“Would you like to go to Mother’s home?” Just before I hopped into a restaurant, a rickshaw puller asked me. I looked briefly at him. He has a rather small frame and a seasoned face, but his bright smile caught my attention. The same man approached me two or three times the following few days. It sparked an idea of visiting Mother Teresa’s center of the Missionaries of Charity. So, we decided to hire him on our last day in Kolkata.

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We asked him how much he charge for the journey to Mother Teresa’s center, he said it is up to us to pay him. We ended up paying him as much as we would pay for a cab. It was a little adventure to sit on his rickshaw, enjoying him zigzaging through small lanes… A small tip for you if you take one of these rickshaw, be careful not to lean back as your weight will unbalance the puller.

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Kolkata is the only city in India which have human-drawn rickshaws, which are only available in the city central areas. These rickshaws come with big wheels, they are very useful especially during monsoon periods when the streets get flooded to hip height and other vehicles failed to operate. These rickshaw pullers would then markup their prices to supplement their meagre income.

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Mainly these rickshaw pullers are Bihari, they have lived short and hard life. We were advised not to bargain down their prices if they are realistic.

Jing

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