An Unusually Pleasant Auto Ride
“Bhaiya, Chattarpur Mandir”, I asked an autowala who was reading newspaper sitting inside his auto. He didn’t even care to look at me and nudged his head, signaling he won’t go. “These Delhi auto walas will never change”, I said to myself as I walked to the next auto. I asked again, “Bhaiya chaloge Chattarpur Mandir”. “Haan chalunga, par meter se 10 rupaye jyada dene padenge”, replied the autowala. “Kyon? 10 rupaye kis baat ke?”, I asked. “Nahin 10 rupaye to extra dene padenge”, continued the autowala. He couldn’t convince me why he needed 10 rupees extra. Then a young school student approached and asked if he can share the auto with me. He had to go to Chattarpur Metro station which was close to the temple. I said, “Sure”. The autowala then said, “Dono ka double meter lagega”. “Sahi he! Loot macha rakhi he! Nahin jana he tumhare saath”, I told him and walked away.
Right then, another auto reached the spot. I approached and asked him. He said, “Haan chalunga. 60 rupaye lagenge”. My friend had told me that auto fare would be about 45-50 rupees. I tried bargaining to settle for 50 rupees. He then said, “Mandir ke andar jaoge? Puja karne ja rahe ho?”. I nodded yes. He continued, “Tab to aapko free me le jaunga. Baitho andar”. “Bhaiya aise nahin hota he. Sahi batao, kitna loge?”, I asked. “Arrey bhaiya baitho. Subah subah todha punya kama lunga”, continued autowala.
The young school student, who wanted to get down at the metro station, approached again. The autowala told him, “Aap mujhe 50 rupaye de dena. Ab aap dono andar baitho.” Unconvinced I sat inside, thinking I will pay him once I reach the spot.
When we reached the metro station, my co-passenger was about to pull out his wallet to pay the autowala. I said, “Bhai, it’s okay. I will pay him. I was anyways coming this way.” However, he wanted to share the fare but he didn’t have change of 25/30 rupees. He pulled out a 50 rupee note which the autowala took saying, “yeh 50 rupaye aap mujhe de do, baki aap aapas apna hisab kar lo”. I gave the boy 30 rupees and he got off.
A few minutes later we reached the temple. As I was getting down, the autowala wanted to give me 30 rupees. I said, “Nahin, rakho aap. Mujhe free me pahuchakar aap to punya kama loge, par mujhe to paap laga doge”. He then wanted to give me 10 rupees asking me to give it in the temple. I smiled and said to him, “Me aapke naam ka bhi chadawa de dunga. Thank you. Aap se mil kar acha laga”.
This entire incident left me with a very good feeling. It is a very rare experience, especially with autowalas in Delhi.