Me : My Booking Number is 2345 I have booked a Cab for 9 A.M, its already 9:00 where is the Cab??
Call Center Executive (female) : Oru Nimisham
2 mins hold
Call Center Executive (Male): Madam Driver is on the way
Me : But I want it at 9:00 I have a meeting to attend
Call Center Executive (Male): Some Gibberish
Me : Please Speak in English
Call Center Executive (Male): Madam Taxi not available, Taxi at 10 :00 A.M
Me: But I BOOKED LAST NIGHT (yes I shouted)
Call Center Executive (Male): Gibberish again
2 mins hold
Me : What are you doing its 9:10 already
Call Center Executive (Male): Madam driver on the way
Not so long ago in Suburbs of Chennai...
I waived my hand to stop the speeding Auto-rickshaw,to take a ride back home. The black and Yellow Auto (as it is popularly called) came to halt few meters before me.A well built Auto walla peered and said something in Tamil, I guessed he must have said "where" so I told my destination which is not even two kms from where I was standing .
Yes I could have walked!- had that 1Kms stretch near my house would not be deserted and pitch dark and unsafe
There!! I heard him say- unabashed !! "80 Rs Madam!! 80 Rs?? for two Kms?? I must have heard it all wrong!! I confirmed..."80?? or 40??" He gave me a strange look - A look you want to give to a retard, chuckled and left
Later I heard that Autowalla has been admitted in hospital due to shock he got after hearing the number 40 Some people say he took it as an insult and went into depression!
Next Auto came, I told my location and got100 this time "100??" I exasperated... "but the earlier Auto said 80!"
"OK Madam!! OK 80!!"
And 80 it was! I sat for the first time on shaky spirally rollar-coastery ride on wrong side of the road. for 40 Rs/Km (Wow!). I saw a meter inside !! Question : What is that meter doing in the auto??
Since then I kept paying 80 without revolt! I have accepted the inevitable, 80 then became 90 and then 100 in no time. Sometime 20-30 Rs extra for traffic as well!! Question : What is that meter doing in the auto??
How was I to know that worse is yet to come!
And one unfaithful day it happened!! I shifted to another office location -11 Kms far from my house!!. I did my Unitary method calculations and got unbelievably high numbers. Auto commute can end up sucking my whole salary!!
An 'expert auto traveler' gave me a sense of relief - "don't worry about long distance travel, its not that much. Like for short distance minimum is 50 for long distance it is 150 to 200!" To put it simply in his words - 'What they see is 50 what they can't is 200'
Question : What is that meter doing in the auto??
I braced myself for new battle! the 'expert auto traveler' was correct, Auto walas always quoted something between 150-200 !, I tried negotiating several time but in vain! However what that 'expert auto traveler' did not tell me that - Auto-wala may just abandon me on that 1 Km eerie road and ask for more money in order to drop me home!! Tired of extortion I decided to switch
I switched to Cab Services!! 100 Rs for 1st 4 kms and 13 Rs/ Km there after. Cab runs on meter!!
Not bad! cheap and convenient AC transport. Enough of cluttering of Auto and 'heart in mouth' travel experience , Now I will travel in peace- well that is what I thought.
I booked a cab from my house to office at 9:00. Boy I was in for some surprise! 9:15 already and nobody came!!! The driver called me at 8:45 and told me that he will be there at 9:00 its 9:15 and he is still not here.. I called him several times and got busy tone. Finally by 9:25 he reached. He was apologetic, spoke English and drove safe and best of all- I saved myself from negotiation slugfest. Anybody can be late! I did not bother
I swear late coming of Cabs (15-20 mins) did not deter me day one, or two , or three.. I accepted it just like I accepted irrational auto fares!! but then they pushed me too far - frequent 2 hours delay!
Also banging phones on my face is not what I was in for!!
Back in Present Time....
Familiar interiors!!..it has nothing but images- 2 of God, 3 of a Tamil Politician (different Avatar) and one in the corner of a Tamil film actor. The incense stick was burning in front of the politician.
As the Auto sped past all the vehicles, breaking all traffic rules, on footpath! I looked at the broken meter, I thought it smirked!After all its non-existence won! I sighed,once again I have accepted the inevitable! Defeated I put on my ipod and acted as if nothing ever happened
It was always like this and will always be