Friday, December 17, 2010

The Commute Chronicles – part une

Lately I have been spending a lot of time on the road. Lot would be over an hour a day. Which surely isn't much by most city standards, but it's a little out of my comfort zone. And if you are curious, my comfort zone would be anywhere between 0.5-1 mile.

And since I only travel from one part of the city to just another part of the city, again like most of us; I seldom see scenes like migratory birds returning home; sweaty and muscular, leather clad cowboys getting to work at the crack of dawn, or peasant girls in their pretty peasant tops eating warm bread and stew under apple laden apple trees. Sigh!

My mode of transport is always the auto rickshaw. AKA the thuk thuk, such a cool name isn't it, love the way anthony bourdain says it, I digress. Okay so there are two kinds of autos in this part of world – share autos and non-sharing autos also known as autos. Sharing autos are shared by around 6 passengers or more to go from point A to B, they function more like tiny buses. So you got to board and get down only at fixed points. You wouldn't be able to get down at a point say say P. But if the auto driver is a good man, he would be ready to drop you at any point between A and B, of course without him having to deviate from his usual route.

The other is the non-sharing kind, also known as the monsters; where you or you and your friends hire the auto and go to a destination of your choice. Sometimes you can also ask the auto driver, again if he is a good man, to wait, as you run errands. You could of course pay him some extra bucks for his kind gesture.

But the most significant difference between a sharing and a non-sharing auto is the meter-system. Sharing ones, usually have fixed rates. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Such a tiresome phrase I know, but the temptation to use it right now far exceeded my embarrassment for having used it. And I wander again. Also, the share-auto drivers never play the i-don't-have-change game. They have a certain work ethic.

Getting back to the non-sharing kinds, in an ideal world they would run on unrigged meter systems. And not ask for ridiculous fares. And not grumble about it being too sunny or to chilly, or it being too early in the day or too late in the evening. And not mutter annoying things every 45 seconds. And not lie about not having change. And not accuse you of manipulating neighborhood names. Like I said, in an ideal world...

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