So much of my life is spent in auto-rickshaws that I figure I must have some stories to tell. Of course, being more of a homebody, I don’t travel quite as much as most other people—such as people with full-time jobs—but yes, any trip outside the house usually ends up involving an auto.
And yes, I have stories.
In March this year, after a meeting of our kiddy writers’ coven in Bangalore, I stood at a bus stop outside Chinnaswamy Stadium weighing my options: take a bus and save a bomb or splurge on an auto. That was when I realized that someone was close behind me and I turned to find a young woman looking about as uncertain as I felt. When I caught her eye, she said, “Do you know which bus goes to Forum?”
It took me by surprise because that’s around where I was headed too. “Not really,” I said, “but I’m trying to figure out the same thing myself.” And then, without thinking, I asked: “Do you want to share an auto?”
“I wouldn’t mind,” she said. Then, “Where are you going?”
“Oh, I’m going there too. Near Greenview Hospital.”
Around that time, I was already kicking myself. And kicking myself for kicking myself. One part of me, the cynical one, was thinking, This is a little suspicious. What if this is one of those con artists you hear about? The other one part of me was shaking its head at myself: Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Unable to figure out how to extricate myself from the situation and not sure if I wanted to, we soon found ourselves in an auto, headed to HSR Layout. The cynic in me was thinking: So, is this where she whips out her knife/gun/sharp object and asks me hand over my cash? The faith-in-humanity part of me went, What a sad, sad world that makes me think this way.
Anyhow, to cut a long, hot ride short, I reached home unscathed, my faith in humanity in tact, and my cynic with its tail between its legs. For some reason, we also exchanged phone numbers (why do strangers do that these days?) when we parted. I forgot her name, so I have her down as Auto Friend.
Photo credit: Auto Rickshaw by kevin_sanjuanislands, on Flickr
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