The Tonga wallah and his tonga

The tonga wallah had duly arrived and was waiting near the door when accompanied by shrieks of joy, Niren and Suren ran out with Roma toddling behind. Both the boys were scampering to get up on the front seat of the Tonga before the other; this gave a vantage view of not only the road ahead but also the horse and this led to a huge competition of who will sit in the front. Along with the tonga wallah, Sujit could sit with only one of the children. Usually, it would be one of the more vociferous boys.

“Niren! Suren ! Behave yourself. Do not leave your sister behind like this”, admonished Sujit, as he came out of the quarter. “Today, Roma will sit with me in the front”.

Snippet: The ubiquitous tonga-wallah and his tonga remained on the Delhi roads for more than a century till in 2011, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi banned their services. The ‘clip-clop’ sound of the horses’ hooves is no longer heard on Delhi roads!

The tongawallah and the tonga feature in the story, ‘Ashtami’, part of my forthcoming book ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Executive Coach mentor and trainer for leaders & performance. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * Four decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. , * . +91 - 9051787576

3 thoughts on “The Tonga wallah and his tonga”

  1. A lovely snippet!…. Along with History lesson, And loved your old photo shot from above the street.. Giving a birds eye view.. Love seeing Horse and carts… your tonga wallah’s, But when ever I see a horse an carriage, I always think about the poor horse… And that Grey, looks very thin as you can see her ribs…
    Then I think of the poor men who also pull carts …. My visit to Sri-Lanka well over twenty years ago had me closing my eyes and praying profusely, as the Tuk-Tuk Rickshaws speeded in an out of traffic… I think I must have aged considerably overnight lol.. 🙂
    Thank you for your share Shakti… Enjoy your weekend 🙂


    1. Thank you for bringing your thoughts here Sue. What you say so much resonates. Fact remains that horses, similar to bullocks and several other animals, have been domesticated as beasts of burden by Man over millennia. I suppose it is only now that awareness is rising about the cruelty of it all.

      But methinks, as the dominant species on the planet, the time has also come for us to think of all the other species we slaughter for consumption.



      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. One day perhaps the world will truly live as One… Respecting each and every living thing in it…. We have a long ways yet to get to that point… But I am always the Dreamer!… 😀 🙏


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