Auto rickshaw fashion showAround the city — By The Desk on July 29, 2010 at 12:52 PM
Times of India: This promises to be a one-of-its-kind fashion show’. Come August 7, and over 150 nattily done up rickshaws will parade around the Ambedkar grounds, Nana Peth, at a leisurely pace to showcase their creative hoods, fancy sunshades, and assorted customer-friendly features to their finest advantage.
Organised by an auto union, Rickshaw Parishad, the objective of the fashion show’, according to founder-president Rashid Khan, is not only to recognise rickshaw drivers with a highly developed aesthetic sense, but also adjudge them on their customer-orientation and general state of overall maintenance.
“It’s amazing to see how several rickshaw drivers have gone out on a limb, not only to decorate their vehicles, but also make the ride as comfortable as possible for the passengers, by including tariff cards, newspapers, water bottles, tissues, etc. Apart from this, the rickshaws also need to be in good working order, since it’s not just looks that count,” Khan said.
For their part, the participants are excited about the chance to show off their creativity.
Saleem Shaikh, a rickshaw driver who has negotiated the city roads for over 30 years now, told TOI that it all began with getting a first-aid kit for his vehicle. “The first-aid kit not only helped my passengers, but also others, in case of a road accident. One thing led to another. Apart from including various facilities for my customers, I also decorated the hood with cut-outs and festooned the interiors with tinsel. My vehicle also has a very comfortable and elaborate cushioning, and several passengers have told me it is very comfortable,” he said. “My auto is my companion for the better part of the day, and decorating it has only been a means to make the ride a pleasant and joyful one. Moreover, doing it up has not really been an expensive business. It helps that several rickshaw drivers like me have access to flea markets and juna’ (old) bazaars, where the most amazing cut-outs and motifs are available at throwaway prices. You just have to have an eye for them,” he said.
Adding a touch of vintage nostalgia will be rickshaw driver Ibrahim Sayyed, who will drive a 1961-make rickshaw for the show. “I acquired this little gem around a decade ago. I got it as scrap, but I did it up and got it into good working condition. It will be interesting for a whole, new generation to see a rickshaw that belonged to an era gone up. As compared to today’s rickshaws, this vehicle is visibly lighter, smaller and almost a three-seater,” he said.
The competition will be adjudged by a jury consisting of senior and experienced welders, painters, hood-makers and mechanics, who will rate the entries on various related, but distinct, parameters.
Khan said the occasion will also incorporate various facilities for auto drivers including a free medical check-up camp, felicitation and cash awards for academically bright children of rickshaw drivers, felicitation and recognition of senior and long-standing drivers as well as honest drivers who have returned wallets and other valuables found by them, to their owners. The award ceremony, following the fashion show’, will also honour the backstage’ artistes responsible for putting the rickshaws on city roads the mechanics, welders, hood-makers, etc., he added.
In case of rain, the show will shift to Darshan hall. The main show is between 10 am and 6 pm, followed by an orchestra which will also give musically inclined auto drivers an opportunity to demonstrate their talent followed by the awards ceremony between 7 pm and 10 pm.