From Jalandhar

Jalandhar is a small town in many ways – nice friendly people who want to know everyting about you and invite you home for garam khaana (hot food) right after the first meeting…

And small enough for people to commute by cycle rickshaw… Five rupees can take you a long way in this city. And people bargaining with the rickshaw puller – paanch rupaiye kyon? paas hi to jaana hai – teen rupaiye le lo (why five rupees for such a short distance – take three rupees)

I guiltily think about how little five rupees means to me. I wave away the rickshaws who stop near me and start walking…

What is worse – to ride on one of them, with another human being pulling you? or walking away and depriving him of this opportunity to earn his living? I never know…

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Another thing is the number of travel agents and ads for airlines – in the half kilometere stretch that I walked between my hotel to my work place, I counted nine travel agents, one one side of the road, that is… Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Slovakia Airlines, Gulf Air. You name it.

Ad most of these travel agents offer an additional service too – filling up of visa forms. One of them says that they make a lot of money this way, apart from the regular service of procuring the visa for their customers…

And many old people who say that families spend between a lakh to three lakhs on this business of sending a young relative abroad year after year. Families which cannot afford it but manage it somehow…

Each family has one or two young people abroad – among whom many of them have disappeared – there is no news of or from them… for many years now.

Yet people want to go… and keep going. And many never come back…

One Comment Add yours

  1. Gopal Aggarwalhttp://gopal1035.blogsopt.com says:

    hmmm, yes your observation re rickshaw-pullers is true…but nonetheless they too are adept in handling all types of customers. I think they rent the vehicle from big businessmen daily and then have to earn over and above the rental…

    Also, travel agents are mining gold here…I don’t get the fixation with fellow people to go abroad…?

    Regards Everyone,Gopal

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