“Tamil Naatlayae Scootyku driver vecha mudhal aalu neenaa thaan iruppae.. “
This was directed at me by one of my friends. Wherever I go (ok exaggerated: during Ethiraj, ICWA and BIM days wonli), I’ve always been blessed with some friend who had a Scooty, that too a silver colour one. But that is no more the case. If things are on my favour, I will find a known-auto driver asking me only for the usual amount I pay, else I will begin the day by bargaining (fighting) with them. I don’t mind (I actually do: 40rs is the right charge) giving the usual fifty rupees for a four km travel but I get on to my nerves when they ask for more (manasaatchiye illama!!!).
Not knowing to ride a two wheeler (that translates to Scooty) is a lot more than a curse. That too in a city like Chennai where we don’t have the luxury of ‘ladies only’ buses and auto drivers assuming things like any lady who wants to use an auto must be the daughter of Ambani. I learnt to drive a car and I somehow managed to get a license too. But thats about it. I have no permission at home to drive the car and my dream of buying one on my own is also not happening since I will anyways not be allowed to touch it even if I buy one (all this after exhibiting my poor driving skills in my uncle’s car!! Opportunity once lost is lost forever!). So I’m only left with fighting with the unscrupulous auto drivers every day.
But it was only yesterday when I really felt bad for not knowing how to ride a bike. My friend Abi invited me to see her one year old Siddharth dressed in a Veshti for the festival and said she will drop me back home too. But she was getting too busy preparing snacks and dressing up her kid and it was embarassing for me to tell her that it was getting late for me. I had no option but to tell her that I have to go since it was already 7.15 and I got more than 5-6 calls from mom and dad. I was almost on tears when my dad was sounded angry over the phone and got down quickly to ‘catch’ an auto. The usual charge from RA Puram to my place is 70-80 Rs and since I was in a hurry, I was prepared to pay even 100.
It wasn’t all that easy as I expected. Going out alone is something that I hate the most, even if it is a place nearby. None of the auto drivers were willing to come to Pudupet and they just drove away when they heard the name (were they scared😉 I will be glad if they did). I was stranded for almost 15-20 mins which seemed like an era for me. Every passing minute was scary and it was getting scarier as I was not finding a way to get back home on time. Adding to my misery were the constant phone calls from home.
There was finally an auto driver who agreed to drop me in my place for Rs 120!! Damn, that was more than the second class ticket price of Vaigai express from Chennai to Trichy! I bargained for 100, he was not willing and I had no choice. I somehow reached home at 8.10pm and while nearing the house, that moron asked me for an extra ten bucks! I paid no heed and just walked away blaming myself for being like this!
Despite all this, I seriously don’t see myself riding a bike at any time in the future. While I was learning to drive a car in the BHEL campus, I took both my hands off the steering when I was scared that the teacher would scold me. Imagine me doing the same with a bike.
I can stop with dreaming about riding a sports bike. *Sighs*