Tongawallas miss their favourite 'Saab'

One such tongawalla is ‘Tangal Pasha’ aka Mohammed Pasha who took Ashwath around for more than 15 years. Before autorickshaws were introduced in the heritage city of Mysore, tonga was the only local transport available for citizens. This is how Ashwath developed a love towards tongas and patronised it as long as he was hale and healthy. He felt more comfortable in tongas than in any other vehicles.

“Whenever I was standing with the tonga near Siddappa Square, Agrahara, Court Circle and other places, Ashwath, who had to pass that route, used to stop autorikshaw and get into the tonga. I would clean the seat with my towel to make his travel comfortable. ‘Saab’ used to ask whether I had lunch or tea. Apart from that he never talked anything.

After getting down he would ask: ‘Saabu how much I should pay?. I never demanded any thing but accepted whatever amount he gave. I have dropped him his friend’s and relatives houses in Shivarampet and Sarasawathipuram and the shops on New Sayyaji Rao Road.”

Pasha said although Ashwath was one of the reputed artists, he always addressed everyone with respect. “I still remember his kindness towards tongawallas. He was a great person with a kind heart. I felt sad after hearing his death. I am going to Harishchandra Ghat to pay my last respects,” Pasha said.

Apart from Tangal Pasha, there were others too who were regularly took Ashwath around the city. One among them was Tambi, a tongawallah who was dropping Ashwath from Metropol Circle from Saraswathipuram, after his morning walk. Tambi had a long time association with the ‘Saab.

During one of the functions held four years ago, the actor spoke in detail about the services of his favourite tongawallas. As he became old, Ashwath stopped using the tongas because of heavy traffic and condition of roads. Ashwath will be always remembered by local tongawallas as their ‘Saab’ who patronaged them for quite a long period.

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