Just Emkaying: Love in an auto - Mumbai Tidbits

Jul 28, 2012

Love in an auto - Mumbai Tidbits

I have been in the city of dreams for about  4 months now. And there are many things that are different, unique and surprising sometimes. 

One of the many things that has given me a unique perspective of things is the concept of sharing Autos with people you hardly know.

Totally Random. Yes.

I usually wait near my house to catch an auto. Now the location I work at, Chakala, is the Mother-of-Traffic-Jams. Its like a free for all rally for vehicles. Imagine being stuck on the peak of a flyover for hours. And having nothing to do except look at other cars. I happened to once see Vinay Pathak in a Hyundai Accent. But most of the other times its just legs in various attires or as far as the eye can see, without. 

Anyways, going by the sheer traffic, getting an auto is next only to getting a meeting with the President. Wait, that's a bong now so rash-gulla should do the trick...err Prime Minister.The ratio of getting an auto to stop is 5/10. Getting a stopped auto to take you to where you want to go is 1/10. So your chance individually is 1 out of 20. Add 5 more people to the equation and you get the picture. There are also the crazies, who will run all around the road, at ALL autos, and cursing loudly. 

So there is always a small gathering on different sides of the road trying to get an auto to the same locale. I can recognize many of them now, by having seen them so often. That's when it started.

The first time was this guy who got an auto and stopped a little ahead and popped his head out to ask me if he could drop me to Andheri Station, which was like mid way to my stop. I politely declined, out of awkwardness. 

The next time it was raining heavily, My shoes was already drenched. Not one single auto was even bothered to look at us. I stopped an auto but he refused, and started talking to the lady behind me. I walked away, and heard her arguing with the auto wala. In a few minutes she called out to me, offering to drop me to some place. I had no idea where that was, and I told her so. She just shrugged and left.

Next was my turn. I was in an auto stuck in the traffic, reading a book. An old lady approached us and asked where I was going. She asked me for a drop to someplace in between which I obliged. I felt good I must say. And Not a word from the auto wala. It was welcome change after the Thugs of Bangalore.

One the very same day, on my way back, there was a long wait. Just as I got an auto, a pretty young thing asked me where I was going, and said if she could join me. As laddoo's phooted in my head, I enthusiastically  agreed with my best smile and faster-than-Usain-Bolt head nodding. 

Just as she was going to get into the auto, And as the violins were getting into the flow of things, the autowala decided he didn't like me. Or my future plans. He refused plainly to take on additional passenger (Bah!) and demanded money from her. Outraged, I started going Karate on him when, she smiled sweetly and said it's ok. I was crest fallen.

Needless to say, I fought like hell with him over the meter, more so for him spoiling my potential marriage plans. I still mourn the opportunity of the kids we could've had together. *Sigh*

(For the record, my modus operandi for picking women is not offering rides in autos. Actually, I don't even have one, I think.)

The last, was recently, when the station were closed. This guy just asks me, "Dude where you going" So I told him and he said lets share an auto. I agreed. Over chasing autos all over the road (Yes, he was a mumbaikar, also equipped with the latest in cursing technology) and after finally badgering one to take us, we spoke. Of random things, where we worked an all that. He happened to stay two blocks next to my place, and he let me in on Auto catching technology.  

And so it has been, waiting and sharing, sharing and dropping and all that. Next time, maybe, the auto wala will be kind to not mess with my future.


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