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The auto universe

Ever since the introduction of autorickhaws in Bengaluru, these ubiquitous three-wheelers have become a public favourite. Google tells me that there are more than 3 lakh autos in the city.

When the autorickshaws started plying in 1959, the citizens of then Bangalore felt elated by the new mode of transport, which could accommodate three passengers at a time. In the beginning petrol-driven autos arrived followed by those running on diesel and later LPG. As regards the behaviour of auto drivers, some are very polite, and some arrogant; yet another category is very cordial and courteous to the aged.

In recent times, we saw the entry of women drivers. No doubt, a welcome change.

I have had several bad and interesting experiences during auto rides . On a Sunday morning, I wanted to go to N.R. Colony to meet my cousin who had just recovered from an illness. As usual, I stood near my house looking for an auto. While one passed me, the driver told me to wait and after some time, promptly came back to pick me. I got into it and reached my destination in hardly 10 minutes. When I was about to give the fare, he started telling me, “Sir, I have a son and a daughter studying in college. I have to pay college fees.” He pulled out a bundle of notes from his pocket, to impress me about his need for more money. I gave him the minimum fare and an additional ₹200. I asked his name and noted down the auto number just for records. I didn’t disclose this incident to anybody.

A couple of days later, my wife hired an auto to visit somebody in Chamarajpet. The driver readily obliged to take her to the destination. But, on the way, near Uma Talkies on B.T. Road, a traffic policeman stopped the auto and asked the driver, “Why are you not wearing the uniform?” Somehow, for his luck, the signal turned to green, and the auto zoomed away. The driver told my wife that his son was in need of money to pay the college fees. My wife, after a patient hearing, paid the fare. But the nagging driver pestered her to help him. My wife excused herself saying, “You come to my house with the ID card of your son. Promptly, the next day the driver arrived and stood before us. As soon as he saw me, he started behaving like a stranger. I recognised him and asked him, “Are you not the driver who took me to N.R. Colony recently.” He was stunned. His modus operandi was exposed. He gave evasive answers for not showing the ID card. On humanitarian grounds, we gave him ₹200.

An auto once came very near to the kerb of the footpath, and the driver started a conversation. “Hello, are you not my classmate? Get in, I will drop you near your house.” He did so. But after parting with ₹200, I realised I was fooled.

Fellow citizens, don’t fall prey to the tricks of such drivers.

knsubbarao@yahoo.com


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:04:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-auto-universe/article34515260.ece

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