By Mesha Murali:
Our Delhi and NCR autowalas are known for their ‘tantrums’. Most common of these tantrums, is their unwillingness to charge their passenger as per meter. Often, I hear my friends crib about how the auto drivers are reluctant to go as per meter fares and at times ask for double the amount than the actual fare, and how they always end up bargaining with them like one would in a vegetable market. This is especially the case when you need to travel a short distance, their most common excuse being “madam wahan se savari nahi milti” (Madam, I do not get passengers from where you are headed to) or “meter kharab hai”(The meter is not working).
Second in the list of complains is the ‘face value treatment’. This is mostly experienced by people who are not local delhiites, like people from North-East and southern side of the country. They will make sure to take you though the longest route with added twists and turns, in short taking you on a ‘dilli darshan’ even without asking for it.
My experiences have been no different from my friends. The most annoying of all is when you are already running late for college and the autowala conveniently decides to stop at a CNG gas station for a fill up! Also they never seem to have change, which works in their favour especially when the passenger is in a hurry, as they tend to leave the change behind.
If you ever decide to travel from Delhi to NCR or vice versa, be ready to face the challenges. You will find it very difficult to catch hold of an auto driver who is willing to travel the distance. Even if you are lucky enough to find someone who does agree, the fare charges would probably burn a hole in your pocket.
It would however be unfair not to mention the ‘ache autowale bhaiyas’ who are all so ready to help when needed. Where some would take the pain to drop you on the other side of the road, even it implies taking a huge u-turn back; on the other hand there are those who insist on charging according to the meter even before you ask. Such autowalas certainly deserve a pat on their back.
I would like to end with a request to our autowale bhaiyas to spares us their tantrums, I am sure the answer would most probably be – “hum to aise hi hain bhaiya”.