Monday, September 04, 2006

A Rickshawful Shame

Recently eaten: turkey and cheddar on english muffin
Recent annoyance: people in movie theaters who aren't me

Rickshaw Race Yakuzas
WARNING: Don't click on this link if you don't want to see a kinda gross picture of a guy with no blood, just a healed stump.

"Every year several drivers die on the all-or-nothing routes in pursuit of a week's worth of bragging rights and a small cash purse, but when the challenge gets heated the only acceptable stake is to risk the one appendage that separates humans from primates.

In Chennai there are several drag racing routes where local clubs of mechanics supe-up the two stroke engines and navigate their way at top speed through the city's confusing grid work of streets and alleys. One popular route is the journey from Elliot's beach to Mahibellipuram, 50 kilometers south. The driver I interviewed said that for a while in 2003 he was the local favorite as city's most skilled racer. He had won several races for small money in the last few weeks and was feeling unbeatable. Aiming to knock him down a few pegs, another racer offered to race him and put his thumb up on hid left hand up as stake. The loser would not only end up mutilated, but ostensibly never be able to drive a rickshaw again since it requires a thumb to work the clutch. He had a good lead in the final stretch of the run with the finish line in sight when the engine on his rickshaw overheated and died. His challenger sped past him and won his prize. "

At first I thought this was going to be some tongue-in-cheek story about some rickshaw drivers that fancied themselves hardcore for street racing. However, after reading this article and the related blog posts, this might be one of the most frightening stories I ahve read in recent history. God forbid I should ever be challenged to one of these races. It's like Ben-Hur except with no horses, and the psikes in the wheels are for cutting off your thumbs instead of puncturing your tires. Talk about too fast and too furious. These people mean business. I don't even want to know how cutthroat the pedi-cab racing yakuzas are. They probably cut off your foot or something.

I'm smiling at your impending doom!

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