rickshaw," she said.

"Great," I said with a grimace. Now, I had previously had a conversation with my other friend that I would not ride in a hand rickshaw because I could not use another human being as a beast of burden. He agreed to some extent, but didn't feel that a bike or autorickshaw was the same. We approached the bike rickshaw guy and my friend struck a bargain with him. I climbed up, making the rickshaw tilt to one side; she got up on the other and he sat on the seat and we set off. Apparently it was up hill... The wind was blowing, catching the top of the rickshaw like a sail, making it even harder for him to make it move. He was standing up using all of his might to keep the bike moving forward. One of the stray dogs passed us. People walking on the sidewalk passed us. Eventually we made it along the lane to the ATM.

I got my money and we climbed back up into the rickshaw, returning back to Big Bazaar. We jumped down and my friend gave the guy a 10 rupee note. He pointed at me and started arguing with her.

"He must be charging by the pound," I laughed. She laughed and gave him 2 more rupees, then we headed back into the bazaar, paid the store and left, getting a cab and heading home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I decided to have a little fun at their expense. "

"I climbed up, making the rickshaw tilt to one side.."

Nice ones..


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