What is the most dreadful thing for you in life? Exams? Your boss? Office? Financial analysis in a spreadsheet that seems to be never ending?
For me it is the auto. Yes, the autos in Chennai are the most dreadful things in the entire world according to me. I hate them, detest them, or I simply dont have words to explain how much of abhorrence I have towards them.
Though I’ve been using the service of autos since I joined college, my recent experiences are horrifying.
I have a few ways or ‘tricks’ when it comes to catching an auto. If the auto driver doesnt agree with the fare, what you do is to look or walk back to the next one. He will automatically agree for the rates that you have mentioned. But this does not apply to those who ask exhorbitant amounts. Even if they say they are ok with the amount that you are willing to pay, they are sure to create some problems before you get down. Like when you are almost near the place, they will stop and say ‘auto pogaadhumma’ and drop somewhere. Or they will simply ask for more telling that it is very far and all those stories. The worst case is when they dont tender proper change and take the amount without your consnet.
Lesson learnt: Dont ever get into an auto who first asks for a very large amount as fare and then come down.
But due to unavaoidable circumstances, we had to take an auto from T Nagar for Rs 80, which is very very expensive. Normally the charges are only Rs50-60 from T Nagar to my place. When we were near Rajarathnam Stadium, the guy started shouting saying that it is not near Pudupet and dropped us right there. I paid him Rs 60 which is more than enough for the distance travelled and he left cursing me.
The next incident was really a horrifying one. We took an auto for Doveton and this guy asked Rs 40 and then agreed for Rs 25. I was very skeptical about that and confirmed twice before getting in. After a few seconds, he says he wants 30. I couldnt accept it because I somehow felt that he is going to ask more when we near the place and asked him to stop the vehicle. AND HE DIDNT! I was really irritated but my mom asked me to keep quiet. Thats when I saw the guy looking into the mirror and scolding me. I was so scared and luckily, the auto was near a signal and he had to stop since I shouted. We got down and waited to get another one. In the meanwhile, that autodriver came again and asked money for the distance travelled. I just couldnt accept that and I told him I cant pay since I asked him to drop us right where we started. He was not ready to go and was creating a big scene. I dont know from where on earth I got so much guts and dialed my father’s number on my phone pretending as though I was talking to a police. Only then the guy left the place, cursing me again.
These days I am not at all comfortable taking an auto especially when I’m alone. Autos are more of a necessity for a woman like me, who either do not know to ride a bike or cannot travel in a bus that is crowded.
I wish something happened about this. The police can actually come up with a helpline number or something and take a strict action about those who charge exhorbitantly. !Sighs!