I’ve been travelling by Auto a whole lot these days and what sucks is that only one of them had a poster of a movie star stuck on the side. :(
Oh well… at least I got a photo of that one!
Posters aside, I’ve realised, that if you really pay attention, the auto walla’s turn out to be pretty interesting characters.
Some love to talk. LOVE to talk.
If you ask them why they stopped to check the engine, you’ll get a detailed description of how the silencer had come off, and he had to fix it back, there’s always the fear it might fall off, you know? and the rickshaw does make the most horrible noise till it’s fixed. All this said with a huge smile on his face, and constant glancing in the rear-view mirror, hoping you’ll be ready to hear more about the inner workings of the vehicle. And it’s fun. Unless you’re late for work. Which I almost always am.
When it comes to the fare, reactions are different.
“Bhaiya, kitna loge?” How much will you charge?
“Aap batao?” You tell?
I think they size you up before deciding whether to go on the offensive or defensive.
If you look ‘inexperienced’, they’ll pounce. You need to keep a cool, blank expression (which isn’t really easy!). And be ready to argue.
It’s fun, actually! :P
There was this one guy who opened a paan packet. First went half the wrapper, neatly on the road. Pour out, put in mouth, and while chewing, casually toss the other half of the packet out.
I resisted the urge the first time, but when he threw out the second half, I couldn’t help it.
(Click for a larger view) ;P
“You shouldn’t throw it on the road.” (I get a surprised look and then a mildly sheepish grin back)
“And you shouldn’t spit either.” (He just grinned)
“It’s against the law you know. Doesn’t the police say anything?” (Shakes his head.)
He, erm… spat a lot during the rest of the journey. I think it was part defiance. :S
And some wear their religion on their sleeve… uh, I mean, auto.
Today though, was funny! The auto walla drove FAST. And every time he had to slow down, there were rather violent exclamations, like:
“Rookhja mataji, rookhja!” Wait a bit mother (dear), slow down!
“Chalo maharaaj!” Move! Your Highness!
“Arrey lalloo!” Oye Idiot!
:D and, the person sang a lot too! To himself mostly, almost as though he was enjoying the traffic, exhaust, and noise!
Or maybe it was the weather. The Delhi God is being rather nice these days, what with the cool breeze, dark clouds, impending monsoon and all!