The lush green Ram Niwas garden and the broad roads that line the borders of Albert hall are bustling with life. Amidst the dreamy scene what the passers-by could not miss is the magnanimous Albert Hall.
From quite some time this has become my work place too. Everyday I look up to the tourists flocking in cabs and luxury cars, getting selfies clicked against the glorious backdrop. Just like the joyful pigeons that surround this grand monument, they too were happy in themselves with no time to look at me standing at the two corners of the road with the never ending wait to take somebody for a Tonga ride. (A Horse Drawn Carriage Decorated Colorfully)
Yes, I was side lined by a new age rage, an e-Rickshaw driver having filled his passenger seats with people squeezed in a little space moved with pride. Unlike Tongas it is easier for them to manoeuvre their vehicles.
I ignore him and was ogling at the two children coming towards me; with curious eyes I was all attentive and happy but they immediately rushed towards pigeons smilingly with open arms.
Undoubtedly they were self-conscious to take a tonga ride in 2017, moreover I was not as shiny as I used to be. With pale caparison, I was no more a choice for their Instagram stories and Snapchat posts. Yes. I have realized that the time has changed.
With me quietly standing, Noor Mohd. tangawala and I could read all kinds of emotions ripping through his mind while patting me- about the rising cost of maintaining me, worrying about his hand to mouth existence as he could hardly earn between 200-300 Rs. per day coupled with pressure from JMC and animal rights activists time to time.
I feel bad for him 😦
My mare can’t dare to lift his head anymore with pride. Even the power, strength and the gorgeousness of him while pushing me and running with his crowning glory long flowing hair, could not match the progress that the city has achieved in all these decades.
From approx. 1500 Tangas a few years back in the city we are now just four around the hot spot Albert hall. Forget about the days when I used to go for all those journeys across the historic city of Jaipur, and at times even uphill to Amer Fort, Nahargarh and Galtaji. My mind takes me back to the days of yore, when there were few bicycles on the road and meagre cars, even the rickshaw came much after India got independence. Washed and dressed every day I was the one pompously inhabiting the maximum space on Jaipur roads.
The period when I was not enforced to position myself as unwanted as now but was treated chiefly by the royals of the city. At all the four Chaupars inside the wall city there was dedicated area for me and my companions to stay as this was the time when there was immense craze to take a tonga ride if you have to travel to places. Sadly, today I am barred to get inside the Wall city as it is burdened with population and traffic.
But even now, my ears yearn for the gentle clip-clop (Sound of horse feet while running)
The only thing that calms me now is the melodious sound of my ghungroo echoing in the ether taking me back to the quintessential tonga song with OP Nayyar’s music and Sahir’s lyrics – ‘Maang ke saath Tumhara’ J
I know it is time for me to bid adieu to the city I love but somewhere in my heart I wanna grow up once again in this beautiful Pink city and relive the days of yore 🙂