City Moment – A Rickshaw Puller’s Business Negotiations, Central Delhi
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
If rickshaws could talk, they would sometimes protest.
And certainly this poor vehicle has every right to complain. Laden as it is with huge bundles, one on top of the other.
The Delhi Walla‘s humanitarian instincts are aroused. I’m obliged to exchange words with rickshaw-puller Muhammed Haneef who has parked the burdened rickshaw on a lane here in central Delhi. Of course, he’s the guy who has to haul this weight.
He understands my concern. “Oh, don’t worry,” he laughs. “It’s only cotton wool!”
He explains that the customer wants the wool dispatched to a wholesaler in Gandhi Market, since wintertime is high season for the Delhi wool trade. And for good reason. Quilts need to be stuffed.
But the rickshaw is going nowhere without some hard bargaining. Particularly since the putative customer also wants two men to accompany all that wool.
Mr Haneef suggests a fee of Rs 70 which we personally think sounds almost too reasonable.
The potential customer frowns. “But I always pay 40!” he declares.
OK. Mr Haneef climbs down to 60.
But to no avail. No deal.
Now all that wool has to be removed, with Mr Haneef himself lending a helping hand.
And that’s that. A few minutes later a new customer turns up and is pedalled away, somewhere else in our teeming town.
A deal undone