I was driving back from CST station after dropping off my son Rohan for his football camp and when I reached the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) I saw ahead of me, 3-4 cyclists – not our normal cyclists these – they were riding the normal black BSA Hercules cycles that are ridden by most of the cyclists in India who ride because they cannot afford a more expensive vehicle.
They had no helmets, no fancy gear – and what made the sight the most stunning – was that the cycle held the entire family! Ridden by the man, his wife sat on the carrier behind holding a small baby in her arms, and a slightly older kid sat on the bar in front. On the back of their cycles a stick was tied with a small flag fluttering in the wind.
They were riding really fast, and I drove along for a while, amazed at the speed they were riding carrying all the weight. They finally took a halt at the beginning of the climb up Mahakali Hill, when I got a chance to stop and talk to them.
I offered to give them some money. The men initially refused but the eldest lady convinced them to accept the money and I gladly gave them some. They were really nice and friendly, and were a bit shy when I admired their cycling skills, saying they only cycle because they have to, and not by choice.
Cycling has truly connected me to a different world around me.
Some Updates: Thanks to Nita and Deven for the tip that gypsies elsewhere in the world – especially the Romani gypsies in Europe – originated in Rajasthan.
Here are some links giving further information about the origin of gypsies:
- Different types of gypsies in Rajasthan and the Gypsies tour of Rajasthan Tourism
- Origin of the Romani People Pinned Down
- History of the Romani people
And here’s an interesting video about the relationship between Rajasthani folk music and Spanish Flamenco: