Sunday, January 31, 2010

and some dream of flying

My last post had me taking the Lord’s name in vain a lot. This post is about how some people in particular have me calling and invoking His mighty name rather in desperation. Autorickshaw drivers. If they aren’t driving like they’ve been possessed by the ghost of Evel Knievel, they’re acting like they’re possessed by the ghost of a 12th century tax collector (over-charge till it hurts is our motto!)

Some of them BELIEVE with all the sincerity of their well-greased hearts that they HAVE to speed over every gutter, hump and what-have-you on the road. They simply have to zoom dangerously across curves and bends, and swerve narrowly missing (and sometimes not missing) everything in sight. Oooh the adrenaline rush it must give them! Well, one man’s adrenaline rush is another’s piety surge. (Dear God, I have a presentation next week, I don’t want to die today. And yes. I do have my priorities sorted out) Along with all this, some of them are adventurous enough to make CONVERSATION and they turn around to do so. “I know you’re scared, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Cos now I’m going to turn around, like take my eyes off the road, and ask you where you’re from or some irrelevant question. And I know you’ll answer cos you’re terrified and you’re anxious for me to get my attention back to the road.” It brings out a whole new meaning to being made to talk AND it makes the Joker look like a straightforward guy in comparison. Obviously you’ll invoke the divine name here!

These people do bring a whole new meaning to auto racing.

And if it happens to be those horrid, bumpy things that are the autorickshaw equivalent to monster trucks, it’s an assault on every part of your anatomy. Cos then you have speed and you brute strength. And both of that together is HARDLY good news. One hand you’re desperately trying not to end up on the road, and on the other hand you’re just desperately trying not to end up on the road. Right then, gravity is one mean bitch, if you know what I mean! Making you go, “Good God! What is this?”

Then there are those who talk to you in English. If you think that linguistic skills come at no extra cost, you are mistaken. They charge a frikkin premium that can put the business class to shame. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, some of them are convinced that they are the light, and offer you advice and friendship. If they do, you’re screwed. You’re screwed anyway, so why should an auto ride be any different. In addition to being at their mercy, you are also responsible for every traffic jam, every gutter and every railway block. So… Yup. Screwed again. And thus, when you take your wallet and shell out twice the fare, you can’t help but ask, “Why god, WHY?”

But let’s not get all general and stereotypical here. Some of them take so much pride in their ride that they get the whole vehicle upholstered that at 9 pm after a long day at work, it’s a veritable chariot just because you can lean back and rest your head, without your neck testing its obtuse angle abilities. And that my friends, is God’s divine mercy in itself. Quite the moment when anyone would say, “Thank God”!


Sharath Kumar R said...

Funny thing is - I do really miss Kerala Auto rides ... After all - it's been like a year since my last one !!!

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn ... I miss India !!!


Everyone fastens where there is gain.........................................