Defence Colony

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Be Your Own Bike-Wallah
It’s always fun to take the bike-rickshaws in New Delhi. But it’s even more fun to pedal them yourself.

When I lived in Defence Colony, one of the friendlier neighborhoods on the city’s south side (named for the military personnel who retired there when it was first developed), I usually hired one of the bike-wallahs to shuttle me from the market to my apartment.

But one day I convinced one of them that I could pedal while he rode on the back seat with my groceries. It wasn’t a tough sell: He got to take it easy and still got paid. And I got a little exercise in a city that wasn’t designed with roomy sidewalks or bike trails in mind.

After that, whenever the guys saw me heading their way, they fought over who got to “take” me home.

Except whenever they were all napping. Then I just walked.
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