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". :) !!