Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Autoraj and Helpless Public

I coined the word Autoraj, like Gundaraj :)

So here's the story. I was riding to office at 10:30 am, a time when traffic is still dense but fairly smooth moving. Near madivala, while I am on the left-most lane, I hear lot of honking suddenly. I turn my head right and see a funny / pathetic scene. Two autos going parallel to each other, the second one just at the end of the first one...get the picture? Now the second auto wala had his leg placed on the first auto. And they both are trying to maintain that by driving slow. No, it't not like one guy is pulling the other. They are just driving in tandem. Some fun stunt for them. The entire road ahead of them is free and there is a huge traffic block in the making behind them, cause the first auto guy occupied half of the middle lane and the second guy took over the first lane. Now how would 4 wheelers go ahead. They honk and honk and nothing pinches these two ridiculous auto fellas.

Since I am on the last lane and on a 2 wheeler, I could go past. While I was riding, this thing was going on in my mind.

Come christ college....what do i see????.... Two more autos in the same stunt. I can tell that they are not the previous auto guys. No kidding! Same day, same funny incident, second time. For a moment I thought, 'is it some kinda festival for auto guys that they do this on that day'. Well, my mind is pretty wacky in imagination, so never mind. This time, their stunt was actually stopping me from moving ahead. So I went a bit near the second auto walla, honk once to get his attention, then move my hand like saying 'Wat's going on'... I can't talk from inside a helmet. This guy starts yelling at me in kannada that I couldn't get anyways. But he did act like a gunda. So I quietly took off from there.

Now tell me....WHAT CAN WE DO?

The so called traffic rules and fines...are they anywhere applicable here? Are there any cops patrolling on the roads to keep a check on such stuff? Would taking the auto number and reporting to some police actually yield any result? I guess NO. Aaarggghhh.

I don't wanna get started on their tampered meters and their whimsical charges. Will save it for some other post.

It's an Autoraj baby!


At 11/08/2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Arul Prasad said...

Autoraj, it is.

shift to somewhere else buddy -
Wanna try singapore? ;o). Sample this:

>> no autos
>> no traffic voilations
>> never seen a vehicle change lanes without indicators - Not even Buses!
>> not one honk noise I heard.

not one!

Oh, I did hear a few, when I was walking around 'Little India' the other day :P

I heard that that area is a 'heritage' spot and the police too doesn't care much.

We just prove what we are, no matter where we go.

At 11/08/2006 10:25 PM, Blogger Guharaman said...

Autogiri Vs. Bikegiri !!! :-)

Autos are becoming popular in UK as Tak Tak...

At 11/09/2006 1:59 AM, Blogger Anjali said...

They usually do that when one of the auto's engine is down. So the person behind pushes the auto in the front using his leg.

But in all this, they are driving at 10 kmph and block the whole road. The same with the buses. They would stop to get passengers on the middle of the road and dont care that the whole traffic behind is waiting for them.

You go to a govt office. There would be a huge queue, and the person at the desk would leave and go to have some tea, or would be chatting with his colleague.

Actually all this is part of the Indian Culture which we so proudly flaunt.

No Point blaming the politicians and the govt. All the people in the govt service come from the Indian public only. Same with the politicians, they do what the public wants.

At 11/13/2006 9:37 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Oh... these guys really rule the roost. no? ever come across instances when you ask these guys to take you to a particular destination and they either complain it's too far... or it's too near?

These days I just tell them to take me towards wherever they are headed.

At 11/13/2006 10:17 PM, Anonymous theanalogkid said...

>> ever come across instances when you ask these guys to take you to a particular destination and they either complain it's too far... or it's too near?

you know what we do for that?.. after the guy says "no" to some place.. we ask them if they will "go" to majestic ( or some random place ).. when he says "yes".. we ask him to "go" and move on to stop some other auto.. :)) you shud see their look..

At 11/13/2006 10:24 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

ha ha ha, thats a funny one tom :)
Lemme try next time

At 11/13/2006 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! Autos! Everybody's favorite whipping boys.

I am not defending autodrivers here. But I'd just like to bring up a point here. Most autodrivers are uneducated people trying to eke out a living in a very competitive world. Theirs is a world we cannot even begin to imagine. Most of them do not even own the rikshaws they are driving, the hire it out on backbreaking daily loans. If they miss making the payment on a day, it takes them months to come out of that debt, which just keeps piling on.

Given the world they live in it is not surprising that they care only for themselves. Life for them is a constant battle to just stay afloat.

For us it is easy to pick them out because they are in uniform. So it is easy to say "all autos drive badly" and feel bad about the entire group.

What really gets me is not bad auto drivers but bad drivers amongst us.

Most weekend drinking conversations at some point or the other turn to this topic. We are indignant about the state of traffic on the road. But look around us and we can each point to others on the table when someone drove badly. But do we condemn them? Do we nag them till they improve? We don't.

Recently I was visiting a friend and we went out to pick up some beer. This guy casually drove on the wrong side of the road to the wine shop. I sat there quietly. I did not chastise him. But this same person complains of bad road sense in Hyderabad.

Here is a person who is an Asst Manager at a BPO. His wife is a doctor. What battle does he have with life? He, if anybody, should be able to afford being nice, but he isn't.

Let's condemn such people and people like me who keep quiet when I see something like this, rather than condemn a group of people for whom life is all about now and here. Tomorrow is, for them, just a word in the dictionary.

At 11/13/2006 10:43 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

That was a very interesting and touching note Vinay. Yes I do agree that there are bad drivers among each one of us. Everyone has faulted at some point or the other. We should be poiting out those guys and tell them to drive right and tell the same to ourselves.
Regarding rikshaw guys, the fact that they are having a tough life doesn't justify their way of careless driving and unreasonable fares. There are many poor guys out there who are earning an honest living. Infact there are a few among the auto gang itself who are honest and good.
My post is also about how ineffective the traffic rules and regulations are when it comes to real roads.

At 11/14/2006 2:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tweety: I wasn't justifying their careless driving. Just saying how unfair it was to expect people living on the brink of survival to be nice when other who were much better of were not.

As to whether road rules are effective. That is a different story all together. For a rule to be effective you need people to understand the rule. From the moment we start learning to ride/drive we just do things in an ad hoc fashion. For instance how many people know that traffic inside a circle has precedence over traffic outside the circle? And if they do know the rule, do they know the logic behind it?

For driving to get better in India we first need to make people accountable. A driving school's license must come up for renewal every year and the renewal should be based on the performance of its students. The police officer issuing the license should be pulled up if a certain percentage of licenses he had issued have been pulled up for violations.

Also policemen should be made to concentrate on driving violations rather than just checking the documents of vehicles. This can be done by us keeping all our documents in order so that would force the traffic police to go after traffic violators.

At 11/14/2006 3:01 AM, Blogger Tweety said...

Its all nice in an ideal world. Are we in one?
If we start analyzing whats going wrong and where, I think we would pull a very long thread and that will get tangled again.

At 11/14/2006 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tweety: But unless we analyze and try to improve it, how will things ever change?

At 11/14/2006 10:42 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

Yes I agree. But it's not us who can do it. It's the respective authorities who are supposed to do it.
This is my way of looking at it, right or wrong - our duty is to work, earn money and give a part of it to the govt. Now govt. uses that money to hire people to take care of these things in the first place. And they are the ones who screw up all this by making mediocre rules and shoddy work.
Now if we sit and analyse and try to improve, we are doing their jobs. So when do we do our actuall duty of working, earning and paying tax?
All we can do is, inform them of the cracks in the system, sometimes they are attend to and most often neglected.
So what exactly is a solution?

At 11/14/2006 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tweety: Just one question to that, when was the last time you voted in Bangalore? Have you shifted your voter id to Bangalore?

At 11/14/2006 10:52 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

You caught me Maverick!
Yes, that is one big guilt I carry over my shoulder all the time. Whenever I sit and analyse these things (as an introspection), it ultimately boils down to this point, that I am one among the citizens who are responsible for the shit hapenning around.
Thanks for bringing that up again.
I think you/I should make a post on it and pass it around.
Infact sometime back I remember discussing with my colleagues that companies should make a rule that every employee needs to vote, just like how they make sure every employee pays tax.

At 11/14/2006 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tweety: We, the middle class in India, are a very fortunate set of people. Irrespective of which government comes to the top, it does not affect our lives. It is either the very rich or the very poor that are affected. Which is why the elections are always won by the party that corners the vote of the poor.

As for us, we just don't care. We know that none of the goverments can affect us because it would mean a huge outflow of FDI which we cannot today bear.

So when we sit and complain, we in fact have no right to do so. Because we have not used the most potent weapon in our arsenal - our vote.

As the middle class in the country grows this will have to change. Or we might find ourselves living in a world which we finance but have no say in.

In order to make a difference we need to take the initiative to become part of social organisations, welfare societies, attend meetings of our own building society, be active in the PTA at the school in which out children study.

There is so much we can do.

Life is not all about making money and going to the US.

There is a life out here. We need to meet the neighbours, talk to people and in the long run make a difference.

All this said, I myself am guilty of not doing much of this. And I intend to change that. It is one of the items on my To-Do list for the coming year.

At 11/14/2006 11:15 PM, Blogger Tweety said...

Well, there you go. All of us are guilty of that.

Coming to the point of being a part of social welfare stuff, it is something extra that one would need to do out of regular routine. I was a part of it during college, but at this point in time I am not ready to do anything extra. Yes I will do what is possible for the welfare of orphaned and disabled kids, but nothing extra for the things govt. is responsible for. It's a conscious decision I have taken. Will take it up sometime later in life. For now, may be I will put in efforts to take part in voting.

And regarding complaining - as long as I pay tax, I will complain!


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