Day 4: How to have fun changing a tyre | world | Hindustan Times
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Day 4: How to have fun changing a tyre

world Updated: Jul 25, 2007 10:43 IST
Neha Dara

Take two three-wheeled rickshaws. Paint them red. In one, put three crazy Indians. In the other put two 21-year-old British chemical engineers, Chris and Owen, who look really sensible (note to self: looks can be deceptive).

Have a flat tyre in the middle of an absolutely empty road, when the only person you can see in the distance is a shepherd girl with her six goats. On one side, there should be green paddy fields as far as you can see. On the other, faint hills framed against a bright blue sky with powder puff clouds.

Have incredible fun changing the tyre. For starters, discover the fact that you never thought about the possibility of needing a jack. Look for alternatives. Find one large stone, one smaller, flattish stone.

Find one local who is walking by, stops out of curiousity, speaks a mix of broken Hindi and English, has one, very brightly pink nail, and is good at shoving stones under the front end of rickshaws.

Lift rickshaw. Takes me, Owen, Chris and Akshay to do that. Takes all my energy. Ask Shaizia and pink-nailed local to prop up rickshaw with the two stones pile on one another.

Try not to drop the rickshaw and try not to let it slide back on its rear wheels. Stones have to be re-adjusted and you have to hold the rickshaw up longer.

By this time, everyone who has used this road in the last twenty minutes is gathered around you. Field questions about who you are and what you're doing in bright red rickshaws in the middle of Nepal. Drains all remaining energy.

Wander in the field while the boys change the tyre. Jump across stream. Skip stones. Find one smooth round very white one. Eat some chocolate. Chase some goats.

Return fully refreshed to lift rickshaw again, this time to remove the stones. Bow when everyone gathered around cheers and claps when you're finally done. Wave like a film star. Blow some kisses. Leave. Try not to stall. Cramps style.