If you are fortunate enough to ride in an auto in Chennai ever or just unlucky enough to google something totally irrelevant like “what happens after eating sambhar” and land here, please continue reading!
Riding autos is a feeling that is almost comparable to how Schumacher would have felt in one of those final laps. Its like playing pac-man in a lifesize canvas. Instead of eating dots / fruits, you are actually eating empty space on the canvas and instead of escaping from the worms that are trying to eat, you just escape from death like experiences.
But I had few great moments while riding autos in chennai, especially one time when the auto driver started telling me how many kids he has and how difficult it is to raise them while simultaneously paying obscenely high petrol prices is difficult only to get a reply from me that sounded like “ennakku tamil teriyadhu” which literally translates to “I am too busy listening to music to care about your rants” in English. That was fun.
Once I boarded an auto where I could pay the fare by credit card. When I asked the driver whats the matter with the card reader in my elementary tamil which went like, “indha meter enna matter?”, he gave me a wide smile, the kind my insurance agent gave me when I signed up for that “20 year low returns high premium low coverage lots of exclusions limited payment options once an year bulk payment” policy. But that is not the point. So the driver smiled till the corners of his lips are touching his ears and told me ‘how many kids he has and how difficult it is to raise them while simultaneously paying obscenely high petrol …’, but thank god, it was all a part of wicked dream where thousands of yellow colored creatures were chasing my credit card.
One time I took an auto from Koyembedu (where they have a mafia for selling bus tickets) to Thiruvanmiyur (where I generally sit on my ass while writing posts like this) after coming to Chennai from Hyderabad in a bus. We bargained the auto for half our life’s savings plus 20 rupees on meter, which came out close to Rs. 200. Somehow the driver changed his mind and offered to take us by meter charge. For once I was totally surprised and couldnt resist the offer. I wanted to see how riding an auto and paying by meter feels in chennai. Last time I felt so curious was when I shaved for first time. So I accepted the offer and literally jumped into the auto.
After riding for what seemed like 3 minutes the meter read something like this,
My number reading skills are still elementary, but I guess the fare is “eleventeen twentytwelve for 44 exclamations”, given the speed of 310 kmph I guess the fare was fair enough. I ended up paying three fourths of our life’s savings instead, after hearing to ‘how many kids he has and how difficult it is to raise them while simultaneously paying obscenely high petrol …’
The other time I was in auto which seemed to be going towards moon with escape velocity of “12 exclamations per second”, but I couldnt judge the speed with which my money was traveling away from my wallet since the meter looked like this,
but then it was too hot that day, may be the motor circuitry that measures petroleum atoms and rotates the fare indicator 48394389 times oer second doesnt work beyond 45 degrees celcius, may the auto driver is just plain normal like most of the others in chennai.
What ever is the case I have stopped taking autos soon after that incident. I have purchased a bike instead. Whats more, our life’s savings went up by eleventeen twentytwelve times in a weeks time after that. Whoa!
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