Auto Fantasies at Hyderabad
Neeraj Shinde Saturday, September 24, 2005 Personal ExperiencesEveryday I stand at the same place and wait for it! And sometimes with my roomies. Wondering to what I am refering to? Yeah its the auto-rickshaw but I don't like to refer it by that name. For me it is more than the ferarri or any other F1 car of its class. The three wheeler comes and waits for us and then starts the negotiations.
"Panch rupayee mein chaloge toh hi baithenge!"
we ask the driver that means we would board only if you charge 5 bucks! The auto fares are very flexible here at Hyderabad and you need to bargain each time you board.
the driver answers in a typical hyderabadi hindi style or more like the Ranjnikanth style (fans no offence please). After a few more negotiations finally he agrees when he realizes that the party is not new to Hyderabad. And here we squeeze ourselves in the vehicle that already contains 4 to 5 passengers who immediately start giving weird looks! As such in hyderabad, there are practically no restrictions to the number of people travelling in the auto. I would like to mention here that I was one of the 9 persons travelling in the auto - 5 in the front and 4 at the back!
But who cares! Within seconds, the auto reaches to its optimum speed and we see huge trucks and APSRTC buses left behind by this mighty little three wheeler. One can feel the adrenaline pumping right from his stomach to the brain when he sees his vehicle overtaking without restrictions or norms. Especially when there is a zig-zag overtaking or when the driver struggles so hard to squeeze himself through a truck on the right and an overcrowded bus on the left neither bothered about the number of people he is carrying along nor concerned about how many people are hangling out of the auto. And the case is even worse when the auto is overcrowded with enumerous tiny schools going lads with their bags hanging all around the vehicle.
I remember an instance, it was 10:30 at night when I boarded an auto and amazingly I was all alone in it. Absolutely no one except the driver who was my only concern then. It was pitch dark and I could hardly see his face. But one thing I could make out of him was that he was driving with his one hand! No clues about where his other hand was! The worst part was that there were no headlights! Yet he continued raising the accelerator steeply from 30-35-45-60 and then I really couldn't make it out. All I could sense was the bumps of the slopy street. If this poor auto driver would have been a phycho-maniac then it would be my end then. Second thoughts started haunting my mind whether to continue or to tell him to stop! It would be more of intellegence rather than cowardice to tell him to stop but I left it to my fate. Only when I safely reached my destination I left a sigh of relief!
No matter such instances keep on occuring but I would not blame anybody here. I would only suggest for some measures to be taken to avoid mishaps.
Scenes like three people travelling on a single motor-bike with the middle one dragging a bicycle with his right hand, driving a motor-bike with both hands engaged in curling hairs, auto drivers carrying a overloaded vehicle speaking on a mobilephone are all the indistinguishable part of the life here.
Apart from such deadly experiences, I had some really remarkable experiences too. Being a health freak, I generally prefer to walk the distance from the Infosys Campus till the highway every night. I was walking as usual when I noticed an auto driver asking me to board. The auto was all empty. Initially I ignored but later was shocked with amazement when I heard him saying that he would not take money from me. I was pleased but still I refused. But he insisted! And I boarded the auto. That was really very good experience of the localites here.
Life is an amulgam of the good and the bad. Whereever you go you experience the jist of it. But the good things prevail.