Monday, December 11, 2006

Salpa Leftu, Salpa Rightu!!

Auto Rickshaws. How I hate them since I came to Bangalore and particularly after I bought my Apache. I didn't particularly hate them in Delhi. In spite of their demanding Rs 40 from the hostel gate to Chanakya and ultimately coming down to 20, I was OK with them. After all I didn't have much of a choice. Bangalore, though is totally different. Here's why.....

1) If you are in Koramangala, (quite a posh locality if you know Bangalore) they wont go to MG Road (the heart of Bangalore) and vice versa. Why? Hmm... my best bet so far is they don't like my face. On an average it took about six or seven attempts to get one to go from MG Road to my home in Koramangala after office and the way they refused was awesome. Some didn't even bother to reply and simply went ahead as if nothing had happened. Some stopped, looked at you and said nothing and only when you asked them the second time did they make the slightest to and fro horizontal motion of the head. Others said no with an expression in their face that would almost make you feel ashamed of wanting to go there. And the best one (this happened while house hunting); one slowed down almost to a stop, we ran after it, it picked up speed and went away. Attitude personified.

2)They start demanding night rates about an hour or more before they are supposed to and often do not come down beyond Rs 10 extra. Ask them the reason and they will say.."Sir, 10 ruphiya extra dene me kya jaatha hai ... "

3)There's no pollution control here, no CNG. Instead, all autos run on LPG emitting a lot of smoke and making a lot of noise. To add to it nobody turns off their engines at signals even when the signal has a timer attached. So for a biker (or worse a cyclist, which I was for a few days), these signals become hell.

4)And the most interesting part is their extreme unpredictability and unmatched maneuverability. On the road the only vehicle more dangerous than an Auto is an empty Auto. You never know how or when or why he is going to stop or change his speed. He may be ambling along at 30 kmph in front of you and suddenly decide to stop for no reason in particular. He may be at the extreme left of the road on a traffic signal and yet decide to take a U-Turn. He may suddenly decide to change lanes in order to get ahead by 5 meters. And if you are on a cycle or bike he pays scant regard to the fact that he may hit you while overtaking.

By the way, in case you didn't get the title, Salpa is Kannada for a little, "thoda" , and thats the way these vehicles run on the roads of Bangalore. But why bother, "Salpa adjhust madi!" (this phrase is not mine, but I liked it very much upon seeing it in an article yesterday)

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Caliguliminix said...

It is actually "swalpa" same as the sanskrit pronunciation

atish said...

hmm.. I thought that would be the case. thanks for confirming :)

akshat said...

the most irritating (scary ?) thing is that if you start arguing with any of these auto dudes, they might start yelling at you in kannad, leaving you with little choice to pay up, lest you get roughed up for being a bloody naarth indian.

the riots in bangalore after raj kumar's death and the bangalore bandh only reinforce the feeling of regionalism in these parts. i might write a post on it.

Balaji Pasupathy said...

kanada gothila ..... me reaching bengaluru on 17th afti. might storm your home directly ... send me the address ... (shud i try auto to reach koramangla ;) ??)