When I started this blog, I never planned on making it a “travel guide.” I just wanted to capture my travel experiences as I saw them. That being said, if you ever find yourself in Jaipur, India, do yourself a favor and call this number: 9636998783. Your life will be immediately better after meeting Firoj. He is the kindest and most helpful rickshaw driver you’ll ever meet south of Delhi. He also happens to be an incredible rickshaw driver. He was even kind enough to let me borrow his “beast” for a spin.
I grew up driving mechanical cars, a few motorcycles, and even a jeep who my family referred to as “el commando.” This was no easy jeep to drive. No hydraulic steering, rough gear shifting and “long long brakes” made it a bit of a challenge to drive.
But nothing compared to Firoj’s rickshaw. I was already impressed by their ability to drive these peculiar vehicles just from riding around and seeing him zip through narrow streets, avoiding potholes, animals, people – lots of people. My respect went to another level after driving this thing. It is almost as if the rickshaw engineers of the world got together (I’m sure the meeting took place somewhere in India) and said, “Let’s invent the world’s most challenging vehicle to drive.”
Unlike regular mechanical motorcycles, not only you have to press the clutch with your left hand, but also shift up and down with the same hand. So you close your fist with your left hand then snap the wrist up, accelerate with the right hand, Honk (you will need to honk every 3 seconds) then pump the clutch again, snap the wrist down and so forth. In order to brake, the brake has to be pumped 2 times before it engages the tires. So basically you have to slam on the breaks 3 times in order to brake. This means you have to time your breaking way in advance, a very challenging task when you could have a monkey or a cow or a pothole come out of nowhere at anytime. Believe me, it is much more difficult than it sounds.
Ohh, and did I mention Firoj lost part of his left leg in a car accident?
I hadn’t noticed his disability due to his Schumacher-like ability to drive this thing, but also because of his incredible positive attitude about life. I’m not saying you can entirely know a person in a day, but I think you can learn a lot. Firoj told us about his wife with a big grin in his face. We could tell he lived in very precarious conditions, but judging by his face you would think he was married to a super model and lived in a mansion. Happiness is such a relative concept.
Once again, the Amer fort was amazing, some of the landmarks and palaces in Jaipur were incredible, but what I’ll remember the most about that day was just the simple interactions with this incredible man.
I leave you with some raw footage of my rickshaw experience…oh yeah and some pictures from Amer fort and Jaipur. I almost forgot
|With Firoj infront of the Amer Fort|
|Firoj and Jimmy|