At Adventurist HQ we like to shake things up a bit every now and again. So when Adventurist Chief of Chiefs Mr Tom announced an August Rickshaw Run, we warmly embraced the idea. 58 teams quickly decided a little thing like a raging monsoon wouldn't put them off and threw their hats into the ring.
This is acting Rickshaw Run chief Mr Peter's report of the launch.
The launch began with the news of a complete strike in honor of the rat hole mining in the area. A new legislation to protect the environment had led to the banning of this type of mining practice.
At the Q&A, held in the conference room of The Majestic Hotel – a fine affair, with rows upon rows of slightly worse for wear drivers, after the previous night’s foray into partyland, leaving our guests unable to string more than two or three words together which really did not amount to enough to express even the simplest of questions, they were informed of the new plan whereby a number of SSBS buses (Shillong Supplementary Public Service) would pick them up from the Polici Bazaar Bus Station, buses, might I add, of a maroon shade similar to well cured liver.
Some of the participants were already at Polo Car Park when we descended just after 8 am. The buses arrived filled with all sorts of adventuresome belongings - tarpaulins, bed-rugs, boxes, blankets, sheepskins, libraries, cooking pots, stolen goats, rabbits, pesticides, wardrobes, the occasional tents, a fork, a stool, a bible, some loo paper, scrabble, small mirrors, plastic coat-hangars, kettles, etc. and bags of hastily packed clothes. The next hour or so was spent loading the rickshaws and dressing up for the occasion.
What a surprise to see remnants of Hollywood film characters, Roman clad youths with bear chests, stricken ghostbusters, moustachioed women, real red-bearded men, pirates, Milanese gansgsters, a reversed Don Quixote and his tall Pancho, the wrapped voluptuousness of women in sari, a never-ending fabulation of invention and desire, orange men, black hands on blue, flags and wide-eyed cameras, all clad in the recklessness of the heights of fashion.
As the excitement built Shillong showed its support and a handsome crowd began to form. The cultural performance set the tone beautifully with the traditional dance and drumming in front of the stage. Pistons were raffled out, words were spoken and finally the launch flag was unfurled.
The adventurists now started up their two-strokes, wrenching their unaccustomed left arms in the process, were encouraged to toot their horns and generally make noise. As each drove up the ramp onto the stage, they were awarded their well-earned driving license. Hands were shook and backs patted as they set off out of the gates of this hidden jewel in north-eastern India and then down, down, down the long, winding hill towards Guwahati.