Autowallas and the city

Autowalla person who will break traffic rules most often, may be reason for many minor accidents which happen in the city, a part of quarrel, a person with whom everyone tries to bargain cause its primary thought that he will be demanding more. But at the same time they are ‘bhaiiya’ to everyone, they are the one who will lose their sleep in the nights, suffer from heat in summer, or cold in winters so that you should suffer that condition least. Also many a times when no one will dare to come forward like in case of accidents or to become witness in courts, they are the one who will stood by. And we have heard of many autowallas while having less income, living in slums but still have helpline in case of accidents.

Autowallas are one of the person we first meet when we visit any place. And many times they decide what we think of that city , cause we know first impression is the last impression.

This was the thought, I had in my mind long back when I went to Ludhiana in Punjab (india). I went there for winter training in second year of my engineering. It was December and obviously weather was too cold in Punjab. I reached there by 4.30 AM, was not having any idea of that place. I thought of taking a room in some hotel for 1-2 days and then search for PG for month if possible. As soon as I came out of station like every other place autowallas came to me and were asking me ‘chalo bhaiyya’, ‘kaha jana hai’ and some of them were directly taking bag from me.finally I told them that I want to rent a hotel room near by, no of rickshaw-wala reduced to half. One of them told me that I have to take cycle-rickshaw if I want to go near by place.  Generally scene is auto rickshaw-wala will ask you, “it will take too much time by cycle riksha, we will take rent as they do”. But here they themselves were asking me to take cycle rickshaw , so was first ever this type of experience.i started bargain with cycle-rikshaw-wala there for some time, finally hired one at 40 rupees.

I asked him ,”at what rent I will get a normal hotel with good facility?”

He :you will get a normal hotel room at 300-400 rupees, as rent is not problem here, but its winter so getting a room is problem

I:  why ?

He : don’t you know, Ludhiana is one of most important hub for woollen cloths

Frankly speaking I was not knowing that but still replied

I : I know that, but then you may having more hotels here right

He : then you should have more money

So I was silent for sometime. But he himself started conversation by telling me about different roads and shops on the way. Then he took me to some hotel and came inside with me. I thought may be he is having some connection with hotel manager for commission that’s why he is coming with me. Then we asked for room, manager told us that all rooms are occupied but one of the room will get vacated till 6:00 AM. And if the person is not asleep we will request him to see rrom and then you decide. I was ok with that. So we went to that room and luckily the person inside wasn’t asleep so I checked that room, hardly bed was fitted inside it, had to use attach bathroom which was also not in good condition. But still I asked him about rent , he told me  600 rupees, before i could reply something rikshawala with me replied me in mix Punjabi+hindi , “I know rooms are not available but still you are asking for too much”. Hotel manager was not in mood to decrease his price for the room so we left the hotel. When we came outside rikshawala took my luggage put that in it and said, “lets go to another one’. Frankly speeking I had just asked him to take me to some hotel while hiring him.


Then we went to another hotel where he replied that he don’t have any room empty but his brother also has a new hotel where we will find a room. So we went to that hotel- ‘hotel satguru’. It was at a bit longer distance from the hotel we had enquired in. Rooms were available there so finally I took a room there. I had my luggage in riksha so after taking keys from manager I went to riksha to take my luggage. There I paid him 40 rupees, I was expecting he will say ‘pay more’ or something. But he said nothing. So asked him,”I had asked you to leave me to any hotel but you came with me till I dont finalise a room and hadn’t even asked for more money, why it is so?” he replied,”you are new to my city, if these people had looted you, you may had wrong thoughts about my city.” There was proud feelings in his eyes and words were strong when he said my city. I was really happy with his answer and paid him more money. I was replying that he had not done that for money, but I insisted so finally he agreed. Before leaving he told me to take share-autos in two steps to save money and explained the rout.

I took some rest for half an hour , then had bath. Then left for company. I took a share auto from hotel to one stop rikshwala told me. I asked for rent he replied 10 rupees.  Everyone was getting ready at that time and was going to office, schools , colleges. That was really a good morning in Punjab. I was so busy observing Punjabi girls that I didn’t know when my stop came. Autowala told me that this is your stop , so unboard the auto and while paying him asked from where I will get auto for MIDC, so he asked me where I wanted to go. I told him MIDC only, so he told me I am going in same direction. Come with me. I again boarded that auto, then he left me at one stop and asked me to take cycle riksha to the company. I was forwarding him a 10 more rupees, without knowing the rent till that stop. But he himself told me that I wold have taken 10 rupees from you if you had asked me for this stop too, so need of that.

I was really amazed with this kind of behavior from autowallas there in Ludhiana. Training place was not very good, guides were just for namesake, and living was problem, had no good hotel nearby. So I finally left Ludhiana within 2 days without completing the training. But still when I think of that city I have a positive view about city and the people there. Also it was well managed one.



Then I started thinking on this topic. When someone comes to my village, which is taluka place now for namesake (Sengaon Dist.hingoli) most of the times they wont find a rickshaw so they will complain that  your village don’t even have basic facilities. How its taluka place anyway. But if you are lucky sometimes you will find rickshaw, and even if you tell him the name of a person he will take you there without further asking for address cause here in village most people knows about most of others. So you get to know that people still have some kind of bond with each other.

When you go to Kota, Rajasthan and hire a auto, first thing you will notice that he will ask for much higher price if you are going to Vigyan nagar or talwandi area. Also he will support this price decision by telling you distance in kilometers. So this easily shows that people there will loot you if you are going for education purpose and they clearly know parents are ready spend any amount for under the banner ‘education of child’. Also you get to know that people there are smart and use various terms for marketing purpose. When you are going for class and are late, even share autos who ask for 5 rupees from normal person to go from Vigyan nagar to IL square will ask for 20 or 30 rupees if he see you running and notice that you are late. So clearly indicates people are opportunistic.

When you go to Darephal , again very small village in parbhani district having around 100 houses may be. Bus will leave you on road form where the village is around 2.5 km. Obviously for this very small village they cant have auto cause from any bus hardly one person will stop there. So running auto rickshaw for one person will be costly. So there they have turned bikes into passenger vehicle. This clearly indicates never dying attitude of people there, where generally people from villages and talukas are moving to districts , from districts and towns to metro cities saying there aren’t enough facility, people here are doing creating work without complaining and no one is sad about ignorance of government towards village, I hope it exists on government register.

When you go to Jamshedpur in Jharkhand district, you may ask for auto for first time and pay him just like other cities. But you will come to know about share autos immediately once you start living there for sometime. Share autos there are really cheap , you can go from any point in city to another in 5 to 12 rupees ( 1 year back ), you will find another auto coming , as soon as first one leaves. This shows that if you want comfortable life it’s a option available, but this city knows how to save money, this city knows to co-operate, life here is real fast and it never stops.

Right now I can recollect these cities matching with behavior of rickshaw-wala there, if you can tell us about any of similar stories of correct above one, we will be real happy.

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