going on here?? - its the end of another business day in India.
The afterglow. Men are shouting, the dust hovers, the sun is low and golden
orange. In the distance are temple bells. Whatever was good or bad about
the day is over, and the street-race for home is on. The cyclerickshaws
and coolie carts are bundled high. The shouts are impatient, urgent and
there is a smell of over-ripened fruit and old dried piss. A merchant
wearing a Nehru hat and thick glasses calls out to me, commands me to
come over. Hey, its planet of the apes all over again. I look away.
Sorry mate, but fuck you very much. I dont answer to your beck and
call, for I am not what you think. I lean back on the saddle, knee raised,
flip-flop on the crossbar, and look away. Its an easy mistake to
make, but I am a white boy cyclerickshawallah and in this life, unlike
the last, cyclerickshawing is a game. I play it between eating, drinking,
and womanizing my way through a movie star life, for that is how the last
guy wished it, and I am his dream.
the time an Indian cyclerickshawallah reaches thirty his prostate is
polished to a shriveled little walnut. Ten years later, having burnt
more calories than he can afford to consume, his spine crumbles and
he fades into the night like a cheap Indian firework. I should know:
my pyre was small and the mourning brief for this is India, where the
tears of the poor are shed with care, with an economy. If all the tears
of India were suddenly to well up and begin falling, the sub-continent
would be washed into the sea.
Rickshaw Crosses Nubian Desert."