This week’s article isn’t about any of the world’s more pressing concerns. Nothing about Phailin, or the US government’s shutdown, increased terror of El Nino. I can go on but you get the drift right? Nah, I’m more of a narcissist than that. No, today’s article is about my encounters with autowalas.
First auto ride from school to the metro station = Rs. 100
Second auto ride from school to the metro station = Rs. 75
Third auto ride from school to the metro station = Rs. 60
After third ride, I felt that I was still being swindled for money.
Proper metered amount from school to metro station = Rs. 44
But, all this was back when I was in Delhi, over two years ago.
Last year, I got down at the Bangalore railway station. On our way from Pondicherry. Others went on to the bus station, so we could get back to Mangalore. I wanted a pepperoni pizza, and we don’t get them here anymore. I asked the auto guy outside to take me there, and after finally being done with playing dumb, he pretends to recall that a Domino’s outlet is there at some random place, and that it’ll be 250 rupees to take me there. This was after I had already checked on Google maps that a Domino’s shop was less than a mile away. (No literally, it was 1.2 km I think. Which really is less)
So I walked.
In the last two months however, I’ve had 5 incidents with autowalas. All personal, none of them good. Thrice they asked for more money than they’d worked for. Blatantly, in anger, while thinking themselves righteous as a saint. Oh and then they abused. Yeah, swore the sainthood away.
One time, the guy got mad because my friend ‘took too much time’, to take money out of his wallet. Followed by the general swearing which me and friend responded to in kind.
Another time, I was with my girlfriend and he threatened to make a scene. I was going to beat 9 kinds of shit out of this guy on the street. My girlfriend convinced me, thankfully, that it may not be a well thought through plan.
Once we, me and some friends, caught one being rude and disrespectful to a senior, in front of her hostel. We told him to just take the money and piss off. He did. While screaming profanity and cursing us for ‘chasing after girls’. (his words)
In fact the same thing happened when I was with my girlfriend.
Now let me ask you, what’s wrong if we like girls? (‘We’ meaning me and my friends I mean, you are obviously entitled to your personal preferences) Would the autowalas be comfortable with us if we were gay? And who gives them the right to judge us? I’m sorry auto-wale-bhaiya, I didn’t mean to offend you or your degrees in behavioral sciences and psychoanalysis. Yes, of course, I’m 19, and I like women, I’m going to hell.
And it’s not just me, no, these instances are happening all over the city. With more college students than would care to admit.
And it goes deeper than that. I mean, I swore and responded to everything they said. Which isn’t exactly prudent. (Should keep a better rein on my anger). Though, truth be told, I’ve never incited any of them. And 5 times in 2 months is no small feat. Plus it makes me wonder how bad the situation really is. No doubt not all of them are like that. But I’ve found myself wondering more than once, ‘Should I be traveling in autos at all?’ What about students in general? Not all of us can control our anger. But you know what? I still ride them. I do. I do it out of nothing else but necessity.