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A Rick Shaped Void

April 1, 2020
- Kushagra Agarwal,Aryan Bidani,Kriti

The moment a student sets foot on the campus, he or she stares down a long race-course like stretch of land leading to his/her bhawan, and a longer one from there to the LHC. Traversing this distance on foot early in the morning goes from easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to I-can’t-feel-the-bottom-half-of-my-body-someone-help after the first few weeks (read:days), as R-land starts to take its toll on one’s sleep schedule. Defeated by the long avenues and expansive promenades in the campus, students finally resort to support from the electric heroes of the campus, popularly known as E-Rickshaws.

During the harrowing months of November-February, however, the campus saw a tragic decline in the number of these aides in transit. Students were robbed of their right to a 5 minute quickie to the LHC and were now forced to walk, or worse, cycle for 10 minutes through harsh weather and unforgiving terrain to attend lectures. Observing a general sense of angst and disbelief amongst campus dwellers, Watch Out!, in early January, set out to discover what the citizenry of R-land thought about this development. After sorting through hundreds of tragic, and sometimes weird responses, we present to you a few chosen transcripts :

WO: How do you feel about the lack of E-Ricks?

Random Person Standing Outside Rajiv Bhawan : My whole college life, which I built piece by piece for three years, is now perfectly ruined. My survival depended on E-Ricks for basic transportation. With no rickshaws available in the morning, I am forced to trudge to classes during the wee hours of the morning. Often late, and too broken to even try, my attendance dipped way below what the professors demanded of me, and I was held back in five of my courses. Even during placements, my body could never adjust to the change which led to me missing 10 of my interviews. Now I’m a 4th year guy with a ruined CG and no hopes of a good placement opportunity, which guarantees me a hamster-wheel of a life, where munching on rusted iron nails seems easier than getting out of bed for my soul-sucking excuse of a job. Even the Academic Affairs people have given up on me, and I’ll probably be forced to repeat this year. My lifeline to a better future is now decidedly dead, and everything is worse now.

The random guy was in the midst of a nervous breakdown when we saw a flash of light pass by, fast enough to unsettle the dust which formed a fragile crust on the surroundings. We followed this unusual phenomenon to its terminus, leading us to the LHC.

We somehow managed to stop this person. After several refusals and a promise for chaapos by a certain third year member of Watch Out, he agreed to give an interview.

WO: How has your life changed in the absence of E-Ricks?

The Random Person With Lightning In His Eyes: The absence of E-Ricks has extended my life on the track onto the IITR roads. The exercise that the ABN track provided me with, I now obtain from jogging all the way to the LHC and back every morning and evening. I have seen many people improving their health just by these early morning endeavours. It’s also fun that you get to socialise with the people you know, something that 2 minute rides on E-Ricks didn’t allow. My friends have been giving juniors random chaapos just because they have saved a lot by not spending 40 bucks a day on travel. All in all, though uncomfortable at first, I have really enjoyed the campus sans E-rickshaws.

As we left the stranger behind, he stood in a daze, having missed out on a day of attendance despite running towards the LHC at a superhuman speed. Interestingly, as we made our way out of the building, we saw a tinfoil hat donning entity, making its way out of the library, with chants of random Japanese verses. We stopped him in his tracks, and waited for him to complete his verses, which were oddly reminiscent of satanic sermons.

WO: What do you feel about the sudden disappearance of the E-Rickshaws?

Tinfoil Man: It’s all in the waves man. The earth, you know, the earth is pure, it never lies. Lemme tell y’all. The rickshaws and everything, it’s just one big conspiracy. It wasn’t the rickshaw people, it was the goddamned mech profs. They have invented some sort of a roborick, which wouldn’t get funded until human driven rickshaws existed. Thus they destroyed all the E-Ricks and set them on fire before dancing over their bleeding electric ruins.


The look he gave while sensing the change in waves

WO: Or they might have just stopped them from entering the campus…?

Tinfoil Man: Wait! The waves! They’re changing. It wasn’t them profs, it was rather a bicycle renting company looking to open up their booths in R. They bribed the rickshaw drivers to lessen their numbers, just so that their venture would gain some traction in the campus. They orchestrated a fight between the authorities and the rickshaw drivers to benefit from the resulting rift. This is what the earth tells me, and I refuse to believe otherwise.

Overwhelmed by the fact that our world might be a simulation, we took to our heels and happened to come across a gloomy lad loitering around Lovers’ Lane.

WO: How do you feel about the lack of E-Ricks out here?

Sad Guy With 2 Hoodies And A Birthday Card In His Hand: What do I feel? Is that what you want to know? Because of the lack of E-Ricks, my 2 years 3 months and 15 days long relationship came crashing down. It was easy to travel from Govind to Kasturba in that electrically powered beast. But when they stopped, meeting her got tough. She kept complaining, but she too couldn’t make the massive effort of putting one foot in front of the other for 500 long meters. Today when I saw her after what seemed like an eternity, it made my heart soar with joy; her voice seemed like the sweet euphony of birds chirping in the morning. It felt like a soft, cool drizzle of rain on a hot afternoon. But I was in for a rude shock when she returned my hoodies. She also refused to take this handmade card which I had painstakingly put together for her birthday. My world has come crashing down. I am among the 99% of people on campus now. I am single. I…I don’t


We had to end the interview here because this guy burst into a deluge of tears

On reaching the library we found an unfamiliar sight of two girls standing alone in despair

WO: How do you feel about the lack of E-Ricks on campus?

Two Girls Blankly Staring Into Nothingness Outside The Library : There was this guy. Jesus he was beautiful. A work of art. In this cesspool of sweaty, burly men, he grew like a lotus, sculpted to perfection. He used to wear his headphones, chew on the caboose of a Natraj pencil and work everyday from 8-11 PM at the library. We lost a tonne of weight skipping dinner everyday just to have our own mini Baywatch. And now, now bursts into sobs he probably studies in his room like the rest of those sweaty ba-

We covered our ears, muttered the name of the lord, and ran away just in time. Tired from our journalistic endeavours we decided to stop by Dominos to grab a quick bite.

image An unrelated naive, delusional boy we lied to.

WO: How did the reduction of E-Rickshaws inside IITR affect your life?

The Owner of Dominos: I remember weeks ago when most of the students from IIT Roorkee would be lingering around here. We earned so much every day. Life was so good. We made so many pizzas. The aroma of exotic spices delicately placed on freshly grated cheese filled up this place. Ah! The continuous ringing of the phones, the chaotic ruckus that ensued, all of it was a piece of art, analogous to the intricate pirouette of a ballerina. All I am left with now are the beautiful memories. Since the news about E-Ricks came out, we have been inconsolably sad and depressed. Kids do not order pizza after 9 p.m. because they can not reach the gate to collect it.

We ordered 5 pizzas and the order number was 2. . . . It was 7 p.m.

WO: We wanted to ask you about the E-Rickshaw situation in the campus, but you kind of look down. Is everything alright?

An Unnamed Official From The Hospital : Ah, no, nothing at all. You won’t believe it, but we have had 112 calls for the ambulance since this morning. Alarmed by the frequent signals, we feared that we might have had a corona-virus outbreak in the campus and contacted some of the renowned doctors around the area. But then we noticed a strange coincidence - all the patients were carrying their bags along with them, and suddenly felt fine as the ambulance neared the LHC. After encountering many such cases, we figured out that as there are no E-Ricks on campus, these students have smartly started using our ambulance service as per their convenience. Sadly, in our profession, we are compelled to accept every call, and thus we are now the substitutes of E-Ricks for the smarter lot of the campus. Ah, the system needs a change.

As we were wrapping up for the day we saw a guy staring into blank walls, seemingly trying to take in it’s aroma

WO: With only a few months left for your graduation, what makes you sad about the E-Rickshaw void?

Random 4th Yearite: Roorkee, located in the heart of Uttaranchal, is much more than just a town for me. With the mighty Himalayas in the background and the Ganga and Yamuna hemming it in, Roorkee has immense glorious natural beauty. Being the green panther that I am, I am mad for every bit of Roorkee - from the exquisite James Thomason Building to the dazzling Ganga Canal. Roorkee is like my drug. Up above this materialistic World, my sole aim in life was not to leave this pleasant place. After ruling out hundreds of job possibilities one could have taken up in Roorkee, I came up with a unique idea : to become an E Rickshaw-driver post my graduation in this lovely town. With only a few months left for my graduation, I was super-duper excited to take up this job. But then, one gloomy morning, I heard that there would not be any E-Rickshaws in Roorkee from now on. All my aspirations came to a crashing end. Now, with the placement season over, there is nothing I can do in life. I am a disappointment.


Illustration credits: Yavnika