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What an autorickshaw looks like, in case you were wondering

What an autorickshaw looks like, in case you were wondering

So, I got in an accident today. It was one of those stupid, extremely avoidable ones that left an (equally avoidable) bad taste in everyone’s mouths. My friend and I were on a motorcycle, driving very responsibly for the most part. We were less than five minutes from our destination when my friend decided to make a quick right turn onto a side street. We turn, suddenly realize there’s an autorickshaw coming full speed in the opposite direction (that’s now screeching its brakes), try to make a quick getaway, and ultimately fail.

My left foot ended up colliding head-on with the auto’s headlight; my friend flew for a bit and hit his shoulder on the pavement; both vehicles toppled onto their sides; the rickshaw passengers (a mother and son) fell on top of each other; and the rickshaw driver fell onto his side. In true Indian ish-tyle, there were 40 spontaneous spectators, a fraction of whom helped all of us up.

As they say, “it all happened so fast.”

It turned out that my foot was the only seemingly serious injury of the lot, emotional shock notwithstanding. We were luckily two blocks away from a hospital, so my immediate thought was to hobble back onto the bike and get my foot X-rayed. I was in serious pain, up to the “holding back tears so I don’t look like a wimpy little girl” point, so I was moving as fast as my good leg would allow me. However, before I could actually sit on the bike, the rickshaw driver yelled out for my friend and me. (more…)

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The Mumbai Suburban Railway. Mumbai’s arteries, veins, and capillaries rolled into one functional hunk of steel. Even after living in this bulging metropolis for so long, I am continually amazed by the efficiency of its semi-antiquated local rail network. This is not a network built to help, say, a quaint German hamlet go about its daily business. This is a network that carries upwards of 10 million bodies – approximately 60% of Mumbai’s population – up and down its slender archipelagic body on a daily basis. Her compartments (yes, Mumbai’s train system is feminine in my eyes) do not try to please the occasional tourist’s camera lens; they are designed to take space efficiency to the next level. Similarly, the majority of her stations are not aesthetically pleasing in any conventional sense; rather, they are giant containers through which daily passengers… well, pass. But then again, what do you expect from a train whose body parts are called dabbas, or “boxes,” in Hindi? (more…)

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