One of the strangest things happened the other day. One of my “My firsts”. I was at home in the night with my car and bike both parked at work. For someone who detests using the cell phone, my car and my bike are the only outlets for me to have any contact with the outside world. There were my most preferred (read only) modes of transportation I have ever known in my life in Bangalore. Until Recently. Until recently I found the luxury of an auto.
The auto as its called here in Bangalore is, I have figured out recently is the best mode of transportation one can use for an inter city travel. Its safer than a bike, faster than a car, simpler than a bus and definitely not as "healthy" as the bicycle (but I some how find it very funny when I hear of friend's friend's friends using bycycles to commute to work, play etc .. I dont know why… its just way too funny...). And its kinda not as expensive as one assumes it to be (or atleast I assumed it to be). I kinda feel I am the king when I am sitting in the back of an auto. I tend to put on the "The chauffer driven busy person" look which the chauffer driven motherfuckers usually tend to have. And for once I dont feel pissed I am in a traffic jam. I am in a jam alright; but I am not the one shifting gears, honking horns or clutching the clutch. And most auto guys tend to put on a conversation if you are willing to talk. There again, a choice of entertainment. If required.
I am just coming off a pretty long trip to Vizag[took off from work for one week straight and went in search of my soul like everyone who go in search of their souls... not sure where to find it though]. This trip had me taking the help of public transport mostly(unless I was made to walk, swim or climb up and down treacherous terrain). The different thing about autos there is that they have this "shared" thingi going on. You can share auto rides. So usually you will in an auto with strangers. Its kinda unbelievable how many people can fit into an auto. I have, on record, been a part of an auto journey for nearly 25 kms with 10 adults and 2 kids in the auto from beach road to Bhimulipattanam. One hell of a ride. I loved it!
The other advantages of travelling in an auto:
• Smoking is a pleasure because you are not thinking about driving along with smoking and also the ventilation is best in an auto (I must make a point here in saying that smoking is injurious to health. I am just listing the advantages of an auto, not bad habits of people. And an auto almost always has a light to offer)
• In case of an accident, the crowd usually is on our side (Its amazing how the auto drivers group together when one of them is in trouble)
• You can never be caught for drunk driving( and its fuckin 2000 bucks if you get caught drunk driving fyi)
• Parking is never a concern
• Cell phone conversations are simpler.
• If one auto has mechanical trouble, there are hazaar others around.
• Most autos have pretty actress on their walls (which is good in a sidey way. The women have to cheer up… cos I have seen autos with men on the walls as well… these are the gay driven autos I think)
May be the traffic situation in Bangalore could improve if we introduced the concept of shared autos. Anyway I see school autos loaded with kids. Hundreds of them fitted like the soap counter in a departmental store. If we can all fit into once such auto everyday and commute, then metro rail can go kiss my ass!
But for now, its sad scene(almost teary… the other day it took me over an hour and a half to get from the end of MG to touch old madras road thro indranagar… an area I have lived 3 years in and know pretty well the in-roads) on account of the metro and my "The chauffer driven busy person" look thats in fashion these days.
Shankar annange jai!!