180 Adventurists from all walks of life from all over the globe are about to take on the Rickshaw Run, but how do you know if you've got what it takes before your mettle has been tested? What does it actually take to master the Rickshaw Run? Having been Vice-consul of the Rickshaw Run for many moons, Mrs Pubali Bardhan is expertly placed to give an analysis of the major tests you will face on the way to becoming a fully fledged veteran Adventurist Rickshaw Runner:
Rite Alpha: The simultaneous art of steering and vomiting
Whilst on this journey you will be struck by bacteria, virus and other micro-orgasms that will invariably lead to a loss of control both in the posterior and oral regions. A time will come when you will expel things violently from the mouth, whilst negotiating the Indian national dirt tracks. Are you able to projectile vomit without letting go of the steering column, indeed without going off course? If yes, continue, you are ready for the next rite.
The Rickshaw Run will bring you in contact with various denizens of the Indian subcontinent and we wager that many of them will invite you to their homes and ply you with copious quantities of food. While accepting the benevolent generosity of these beautiful people you will find yourself seated either on the floor or at a table. With at least 20 of their kith and kin watching with ardent attention, most of the food served will be delicious, but some of it will be strange and terrifying in texture, taste and colour. Will you be able to accept and swallow the viciously spicy, the numbingly pungent and the robustly hot mouthfuls without any grimace, wince or screwing of the features? If yes, congratulations and continue to rite number three.
Rite Gamma: The relentless honking of the horn
Forget ye Rickshaw Runners everything you’ve learnt on the roads back home. Here in this mad, bad, hot country, you drive not by rules but by intuition. And remember – when in doubt, honk. When happy, honk. When engaged in rabid road rage, honk. When asking for directions, honk. Indeed, honk at all times. So we ask you again, are you able to sacrifice the monumental English politeness, Scandanavian reserve, Oriental calmness or whatever else you possess and keep that finger firmly placed on the horn? If yes, you’re ready for the next test.
Rite Delta: The deciphering of the Indian head wobble while asking for directions
You’re lost. And the best way to find the hallowed path when you’re lost in India is not to read the misleading road signs, but to ask the locals for some fantastic (and possibly equally misleading) directions. So imagine – you’re driving on a hot, dusty, sweaty day, with what feels like a hairdryer in your face and greasy grime half shutting your eyes, with your team mate in the back screaming for a decent toilet. Your mood is gradually darkening and your belly’s beginning to growl. Can you keep your temper and your wits about you when you stop to ask a local for a hotel, restaurant, shed dispensing food, anything, anything at all - and get in return – the elusive head wobble? Is it to the right? Wobble. The left? Another wobble. Straight? Yet another wobble. Are you able to decode this without using the starting lever to bash out some brains? If yes, my friend you’re ready for the last rite that stands between you and the glorious badge of adventurism.
Rite Epsilon: The withstanding of the relentless Indian stare
As a foreigner driving a rickshaw in India you will not just be looked at, you will have a billion eyes staring at you. Popping out of their sockets, the retinas will follow your every move, document what you’re wearing, what you’re saying, what you’re eating, what you’re doing. Hollywood stars do not have the privilege of such undivided attention from such a large audience. And did you think that you could stave off those stares with a stare of your own? Wrong. Even if you did make eye contact, those pupils will return the favour - unflinching, unrelenting. How do you react? With a smile, or with a cold shoulder? That fine balance between the two (if you ever achieve it) is the tipping point for success when you're driving across India in a glorified lawnmower. Good luck.
The adventure begins April 6th, 2013. You can follow it all here