A Terse Session with an Auto Driver

We all know very well about brash auto drivers who want to have things their way, but have you heard of the brash passenger who wanted to have his way?

A friend and I were looking to catch a rick on the way home from Forum today evening. We were subject to the usual troubles of these auto drivers who love to have their own way. So this driver stops by and we tell him where we wanted to go, and he starts the usual story – “Rs.10 extra…” Now, we all know there are plenty of rickshaws waiting around Forum mall and we did not have to care much for this guy. Besides, I almost never agree to pay more anyway. I refused to oblige and let told him to move on. But it looks like he needed us more than we needed him; he immediately turned on the meter and agreed to come without the extra he wanted to charge. But he was not ready for what was coming. I calmly said that I will give him Rs.10 less and he can come if he likes to! He was caught totally off guard first, took a few seconds to recover and then started to talk louder. I just shrugged, waved at him to move on, and without giving him a chance to build an argument, took the next rickshaw available. We laughed and laughed all the way home talking about the dumbfounded auto-walla!

7 Comments so far

  1. rubic_cube (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 11:40 am

    Getting even, eh!? Am sure he would not have expected it… Wow!

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    Don’t get me wrong but after experiencing the aggressive, rude, overbearing autodrivers of Chennai, it’s nothing dealing with their brethren in Bangalore. Sure, some of them here try to get opportunistic here but the majority are reasonable, putting on the meter & returning even a buck or two, without hesitation. Do consider also that theirs is a tough life. If on an average, they take home 300 bucks a day, they consider themselves fortunate. Laughing at his behaviour might be mistaken to belittling his profession, which is not a nice thing. Dignity, not money, above all, is a precious thing!

  3. Arun (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

    Ravi, talking about belittling his profession, I am afraid you might have tried to read too much where not much really is there to read.

    It is just a person who is trying to take advantage of me, and I returned him his own gesture. It wouldn’t matter to me if the guy is an auto driver or some top executive.

    I aprreciate your concern for them though, but we are probably a bit out of context on that.

  4. Ravi (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. Cheers, Ravi

  5. anita (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

    ravi: i’d like to add that you can’t really compare them to another city and excuse their behaviour. i have come across several auto drivers who literally screw up their nose when you tell them where you want to go. i have had one coming to a stand-still at the middle of a crossroad and refusing to go further because my house is about 7 minutes from the main road. what i don’t like is the fact that they do not think twice about asking for double the amount even at 8 pm in the evening, which is relatively early. i usually give them an extra ten when they don’t complain, even when they don’t ask for it. but when they get rude and overbearing, that’s when i think it’s not acceptable. at the end of the day, they’re also a service provider irrespective of how much they earn. that unfortunately is a doing of the economic structure and how division of labour works but is no excuse for the fleece ’em (and not wanting to go anywhere even in broad daylight) attitude.

  6. rubic_cube (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

    All of them should learn professionalism from Mumbai’s Rickshaw-wallahs! Even in the dead of the night, there would be no overcharging. Nearly no one screws up their face when we tell them where we want to go, there are some that do it if it is not in the direction that they are headed. This is possible if a Rick travels from Jayanagar base to Mathikere and has to return to Jayanagar base. There is some funda like that. Ricks from a certain area cannot operate regularly in another area. Some “ilaaka” kind of concept. I did hear this from a Rick guy taking me from Mumbai Airport to Mulund and he had to go back to Goregoan without any passenger until atleast Kanjur or Powai.

  7. Jace (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    That was very rude on your part, Arun.

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