Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Teachings and tuk-tuks

It is exam season here in Nagpur and crowds are expected to be low for the first three days of the first Test. Apparently no one thought of delaying the Test match so that local kids could come and watch their heroes, who themselves rarely make it to these parts.

But a heart-rending exam story reaches Nobok of one tribal woman in West Bengal who went into labour the night before she was due to take her final examinations last week.

She duly delivered her first born but was then so eager to pursue her career dreams that she asked medical staff if she could take her seat for her second paper, a mere hour after being unconscious in hospital.


Auto-rickshaws, the cheap three-wheeled form of transport, are second to motorbikes on the roads in these parts. It's the same in Mumbai, the Bollywood capital of the world, where rickshaws are restricted to the suburbs by the exhilarating chaos of rush-hour in the city.

This diary is also surprised to report a lack of congenial banter with rickshaw drivers. Maybe it's just Nagpur but it made me recall a trip to Colombo and a drive with one of the capital's famed tuk-tuk drivers there. The Sri Lankan's three-wheeler was emblazoned with stickers bearing catchphrases like 'Luv-erly Jub-erly' and, along the way, he asked for details of the latest episode of Blind Date, and if Les and Judie got on during their date in Lanzarote.