Friday, November 12, 2010

Auto Saga...

Auto rickshaw or auto or just rikhshaw, however you may call it, if you are in India , you would have definitely traveled by it one or the other day. About me, I was an auto addict . 1 km walk to bus stop and then wait for another bus to go to office was too much to ask from lazy me.

So when I say , I travel by auto , you might have started picturing myself coming out of my apartment waving at an autowala who would drop me to office. There would be polite conversations about weather/Good day wishes. How comfortable and easy isn't it?

But that's not true!!People who have traveled by auto in Bangalore/Pune (I haven't traveled by Auto in any other place) would know exactly what I mean. If you are lucky, you will find an autowala who is ready to go in your office route after at least 20 people who have rejected your request.

Then the autowala will start bargaining with you as if to show that the only reason why they have meters is to double/triple its amount. Once they set the amount, you stand no chance of reducing it . Also, you will be scared to let that person go thinking about more rejections .(This statement doesn't sound so stupid when you are getting late to office:) ultimately you do give in and agree to pay the amount.

Once you are inside the auto, he suddenly transforms into Michel Schumacher(I am not into F1 ,so if there is any latest addition to fastest driver list, I am totally ignorant of it). He tries to get his three wheeler even in the slightest gap other vehicles maintain. He starts shouting at every person around him but does manage to wave at fellow auto drivers.

About poor me, I will be just gazing at the meter which ticks faster than count down timer. If you think , I should let him know about meter not being accurate, think again!! He will either drop me off at the very place or start arguing with me so loudly that everyone around will start gaping at me. Also, remember, autowala's are gifted with senors which detect if you are new to the place. Other than my office route, I can never remember any route thanks to my direction sense:-(

So after all this, I manage to reach office. If its one of the good days, Mr.Autowala will take the money originally agreed upon or the huge amount showed by his meter(whichever is highest) and leave you alone. Most of the days, there will be renegotiation from his part. Reason , you may ask- Bad roads/heavy traffic/had to take U-turn/do not get any passenger in that route etc.. Again no point arguing with him. So, I pay the amount he says, go to office fuming .

You might think of me as in sane, but I do miss auto here in US. I have nothing against auto , its just the autowala:)[Hope none of the auto drivers read it, considering their unity and network , I won't be able to get any auto when I visit India this time:(

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Choti si love story

"Does it rain all the time!!?” I must be uttering these words for the zillionth time since I have moved here. It’s been more than a week and I know it DOES rain all the time.

I am a nature lover, I love to see rain drops from window and all that but it is a pain if you have to change two buses to reach office in this weather.

I need to carry a rain jacket (whenever I carry it, rain miraculously decides to cancel its visit!), a winter jacket (yes! it is cold as well) and a software engineer’s janmon- ka- sathi the laptop bag. To add to my misery, I need to board my bus at 7:15 in the morning which I do manage by running from my place to bus stop. I am not complaining or anything; this at least gives me some sort of work out.

When I finally manage to reach the bus stop and driver opens the bus door and says "good morning" , Instead of greeting him back , I am busy searching for my bus pass . This is not an easy task, different things come out of my bag as if it is an unlimited storage space except the bus pass. Apple which I was supposed to eat the previous day for breakfast, water bottle, muffler, cap, charger, previous day's bus last before the person behind me faints of cold, I manage to get the pass out, take a new resolution to arrange everything in order that very evening and take my seat.

Now, about why I am explaining my not so interesting "boarding the bus" story is, here is where I meet lead characters of my story “Choti si Love story”. Now don’t think about that dumb movie in which Manisha Koirala acted and claimed that it was not her. I call this choti si, for two reason ; one ,because the heroine is 14 years old and hero is 19(claims to be) and another being I get to hear it only for 10 minutes or so every day. Please do not think of me as an eves dropper. It is not easy to ignore when someone sitting in front of you talks to someone sitting behind you without even noticing a sleepy eyed/slightly (!) overweight lady in between.
Anyways, getting back to the story, I see this girl “H” everyday in the bus; she gets in a few stops after mine and gets down at her school. She takes a seat behind me most of the time and usually wears thick sweater (you will know the significance of this sweater later on!).

The hero “M” boards the bus at the my stop .For the initial few days started looking at “H” by turning around every now and then (Perfect situation for a song ). Then, “M” comes up with a new plan, he keeps his bag in the seat next to him and removes it only at H’s stop. To his disappointment, she never took that seat (Ladki ka nakhra).

At last, god listened to M’s prayers on Monday when the bus was almost full. H had to sit next to M . M started the conversation and the topic ranged from age, how boring it is to be teenagers ( Ya right! Here we are hoping to remain young), how cool it is to be working and earning etc etc. Just when I thought they would be happy ever after, a third person comes. Let’s call him K (for kabaab mein haddi) , he starts giving gyan to them about difficulties of being a 21 year old.

So M and H keep quiet and listen to him for rest of the journey. Next day , H boards the bus and comes and sits next to M . She was wearing sleeveless shirt(it was at least 50 deg F outside no more poor sweater and a song sequence from me” Sajna hai mujhe ….”) , they start discussing about how uncool twilight series is, how hard it is to be a teenager(looks like this is their favorite topic) by then Mr.K disturbs them again and journey ends .

3rd day, H dressed stunningly sits next to M and learning from their mistake in the earlier cases , exchange their Facebook details before Mr K’s stop. Conversations then revolved around school/physics/mom/sis/bro and K as usual comes and joins the talks.(Perfect love triangle)

After exchanging the FB details, I see that they don’t talk much in the bus these days. They still sit next to each other (good sign), busy with their mobiles (mhh.. messaging each other may be?) . Anyways, looks like everything is going on good for the time being…About Mr.K , he has started disturbing one more lady who has two kids. About me, I still sit in my usual place try not to listen to anyone so that I don’t end up writing their story.