India during 1938
Mr. Robert L. Williams
India during 1938
Articles
RIKKI-TIKKI TAXI
THE ASHRAM
THE NOBLEST EDIFACE
OF CHAPATTIS AND JACKALS
CHANDNI CHOWK
THE TRAIN
SCHOOLDAYS IN THE HILLS
A CHARCOAL CHANT
MOONLIGHT AND DEODARS
WATERS IN THE MOONLIGHT
 RIKKI-TIKKI TAXI
(Article Submited by : Mr. Robert L. Williams)

My mother and I, Kanndy, 1938Just prior to beginning my adventures in India, in 1938, I walked down the gangplank of a ship at Colombo, Sri Lanka. My teacher-parents had founded a school for the poor in Korea and we were stopping to see Kandy on our way to a world missionary conference in Chennai.

On the dock we were met by a torrent of broken English from a gesticulating turbaned gentleman who, proclaimed that for a mere pittance compared to his competition he would be our guide, our driver, and our general factotum with an absolute guarantee of seeing the best sights while riding in the splendor of the grandest touring car in the world.

Without waiting for an answer he shouted at his chokra who grabbed our bags and lunged into the crowd. We had little choice but to follow. His open-top vehicle turned out to be as ancient as it was glorious but it was shined up to perfection. He swatted the flies from the leather seats with great gusto as he ushered us aboard.

With a clattering roar he cranked the aged engine into life, hurled the crank at his chokra, and leaped into the driver's seat. We were off in a whirling cloud of dust and squawking chickens as his chokra made a desperate run to perch on the rear luggage rack.

At Kandy we rode elephants and enjoyed a marvelous festival. Stopping on the way back to pour water in the trainer who made a mongoose do tricks for us. I immediately named the mangoes RIKKI - TIKKI -TAVI after the animal in the Kipling story.

True to his word the driver showed us a grand time, including the thrill of narrowly missing every bullock cart on the road . I was soon to learn that across the bay in India, many drivers, taxi drivers, and truck drivers were delightful madmen who could steer at breakneck speed with one hand constantly on the horn, through a throng of pedestrians, goats, carts, bicycles, and other autos without so much as winging a chicken.