Another auto post – no cribbing ;)

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 🙂 !

Autorickshaws are a popular form of public transport in Bangalore

Imgae: wikipedia

Frustu sorts

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)

The pirates

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)

Sneaky bast**ds

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)

Home sick

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!

Camouflage

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 😉

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20 thoughts on “Another auto post – no cribbing ;)

  1. Somehow I dont like that breed of people. One reason is because they keep on changing their word. They know in and out of Bangalore and yet they act as if our destination is outside bangalore city limits even if we ask him to drop at MG road.
    Their mind works in one way : “Make some extra cash and rest for the day”
    The main reason is because much of the vehicles are not owned by the drivers. They take it on lease, they will have to pay around 400-500rs to the owner. The owner takes care of maintenance. While the auto driver will have to pay the lease money, gas and tip the policemen too.
    So if we trace the anger/rudeness shown to us it goes up the ladder to the policeman who ask for money every junction.

    Out here in my office if I look out, I can always see the police stopping all the trucks. The driver and policeman exchange something, and then the policeman inserts his hand into his pockets.

    Well it goto be money !

  2. hhahah new to namma bengalooru huh? I could probably write post of my own on this one.
    10 rupees extra is passe. This time when i came down to blore they’d just give you a price, take it or leave it. Thanks to all the Metro work goin on gettin autos are such a pain.
    I can’t imagine the number of times i have yelled at auto drivers for asking for more. Most times they yell back, mostly in Kannada which i dont understand which works well for me…hehehhe
    and like you said there are some of them that are really nice..almost freakishly nice at times with all the english and everything…haha..anyways..travelling in autos is an adventure in itself 🙂

  3. Ya i agree with you Balu. Bangalorean auto drivers are sometime very kind and caring but sometimes they act as if some booth has gone over them.. 😛 They act too rude and I seriously hate those kinds..

    Also I like the unity they have among them. I mean whenever you see an accident by an auto you can see atleast 10-15 drivers going and supporting..! That’s something really nice…

    But also there are too many autos in Bangalore… 😦 The govt of Karnataka must do something to reduce the population of autos in Bangalore..!

  4. Y’r weblog is great! I particularly have found myself in the past analyzing some as though I were finding an underlying anthropoligical theory. Peoplewatching is key.

  5. hehehehehe

    – Teachers
    – Auto Rick drivers
    – Bosses
    – Tailors etc

    These are few professions which will always get danda’s from us :D.

    I had a fren whoi had a habit of picking up fight with “every” autowallah, I used to get irritated with her and used to defend these guys hehehehe but then these buggers used to do something & I used loose my cool….

    Al I have to say is that ur observations are apt and at the end of the day these guys are also human being, may be their proff makes them the way they are….

    🙂

  6. @Xylene
    I know how much you hate them! 😀
    I had similar experience too. I had to go to Ulsoor and he was like “Ulsoor… thats far away” and I was like.. “WTH!… buzz off”
    Talking about the police… they deserve a whole post for themselves.. you had any encounters with them after your new car?

    @Karmalove
    When they yell at me in Kannada I yell back in back in Malayalam… 🙂
    They can’t even play the “You North Indians..” card then

    @Joel
    Reducing autos? No way! Last I heard govt has given permit for more autos to ply in the city

    @Reema
    Well I haven’t written BMTC bus service yet!

    @brianallen
    Thanks for dropping by 😀
    “Peoplewatching is key”
    So true

    @S
    Yeah even I have a friend who fights with autokkaras at the drop of a pin 🙂
    and yes me too used to defend them even when they dint deserve it!
    Also add journalists too to the list of hated professions 😀

  7. haha..malayalam huh…i shud probably try that..but by the time i figure out what to say in malayalam..he wud have probably left…! malayalam is the only south indian language i know..but doesnt really work with them..must learn tamil..they all seem to understand that withouth much problems…
    its quite frustrating yelling at them..knowing very well they probably wont understand much…hindi is the language i converse in with these people..again another language i’m not fluent in…so basically..im kinda stuck! heheh

  8. @Karmalove
    Eeks Tamil? shh keep quite now.. Haven’t you heard of Kaveri issue, Hoggenakkal? If some dude form Karnatake Vedike hear you arguing in Tamil he will cut your tongue off 😛

  9. @Dinu
    How can I let auto guys be? They are the inspiration behind this blog (partly)
    My first post in this blog was about autorickshaw drivers! 🙂

  10. Hey, Balu, namaste…i am a foreigner who has lived in India for a long time. I thought it is only us, “westerners”, “easterners”, non-Indians who have these kind of experiences in – not only Bangalore, but everywhere else too – in India. I am surprized to learn that you guys go through the same. Before India, i thought of myself as a decent, rather shy, polite human being, but autodrivers showed me my monster side: shouting at people on the top of my lungs, telling them EXACTLY what i think about them…lol. Never thought it possible. 🙂

  11. haha..i knew you’d get to that…but people never seem to have a problem with tamil..unless some issue comes up that is…but one thing ive noticed these auto drivers are damn helpful when there are problems around the city..

  12. @karmalove
    LOL yeah they are good guys but not if you are travelling in their auto
    They give the best directions (I used to depend on their directions when I fist came to the city 😀 )

  13. Hey Balu –

    I think you may have just described taxi drivers is lots of different cities — not just those of Bangalore. Cabbies are a wonderful, and different, bunch. And why does getting ripped off by a cabbie make us sooo angry? It does, but why? No answer from me, I am afraid …

  14. nah no problems since I have a Karnataka registraton vehicle. I had problems with my bike and they would stop me and ask for :” NOC, license, insurance, RC book, pollution certificate, Std X certificate, Std 12, birth certificate…. If I have all there, then they will ask for my Passport, ration card….

    I am kidding, but they dont , they know we might be missing something, and then they stretch their hands out !.

  15. @liamdempsey
    oops did I. Thats was totally unintentional 😀
    I never thougt cab guys behave same way as autodrivers may be its cos in India cabs are an elite thingy (in comparison to autos)

    @Xylene
    Ah they get to the point immediately these days heh! No beating around the bush 🙂

  16. Nice try, but they’ll remain sadistic, money-hungry assholes! At least here, they turn the meter on. I just spent the weekend in Chennai, being fleeced by the auto drivers there, whose word is law when it comes to fares! 😀

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