Act: Hail an auto; Scene: I Time: Am/pm and anytime in between
The scene at 9am everyday: Boss, MG Road?
A wry smile ( like saying 'you're good, but not good enough for me,baby.' yuuuck, puke); a disgusted look; didn't-hear- you, total ignore; nonchalantly drive away; Rs 40 (it's 18 bucks from my house, goddamit)
This is only panning the myriad responses one hapless "immobile" journo faces day in and day out, even before the day's drudgery begins. And this despite putting on one's most charming smile(could give all the Miss Beautiful Smiles a run for their frigging money) and being the most polite self and putting on that most distressed damsel I'm-getting-late-for-work look. Nothing F***ING works. (sorry about the expletive, but believe me,it's much worse when you're the victim). The experience is exasperating, harrowing, agonising,torturous,(feel free to add adjs), to say the least.
The scene at 6.30 pm everyday: Ditto
The scene at 6.30 pm on a rainy day in Bangalore: Even the Gods forsake Pensioners' Paradise. Leaving the Auto Mafia to rule a waterlogged, traffic snarled, anarchical Bean-scattered Town.
Ok, am probably just another one of those daily suffering souls in this godforsaken city. But to be relegated to such dehumanised Nazi-esque treatment by sundry mercenery autowallahs? HELL. What's worse, it's like banging my head against a wall. I can continue to fume, rave, rant and scream expletives(kancha khistis galore), but even God wouldn't know how to get their stinking butts moving. You ask them if they'll take you somewhere(distance not withstanding), pat comes the nod of the head, if he's polite; others don't even bother to answer, just drive past like you didn't exist. Or you are some alien who asked for a drop to some forbidden land! Slowly, and steadily, the mercury content of blood rises till you can see the redness in the ears, nose and forehead. But alas! The autowallas are colourblind and deaf, tempered with generous laddles of shamelessness. (Guess what? I think the Gods peered in through my Venetian blinds and saw me writing this...all hell's broken loose here. They're thundering and spitting fire at me! I'm banished to Kingdom Come!)Nothing can stop me from writing this, even if it be my swansong. Ok, so where was I? Anytime of the day, come rain, come shine "One and a half saar." Or the more kinder variety: "10/20/30...arbit rupees extra madam!" (Yes, today will be one of those days.) Like just because it's the IT capital, everyone's a millionaire! S-O-B, SOB, sob ;(. Wish I were, at least a daughter/wife of one!(Envy that Malaysian journalist.) Complaint centres, letters to editors of various papers seem to be making precious little difference. And of course, the government can't be bothered. Though, must appreciate the effort of police near the Commercial Street Junction. Does help, sometimes.
In a city whose public transport also offers F*All, what do commuters have to rely on? The Auto mafia. Hail Auto!
So why are people still swarming this city from all other parts of the world, like this is the only land of opportunities? May be one should ask the Autowallas.
Sad to say, the city wasn't built to tackle a techboom...it was meant to be a Pensioner's Paradise.
Advice for wannabes shifting base to Bangalore:
1. Make sure you own a two-wheeler or four wheeler.
If you don't, please, oh please:
1. Consult Autorikshaw Association of Bangalore before choosing a flat/house.
2. Consult Autorikshaw Association of Bangalore before choosing your place of work.
Only if they approve both localities, make all other necessary arrangements. So best of luck! For those of us who are bitten by yet smitten with this GFC(godforsaken city, duh!), we'll wait for some good Samaritans to salvage us from this seemingly irrevocable plight.