Joy and burden with Rickshawdrivers

Rickshaws, whereever you go



“Madam, do you want a Rickshaw? I can organize all tours for you, and I can guide you”. No matter where you are going- just shortly after the arrival there is a certain guarantee to be addressed in this  way  every few meters. This does often not correspond to our idea of ​​a nice arriving, looking around first and then slowly make plans for the coming days.

Even in the small mountain village of Kumily at the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, we are bombarded from all sides. A young man asks, persistently and continue after an initial negative response from our side. At this stage my short-term travel partner has the idea to convince him this would not work, because we are seven people. Only a short time later, he offers to organize a rickshaw for seven people – which we refuse of course.


We book our half day tour to the tea factory and a spice plantation then via a travel agency, and when we are  picked up the next day in the morning by a Rickshawdriver, we look at a young face looking at us expectantly and asking: “Do you remember me?” No, we do not – but he, whom we have hoaxed the story with seven people. We are ashamed. It is indeed so, one stops to look at people, because you have the feeling that every one wants to sell  something, and a look might be an encouragement.

Sunesh, that’s his name, will turn out in the coming days as an excellent guide with a stunning English knowledge. He shows us not only the foreseen tour sights, but also guides us to other places and takes care of  my new friend as she tries  to get one of the rare tickets for the morning boat at the nature park. He will tell us of what it means to be Rickshawdriver, how difficult it is to get hold of tourists and that they just don’t  trust drivers , and book therefore via a travel agency (which for him, means a commission he has to pay). And he also tells us about the moment when he thought he had caught the big fish, and could organize a tour for seven people.

Wherever I go, I have the impression that there is too much tourist infrastructure, too many rickshaws, too many guides, shops and guesthouses. The more persisteny, I have the impression, they are going to fight for every single guest. I will continue to make a big circle around many young men who want to offer me a deal. But it is also important for me  not to forget that behind each of these questions there is  a person with a history and a desire  to feed his family.



  1. Wonderfully written, Silvia, and I totally understand the dilemma in which you find yourself. Thank you for writing this and posting it for all to see.


  2. Bishnu Khadka says:

    when demands even sometimes the NEEDS are not addressed,in time such expectations will remain and such act could be seen forever- great experience… keep going and est wishes for the writing

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