Saturday, January 15, 2011

Auto stories

B has several blog-worthy stories of his R2I experiences that I desist from blogging simply out of respect to his privacy :). We both grew up in Bombay at a time when it was so easy to go out on the street and get an auto to wherever you need to go. I also remember loving the auto-wallahs because you could often strike up a conversation with them- on politics, on the city, and such. But since B returned to India last year things are not the same. Auto-wallahs will deign you with a ride only if your destination is convenient to them. The horrible traffic situation, the effed up bombay roads are all part of the problem. Since his R2I, B has had a love-hate relationship with the autos. He has gone from hating the auto-wallahs who refuse to go where you want them to, to boycotting them and insisting on taking the bus every day back from work just because he hates having to beg and plead with a dozen auto- wallahs each time before anyone agrees- to befriending Naushad- the autowallah, who, after picking him on the street outside his lane at the same time for a few consecutive days in the morning became his friend and started coming and waiting outside B's building every morning to take him to work. The last story totally warmed the cockles of my heart and Naushad soon featured in our daily conversation, until, recently, he got a coveted job in the Gulf and left. :(.

B's latest skirmish with the autowallahs was quite something, so I'm blogging it with his permission. He had a flight to catch one evening out of the domestic airport, and after getting off the train, found it impossible to get an auto willing to come to the airport. After getting frustrated and worried about missing his flight, he just decided to walk it up to the airport (a ~ 20 min walk). He walked through the dirt and grime and dodged all the traffic - of course, that area is totally unsuitable to walk through- and when he was inside the airport complex, an auto kept stalking him. He shook him away a couple times but this guy wouldn't let go. B finally told him that he needed to go to the airport and he was already there- to which the auto guy says "Nai saab main paisa nahin loonga, aap ko bas chodh doonga - udhar havaldar mujhe pakdega agar main khaali auto leke wahaan gaya to". :) !!

9 comments:

Calvin said...

Mumbai gives me scares, the mere thought of going back and living there. The traffic condition has become pathetic, and all the auot-wallahs and cabbies are the same - you need to plead with half a dozen to get one to agree. Sometimes I feel we have too much democracy in India, and too much choice with everyone.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Yeah bombay is definitely hard to live in now. I don't think democracy is the issue. Its just a breakdown of all systems - and zero accountability. :(

Calvin said...

Yeah, actually in my group we use the term democracy in this context as 'right of auto-wallahs to choose where to go and when to go'....we have given too much choice to them, unlike in other parts of the world where refusing passengers is very uncommon....

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

I disagree with the "We have given them too much choice" bit. Have we, then, enabled them with organized traffic, free of haughty car-owners, corrupt policemen and maniacal bus drivers and pot-holes, so that they can willingly accept a fare to any corner of bombay and be assured that it won't take them hours to get back home? The autowallahs are only partly to blame for the situation, I feel.

satish said...

sounds like a typical nri discussion.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

LOL Satish. what do you have to say other than that?

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with the we have given them too much choice, they don't want to go a distance too small, a distance too large, not to crowded places there's too much traffic, not to the un-crowded places they won't get another customer, never on the meter fare, if they do switch on the meter then give them something over the meter fare. This is about Hydie, Bombay must be a lot better i'm sure,, atleast you have hope of getting an auto after asking the 10th one!

-ferret

satish said...

you have no idea! i leave in bangalore. we give the example of mumbai (i lived there for quite some time) when it comes down to good-behaving auto-walahs.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

ferret
oh hydie ka to baat hi mat kar. horrible it is.

satish,
agreed that bombay is not as bad as blr, but...that doesnt change the fact that it has gotten worse