Thursday, March 19, 2009

Of auto fans and psychos……

I have this uncanny knack of picking the wrong autowalla no matter where I go.

In my unmatched travels in Bangalore I have come across enough specimens to be inspired enough to write this blog.

Let’s begin with a very scary auto fan/ psycho type: This guy is forever parked outside my street. He is also forever ready to go anywhere I ask him to. He never uses the meter and always charges less than what the fare would normally come up to. All this is still tolerable, until he begins asking me questions—what are my office timings? Do I work Saturdays? Can he come to pick me up in the evenings? What is my phone number? Can he call and check if he can come and pick me up in the evening? Can he call in the morning and come and pick me up from my building? Who is my watchman? Etc etc…

As you can probably understand……..I make an effort to not take this auto in the morning. If it means I have to leave a little early, little late, or from another street, then I just do it.

The second category of autowallas includes the geography gene deficient chaps. This is how the conversation usually flows;

Me: “Race Course Road?”

Him: “Eh?”

Me: “Race Course Road??”

Him: (Scratching his chin or poking his ear, looking sufficiently mystified) “Where on Race Course Road?”

Me : “Near Taj West End”

Him: (Now vigourously working on scratching that chin or digging uranium in that ear, looking positively dumbfounded!) “Which route to go?”

Me: (Controlling the urge to hit the man, wondering why they always ask you questions when you are running against time to reach work….) “Over Old Madras Road….”

Him: (Scratch, scratch or dig, dig, Oscar winning cinematic look of deep mystery and incomprehension) “After Old Madras road, which way?”

Me: (Grating teeth, wishing for something hard to hit his head with, with increasing volume…) “Over Dickenson Road, then you take a right , parallel to M G Road, then you drive straight down to Raj Bhavan Road, then you take a left at Chalukya circle, then straight down to Race Course Road!!!! The whole thing will last 30 mins ! ARE YOU COMING OR NOT???”

Him: (In deep thought for over a minute, working out on that chin or/and ear)“ No madam” (cheesy grin)


Him: (another cheesy grin)

Suddenly another auto draws up almost running over your toes……

Him2: “Where to madam?”

Me: (hopeful again, there is a lord!) “Race Course Road?”

Him2: “Hmm”….scratch……

And life goes on…………..

The third category belongs to the virgin autowalla. Rare and very hard to come by, this auto walla doesn’t know a single place in Bangalore. He asks you if you know the way (bloody gall I tell you!) and as is the superior human tendency of non auto drivers; you smirk and tell them that of course you do! Then begins the jolly ride, where you realize that this absolutely cunning and shrewd fellow has made you his Bangalore guide for the day………he insists on knowing when the Ulsoor lake came into being, or when a particular street became one way, or why old Madras Road is called that, one guy even asked me what the price of a film ticket was when we passed a mall! All in all you are mentally drained, not to mention pocket empty, by the time you reach your destination.

The fourth and final type of autowalla are found dime a dozen. They wait till you are seated and then say; “20 rupees extra”

Smart these fellows are! They know you cannot jump off a moving vehicle and that you are sufficiently and psychologically cornered into accepting. Yet I have learnt after a lot of fighting that this need not be an all encompassing losing battle for you….I usually say, “WHAT!!Stop this auto immediately”

Ah ha! You have realized that their weakness lies in not having a scene (here is where you feel like grinning goofily, but since you are having a fight, you must look distressed and agonized enough…)

He persists and tells you, “You won’t get any savari (customers) from there!”

You retort with, “So? Is that my fault?”

You have managed to stump him! Hurray!

The euphoria doesn’t last too long. He says, “Madam, what is 20 rupees to you? We have to come back empty from there….”

You reply, “So that gives you a right to cheat people?”

Again you have come up with a winner! (Pat on your back my friend!)

He says, “Ok madam, 15 rupees, not yours or mine”

You: “ You think you can cheat people is it? No 15 rupees! You want to come for 10 rupees then come otherwise stop this auto right now!”

That my friend, is when it strikes you that you have comprehensively lost an extra ten rupees for absolutely no reason. It is then that you should just meekly accept that the laws in this auto filled world are conspiring to constantly win against you and your silly little brain. Just give up and lead a peaceful life.

Life without drama, like I always say, is no life at all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009