About Me

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Autodrivers of Bangalore - First half of the Journey

The predicament began in early 2003. Having spent 2 decades in Bangalore and having graduated from here, the grass didn’t really look greener on the other side. Add to it, I had mooed away from many a bovine tendency and grass didn’t mean the same thing to me as it did to the fauna of Serengeti or the sadhus of Varanasi.

What I had looked forward to, after graduation, was a pleasant life centered around Bangalore, run for mayor by the time I’m 30, win by 35 and start making my quick-buck. By then I was sure “Greasing of the palms” would have received a small-scale industry status and being a fledgling industry, atleast legally, would be entitled to a tax break. A couple of wives to go with – belonging to the neighbors, frequent presence in the crime beat of the city and life would be set.

With such long-term plans for a stay in Bangalore made, I decided it was time to head to a better way of traveling within the city. For years it was my legs that served as the mode of transport. And when faced with stray mongrels, they doubled up as a mode of communication too. The rear of many a mongrel did meet my feet. But with the advent of the mid-school-life crisis (8th standard as I refer to it), there was a strong need to match the classmates. Peer pressure came in easy-to-use packages even in those days and were available in all classes, near the canteen, at the playground and in the Monday morning assembly. Convenient! I had to get a cycle. Soon!

One fine day, well ahead of the Christmas holidays I did get my cycle. Folks at home had surprised me with a Hero Ranger – one of those rugged ATB (“Any Time Bxxxx” is what my friends told me) thingies that would ensure looks from St. Francis Xavier’s Girls High (7th standards). From being foot-soldier I had progressed to the next best thing on wheels at that age.

By engineering I had learnt how to flashbus-pass while holding onto dear life on the footboard. Many a bus-stop did I see in those years and many a girl did I observe being picked up by men on bikes. The heart craved for one (A bike I mean, girls weren’t priority then and seem to be out-of-syllabus now). 4 years of journeying by bus and I had decided the first salary would go for the down-payment of a bike. The Little Sisters of Charity would have to wait a little longer.

So far so good! Plans were clear-cut and had there been quick access to a computer I could have even given my reasons to the Little Sisters, in ppt format.

However, the clichéd twist-in-story wasn’t far off. Separation from the city emerged within a couple of months after college. Wanderlust set in on its own accord and there was no stopping him. From Bangalore to Mangalore on the west coast; from the west coast to the east coast to adorn Bhubaneshwar and then the plains of the north at Lucknow. My constant companions through all these cities were the urge for a bike and the inability at remembering if Chhak or Chowk was how they referred to a traffic junction in that city. Visits to Bangalore were getting shorter and when in the city I needed a quicker mode of transport than feet or buses. Averaging out the two-wheel drives I wanted and the four-wheeled vehicles of the more fat-walleted, I arrived at the three-wheeled autorickshaw.

Talk about digressing from a topic. Reminds me of a professor who went onto explain why windows shudder when planes fly-by. If memory serves right, it was debit-credit and a P & L statement that he wanted to talk about.

The intent of this piece is to talk about the auto drivers in Bangalore – my chosen mode of transport in the past few months … and how! Heck, nothing like an overdone introduction. Sometimes the foreplay is more fun than the act I think. On that note, let me stop here… my thoughts about the Autodrivers of Bangalore (“Man-eaters of Kumaon” feeling to it heh?) in the next blog.

Khaindly waiting pliss….


Django said...

Throw the looking glass and that light in front of you ;)
Good writing bob, but I got lost somewhere when the windows began to shudder ;) maybe you should put up a sign board for me to follow ;)

Sudhindra said...

I am so disappointed. I thought you were buying an auto :D

Suri said...

Aithal Aithal.. as much as i'm not your bestest enemy, i think you're wishing too much on me.. :)
you wait.. u come here.. will take u on that auto ride.

Preeth said...

absolut fun ride. And we've not yet got to the autos yet. That was 'Suri humour' like I know it. Bring it on bro.

Suri said...

@ Preeth - Bredher.. really hoping that "suri humor" is a compliment.. :)
will post it.. gave a hint about things to come.. "foreplay may be better than the act".. :)

Varun said...

When is the part 2 of Autodrivers coming..???


Anonymous said...

The real estate is one sector that features as one of the most badly hit sectors following the global economic meltdown. Especially in developing countries like India, where real estate was going great guns, so to say, faced a steep downfall following the recession and inflation. Especially in the metros and the developing cities like Bangalore, real estate suffered dearly as the demand for the residential units, though increasing became a pent up demand. The badly hit economy particularly the IT sector that has a strong foothold in Bangalore, and the high rates of interest in home loans made the demand for residential units go down or at best become a pent up demand. It is believed that once the situation stabilizes the demands would start surfacing. Another very problematic issue that the real estate dealers are facing is that patrons of the currently booked flats are not willing to pay the original price that they had agreed on but the current price that is less than the original amount owing to the current economic condition. Not only the residential units but the commercial properties like the hotels in Bangalore have also naturally seen a drop in their occupancy. The ITC hotels in Bangalore that registered the highest occupancy, as high as 83%, have been forced to cut down on their tariffs by almost 20% as the occupancy has also gone down by 20%. On the contrary, the business hotels in Bangalore are surviving the tough times as the number of business travelers has not been affected as hard as the umber of leisure hotels. The budget hotels in Bangalore have seen a hike owing to the obvious reasons.