Dressed in plain, grey long-sleeved shirts and trousers with trademark flip flops, the auto-rickshaw drivers stand in groups and scan for passengers, heads swiveling, as they await passengers exiting the numerous metro stations of Delhi. ‘Auto, auto,’ or ‘rickshaw’ they call to potential passengers to announce their service for hire.
After negotiating a price with the driver, we cram into the tiny rickshaw, and the familiar ‘Putt, Putt, Putt,’ sound of the tiny engine comes to life. The driver takes a sharp turn to avoid other rickshaws, weaves into dusty traffic, and we are off on our ride. Merging in and out of traffic, the ever-present beeping of horns fills our eardrums as the fresh air of the wind whipping through the cabin of the rickshaw refreshes us on a hot Delhi summer afternoon. Bumping along unpaved roads we traverse down narrow alleyways, around cows, and in-between cars to arrive at our destination in the quickest time possible. The colorful yellow and green three-wheeled 150cc engine rickshaws of Delhi swarm the city like locusts and engulf it’s alleyways and streets. Decorated to individual driver’s taste, the rickshaws take on a home-like environment for the drivers and represent the lifeblood of India’s public transportation. Orange flowers and chili peppers adorn the steering wheel and front of the rickshaws, warding off evil spirits. Scraped and dented, the rickshaws cram into every available space in the city. Crammed with up to 6 people including the driver, the rickshaws move the people of Delhi.
© Dan Fenstermacher Photography