Having lived in Bangalore for more than a year and having sufered more than a zillion times at the hands of auto guys I am left wondering how their psyche works, how they think. At times they are awfully sweet; at times they are worse than vultures but hey without them Bangalore would have been a pretty boring, sleepy city. So to help out all confused Bangaloreans and the new comers to Bangalore I present to you a 21st cenury guide to Bengaluru auto driver’s psyche.
NOTICE: I have written way too much about/against auto drivers. This post is just an attempt at trying to understand the way an auto driver’s mind works. Yes, I am trying to justify auto drivers here. You must be thiking I am insane right? I know I surprised myself when I started writing this 🙂 !
They feel like the whole world is out to get them. It is his wife somedays, it is the rising fuel prices at other times. Whatever be the case, he has his customers on whom he can take out his frustration. Charging ten rupees extra from them is the norm for him, well yes, he can at least pick an arguement and distract his worried mind for a while at least. (Funda inspired by Fight Club)
Life is pretty lousy — read: slow — in the outskirts, in the various hallis (villages) that surround the city we used to and continue to call Bengaluru. And everyone wants a piece of the action that is happening in the Indian silicon valley. So they hop on in their semi-kerosene powered autos and venture into the city making more sound than intended by designed. Once in the city, they catch up with city tradition of rigged metres and ‘double meters’ and pretty soon they are dodging traffic cops and making more dough than the auto guys with permits. But hey they do it only to feed their hungry families back in the ‘hallies’. (Funda inspired by American Gangster)
The PR folk
They don’t care about money, all they care about is developing autodriving into a respectable professional option. As if joining one of the top-brass auto unions in the city wasn’t enough, they make an extra effort to gell with the 2.0 generation. They learn english, give advice on best residential areas and even substitute brokers/house agents at times. At the end of the day, their life is just another mask they wear during various stages of their life.
(Funda inspired by Badsha / Aye Auto — partly)
There are a lot of people who accept their fate and take it lying down. Then there is this special breed who want to beak free from all these limitations, and blow away the fate in speed. If one has to drive fast in Bangalore either he has be on NICE road or need to be riding an autorickshaw. These three wheeled vehicles have an uncanny ability to cut and nip acros even the most ridiculous jams. That reminds me of a joke I hear during my childhood. People used to keep their legs close together while waiting on he road side lest an auto pass through them! (eeks bad one I know!!)
(Funda inspired by real life auto drivers)
It is very common that auto drivers refuse to go to a destination we intend to go. We are left at times rudely only to abuse them once they leave the scene. We hardly think what must be going through their minds. May be their home is in the opposite direction and they stand no chance of making a profit even after charging double the metre charge. Or may be he just misses his kids, his wife or may be he just wants to take a nap. It’s night after all just like all of us (BPO staff and air hosteses excluded) everyone wants to get home before mid-night!
Imagine you have an auto with tampered metre, the traffic police won’t let you live in peace and you are bound to get shouted at by almost all your passengers. What would you do? Enroll yourself in one of those prepaid stands of course! When there you don’t have to use your metre and still make a few extra rupees on the metre charge and make a good impression on the police. Once pally with a few policemen he can get away always by showing this proof. Sneaky indeed heh!
Well this is an attempt to empathize with auto drivers in Bangalore who we love to hate 😉