Have you seen movies or cool shows?
Is that a yes?
Have you seen the sequence where the character
gets into a random cab/auto-rickshaw and
commands the driver to follow another vehicle?
Is that an affirmative?
Well for all of us Delhites that ain’t happening. EVER.
Why, you ask?
Let me explain.
As you all know I travel around in buses mostly. Sometimes when I feel too lazy or tired or rich I take an auto-rickshaw, more commonly know as an “auto”. The general protocol of hailing an auto is to wave your arms like the windshield wiper of a car, pray that the driver saw your moves and stops. The driver shall ask you “Where do you want to go?” and depending on his wisdom and whim he shall either let you sit or dismiss you and rattle off.
It is a lucky day if the auto driver agrees to take you to your destination.
Getting the driver to agree is Stage 1 of Mission Auto-ride. Stage 2 is the price and fare. How much are you willing to give?
7 out of 10 drivers will state a price so exorbitantly high that it makes me want to switch professions and take this job. The remaining three, I assume, are law-abiding men who charge according to the government rates. Bless these men. Now since it is most likely that you found a looting thief, you stand there and argue.
“Go according to the meter.”
“No, it’s too far away”
“It’s too cold.”
“I won’t get any passenger from there.”
“What will I earn?”
“Do you want to go or not?”
“I am an idiot who will rob you because I can sniff desperation in the air. Pay up!”
Some-days I cave in, some-days I tell them to F off. The latter is rare.
According to the law, an auto driver cannot refuse you and has to go by the meter to ANY destination you want within the city. Does this happen? Of course not!
The driver knows you want him, you know you want him and end up paying more money for the convenience. Is it their fault that you crave this luxury so much? I don’t think so. The Delhi government has a complaint cell for errant drivers. One threat of a complaint and no driver dares to cross you. Does the average citizen do this? No. Why? No one wants the hassle, that’s why. It’s a vicious cycle. The customer’s want feeds the driver’s greed.
The auto driver is aware of the fact that if you aren’t desperate enough or late enough to cough up his exaggerated price; someone else is. He knows that you neither have the time nor the inclination to register a complaint against him. He knows the customer and plays on the psyche.
Stupid me. Sometimes.
I am guilty of wasting a LOT of money only because I did not want to fight. There are many others like me. It’s the likes of us that let these people get away with their lawless, thieving and surprisingly dominating ways. It shouldn’t be so. I have promised myself that I shall not get into an auto-rickshaw till the time the meter is not on.
Needless to say, my dreams of ever chasing someone on the roads are dead for now.
This was published here!