This might be our last tonga ride in Delhi what with the proposed ban on the traditional
mode of transport. We decided to take it with Veeren Singh who has been riding on the ancient roads of this part of town for forty years.
Where are you from?
I was born and brought up in Delhi. I have been riding this tonga for forty years now.
Did you go to school?
You think that if I went to school, I’d be a tongawallah?
Where in Delhi do you live?
I live here (near the Old Delhi Railway Station). This is our area.
Who all are in your family?
I have a wife and two children.
Do you like Delhi ?
Well, I’ve lived here forever.
Do you like your job?
What can I say? Suddenly they say I can’t ride this tonga anymore, do they want me to die of hunger? I don’t know anything else.
How much do you earn in a day?
I earn Rs.200 to Rs.300 a day and spend Rs.150 on feeding the horse everyday.
What do you in the free time?
Ghode ka kaam karte hain. (After work, I take care of the horse)
Do you watch television or films?
I never watch tv/cinema.
Which actors and actresses do you like?
I don’t know any film actors.
Are you interested in politics?
I don’t know anything about politics.
Do you know the name of our Prime Minister?
First it was Nehru then Indira Gandhi. Bahut pehle tha, tab bahut badiya tha. (It was long back, it was a good time then.) Now things are so expensive and Desh ki sharam chali gayi. (The nation has no shame now.)
Do you believe in God?
Do you know about Aids?
I am a Hindu, I do not know about Id. (We clarify our meaning.) No, I haven’t heard of it.