Adonis Diaries

Rickshaw or the celebration of promised “Radio Transistor”

Posted on: July 24, 2011

Rickshaw or the celebration of promised “Radio Transistor”

What rickshaw, touctouc, cycle-push…have in common?  Do these transport mechanisms conjure the image of a very dense urban center, all transport vehicles of trains, buses, trucks, cars, bicycles, rickshaw…use the same road to reaching even denser quarter destinations?  Most probably, rickshaw gives the image of a strong correlation with poor classes, defined religiously as divinely designated to serve the richer classes…

Salman Rushdi (see note) published “East West”, a collection of novella gathered from the Orient and the western tales.  One of the novella is “The free transistor”.  I am reading the French version, and I decided to retell this novella my own style.

“I am a retired teacher, and spend my time sitting under the large tree, smoking my huka or shisheh or arghileh.  I knew the parents of this young, physically strong, and very handsome Ramani.  Ramani was not gifted to learning reading and writing.

Ramani’s parents died, and he inherited a brand new rickshaw.  he didn’t make much profit from displacing people on his rickshaw, working 12 hours a day, every day, but he had cash money.  Ramani was surrounded by a bunch of young men wearing armband, sort of a local militia supported by the government. These militia youth enjoyed the company of Ramani who paid for their bar consumption, and for being an easy target of their innuendos.  They joked that Ramani is more beautiful than the famous Indian movie stars, and that one day he will take Bombay by storm, displacing all the other movie stars…

I hated the company that Ramani spent his leisure time with, and I warned him several times of associating with these brutal youth.  Youth are bold and fearless, and they need to be among their own peer to have good time.  Women and girls also valued Ramani’s beauty and strong body.

The widow of the thief hired Ramani for a ride; she was just 25 of age and had five children. She made ends meet by prostituting at low prices.  Ramani fell in love with the widow, and I blamed him for wasting his time and money on this lost case:  Thousands of beautiful and virgin girls would die to marry him…

I confronted the widow publicly and told her that the best she should do was going to Benares, to the widows ashram, and spend the remaining of her life praying.  I told her that she must be very lucky that immolation of a widow is no longer in practice.  She got in such a rage and retorted: “Malediction be on you, senile old man.  The venom of cobra filling your body and mind should have killed you long time ago.  You should know professor sahib that Ramani demanded  to marry me and I declined: I don’t want no more children…”

Shortly after, this truck dispatched by the ministry of health parked under a large tree.  Streams of males entered the truck, while the armband militia guarded the flow of people.  Ramani exited from the truck looking very excited and he told me in secrecy: “Soon, I will receive a brand new radio transistor, free, totally free!”

To make matters worse, Ramani wed the widow: He had satisfied her only condition of “no more children”.  I went into a godless rage and blamed him for selling his virility for a lame radio transistor, and for falling pray to a prostitute widow.  Ramani told me: “I am pretty virile. this small operation didn’t affect my  copulation power.  And my wife is very contented…”

The radio was not forthcoming, but ramani never lost hope: He started imitating Radio India, announcing the news and singing the familiar songs on his rickshaw trips.  People would welcome Ramani as “Here arrives Radio India; Let’s listen to the latest news and hear his beautiful voice…”

Six months later, this health truck parked again.  Ramani entered to reclaim his free radio. He was booted out by the armeband militia, his face bludgeoned.  Ramani kept announcing the news and singing.

A year passed, and Ramani had sold his rickshaw and a he paid me a visit saying: “We are leaving to Bombay, my wife and the five children…”  I received letters from Bombay explaining in details the progress of Ramani in the sphere of the rich and famous Ramani.  The letters were signed by Ramani: Obviously, he was paying handsomely scripts in Bombay to write his stories.

The stories turned out to be credible.  Most probably, it was his wife dictating the good news of purchasing a large villa, and…so that to get her revenge of my low esteem of her abilities of raising her husband to the level he deserved…

Note:  British author Salman Rushdi, was born in Bombay (India) in 1947. He immigrated to England at the age of 14.  He published his first novel in 1981 “The children of midnight”.  The “satanic verses, 1988” angered the Mullahs of Iran and a fatwa was issued to assassinate him.  Salman has been under heavy guard and in hiding ever since.  He published “Harun and the sea of stories”, “Fury”… Queen Elizabeth made him Sir Rushdi in 2007.

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July 2011

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