My joy knew no bounds today when the very first auto that I happened to flag down agreed to oblige me by taking me to my destination. I say oblige as that is what these beings who ply our taxis n autos do when they agree to take us to where we would want to go. Very often it is I who has asked them where they are headed for, and if they r passing the same way as mine, then would they please be so generous enough so as to accept me as a passenger and drop me to my destination. For which I have at times even offered to pay them a few extra bucks. And u know what? I do get lucky sometimes and the guy does oblige!
Ok. Enough of being cynical, and coming back to today’s episode, at a gas station I noticed a huge queue of autos. Being of the curious kind, I asked the auto-driver what the line was about. You know, one never knows when these guys may take it upon themselves to go on a rampage that in their lingo is known as a “strike”. But my friend here enlightened me that it was a queue to get the CNG tanks refueled. Generally I wouldn’t have given it a thought. U own a vehicle, u need to fuel it up. Simple. More so if that is your bread n butter. But, I being in good spirits today, I chatted up this guy and came back a little more enlightened.
This guy, my friend the auto-driver told me that this was the case not just at this one gas station but almost at all the major ones too. I agreed. I had seen these serpentine queues myself that at times stretched beyond a kilometer or two. He said that it took as much as 4-5 hours to reach your turn. And no one was doing a thing to change the situation. They made us shift our units into CNG ones and now refueling is a big headache. ”Shaam main dhande ke time pe paisa kamaneka ke line main khada rehne ka?” he asked me. Or should we spend the night here after a tiring day, awaiting our turns? He pointed out that since most of the autos were in queues everywhere, there were just a few plying the roads. And to top it, we have to face the abuses of the passengers we refuse to ply to far-off places or to areas we know r choc-a-bloc with traffic. “bolo, hum insaan nahi? Kya humko problems nahi? Kya sirf office main kaam karke aanewala hi thak jata hai? Ye auto chalake dekhneka kabhi. Peeth ka waat lag jata hai. Lekin aadmi pet ke liye karta hai sab.”
My destination arrived. I paid the guy his dues and came back thinking about these guys whom we so often take for granted. Whom without so much as a thought to their refusal, we chide them and curse them even. We, who quite often take their 'no' , personally, why do we forget that they have limitations too! And problems also.
Yeah, I know most of them r an unscrupulous lot but a few still have their hearts in the right place.Atleast that is what I’d like to believe. And the next time some auto-driver refuses to take me to where I want him to, I’d try and understand.