Diary of an Auto-Driver
“All I asked was just 20 Rupees extra on the meter but she gave me an exasperated stare and walked away. Arey, at least I agreed to go by meter!”.
I am just an Autorickshaw-Driver, nothing fancy about it. Is that the way to treat me? She came to me, I didn’t go to her. Well anyways, this is how my day goes usually. I thought, why not jot down some of my feelings and day-to-day experiences, which might make the customers, understand my plight before giving me a flight. Thus, I have asked one of my customers to lend me his blog so that I can share a bit about my life because I don’t get time to blog owing to my extremely busy schedule.
As I was sleeping in my Auto, (Trivia: people of Mumbai call it Rick, people of Hyderabad call it Aeto) very early in the morning at around 9 AM, 2 guys came to me and woke me up. Without any decency they asked me if I would go to MG Road? Rubbing my eyes and yawning simultaneously, I nodded my head in negation nonchalantly. Who wants to go there in the peak time anyways! I shooed them away and went to sleep again. It was so hot and sleeping in an Auto is not a comfortable thing I tell you. You have to crouch to fit on the back seat and then place your legs over the driver’s seat to ease.
After 10 odd minutes, another guy in formals like Karan Thapar and a face as sophisticated as Yogendra Yadav approached and asked me if I was willing to go to Whitefield. This guy looked liked an IT guy so I told him ‘Alright, 150 Rupees only’. He said, ‘No no, it costs only 60’. Now, firstly, everyone knows that these IT guys are mighty rich. They can spend 1000s in just half an hour drinking at posh pubs. Can’t they even spare such meager amount on Travel? ‘Tch tch what saar, so much traffic there and no sawaari from there back to here’, I told him. He didn’t look like the bargaining ones so he readily agreed. We started and after a super fast extent of 10 seconds, came to a standstill thanks to a traffic jam. It took 20 minutes to move 100 m and technically I should’ve asked for 500 Rupees from him but since I agreed to take him for a ride in just 150, I couldn’t ask for more. So I told him that because of this headache of a jam, I would take 20 more and drive faster further. He said he was okay with it but insisted to avoid driving like Rajinikanth. We eventually reached his destination safe and sound as I had promised.
And to everyone’s surprise, there was no returning sawaari at all for at least a Kilometer. After which I found a lady walking with an umbrella in the hot sun. I thought I should help her and asked if she wanted to go somewhere. Reluctantly she said she was heading towards KR Puram but she will go only by meter. I agreed because I couldn’t see her walking, panting and cursing Awesome Bangalore Weather in the summer. We started peacefully but the peace was soon shattered when she took out her phone and started discussion her daily chores with someone on phone. I don’t think she even paused for breath but was continuously blabbering her office live issues, her daily life issues, her shopping woes, her husband’s excuses and lies and even her cat’s tantrums. I could have written her biography if she has continued the transcription. I even stared at her through the mirror overhead so that she could distract but there was no stopping. As soon as I dropped her and took a sigh of relief, I found another elderly gentleman who wanted to go Marathalli. It felt like the day was going smooth but as soon as we reached a flyover, the auto broke down. Hmpfh. I had checked everything just a night ago and everything was working top notch. Unfortunately I had to ask the old man to get down and pay 50 Rupees so that I could push the auto myself till the next service station. He was infuriated but couldn’t do anything. At least I didn’t ask him to help me push the auto. He should have looked at his age for God’s sake.
Well, this is how my day usually goes by. People consider us inhumane, I consider people inhumane. Each and every day we help people reach their destinations come what may rain and thunderstorm but people don’t appreciate that. We ask for some extra money because it is bloody tough out there. Fighting Inflation and regularly bribing police personnel is not a child’s play. So I hope next time you aboard another auto, think of me. Thanks to the blogger for letting me use his blog. See you.
Enjoy this till then.
FOR HIRE! – BANGALORE RICKSHAW from Xaver Xylophon on Vimeo.