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Thursday, October 23, 2003

The trouble with trying to get accustomed to a strange new city is that you really can't get around on your own, without being screwed by the auto wallahs. And the ploy of talking rudely, pretending to know exactly where I'm headed seems to fall flat more often than not.

Me: XYZ Chaloge bhayya?
He: Kyon nahin?
Me: Kitna loge?
He: (smiling) Jitna aap doge?
Me: Meter kaam nahin kar raha hai kya?
He: (grinning now) Uska kya bharosa?
Me: Tho kitna loge?

This is where the negotiation gets from the point of the merely absurd to the ludicrous. None of them ever condescends to look at a measly two digit figure. It's always a hundred bucks or more, depending on how far away you seem to be from your native land.

Thing is, people conveniently assume I'm from Goa of all places! Wonder if that's good or bad?

Night time is worse. Most auto wallahs don't even pretend to look for passengers! Like Shambunath told me the other day, he makes a cool 12k a month driving his auto for eight hours a day! That's more than I ever get to make even after slogging 12 hours!

But I'm not sure I want to be a happy autowallah for the rest of my life. Tempting, but I'll pass...


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