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Mall Road

Bus Addey, Maal Rode, Camp, Madal Toun, Ajadpur, Shalimaar...

Amitabh Bachchan Yadav

Just came back home on a rick. (Home nowadays is Noida - am living in office!) I have this strange habit of getting personal with rickshawpullers. I have therefore discovered that all rickshaw pullers in Delhi-NCR (all of them!) are immigrants from Bihar. (Just as I'm an immigrant from Uttar Pradesh.) Many of them pull a rented rickshaw for a few months, thereby making some money to go back home with, and return to the native Bihar village, working in the fields for the rest of the year.

So I ask him his name.

"My name is Amitabh Bachchan."

Excuse me?

I thought he was lying because he didn't like the condescending manner in which I asked him his name. Both of us were immigrants in the big city but that made no difference to the class equation. Who was I to ask him his name? I wasn't even a policewallah asking for hafta. I did not have the authority to ask him if he had something ridiculous called a rickshaw license. Most importantly, the class equations implied that he could not turn back and ask me my name. May be he found my question too intrusive.

But Amitabh Bachchan?

After my continued prodding he explained that ever since he was born, he's been fondly called Amitabh Bachchan.

"So you don't have a name?" I asked.

"I do," he said, "Amitabh Bachchan."

But what's your dad's last name?


"So you are Amitabh Bachchan Yadav?"


(I wondered if this could have anything to do with 'close relations' between the Bachchans and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav.)

"Do you have any brothers?"

"Yes, seven of them."

"Is any one of them called Ajitabh?"


"Okay, thank you."

ABY reminded me of another rickshaw puller outside my college - a young lad from Bihar - who also had an interesting name, though it was not as amusing as ABY's. He was called Ashok Mandal. He was also from Bihar, also from an agrarian background, also a "backward" (by caste). He was almost my age.

"Have you heard of the Mandal Commission?" I remember asking him.

"What?" he said sheepishly, "Hum padhey likhay nahin hain." (I am not educated.)

All you anti-reservationists, don't worry. There are no reserved seats for students belonging Other Backward Classes in Delhi University or its affiliated colleges.

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-- Blogger Tabula_Rasa, 7/11/2005 05:36:00 pm

I wish the illiterate oppressed class cud come up to the mark & not remain so 'untouched' by the happenings around them.

I wish,i wish...
But if wishes were horses,then beggars wud ride.    

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