Lords of the Land: Pune’s Rickshaw Walas

Autorickshaw In Pune

If you are a rickshaw wala – say you’ve been forced into this profession by financial emergencies or it’s a part-time job perhaps? – I hope you don’t belong to the Lordly species of this genus. In all reality, one of the most pressing demands of your life in Pune can be adjusting and immunizing yourself against the tyranny of the Rickshaw Lords.

Rickshaw Wala Trivia: Six Things You Must Know

#1. Always carry change.
There is no way you can escape from producing the fare in absolute precision, down to the last fifty paisa of your say, Rs 23.50 fare. But on a role reversal, you will most likely be subjected to a ‘kya do rupai ke liye jhik jhik kar rahe ho madam‘. (Read: The skies won’t fall if you pay me an extra two rupees.)

#2. Know your routes well.
Of course there are – what’s the word – honest rickshaw walas, but being too gullible is asking for trouble. Many of them are habituated into taking twisty turns and unnecessary longer diversions. If you don’t want the meter to explode, get your road directions in tune.

Danger Signals:
“Oh but that’s a one way Madam!’
“This is a short cut… there’s too much traffic where you say”.
“Why would I take a long route anyway?” (with an insulted expression)

#3. Be Meter Aware
Once seated, check to see the meter is down and a proper vertical at that.
Remember:
Always calculate your own fare by taking a clear look at the meter reading. Don’t go by the rickshaw wala’s word alone and don’t have him fool you into ‘it’s twenty a kilometer Madam’ or some such nonsense. Look up the current meter rates and refuse to pay a penny more.

#4. Get over your fear of rejection
Sadly, it doesn’t matter if you are a corporate bigwig or a coaching-classes pamphlet distributor. You are as vulnerable to being refused a ride as anyone else you know. When Sir is in the mood he will say a vibrant Yes/feign a lot of thinking and utter an agitated OK. Some of the refusals are genuine: no petrol, picking up school kids, getting late for home. But for the most part it’s a big bad moody world out there and seven on ten times you may get a plain no as an answer.

#5. Don’t stand foul behaviour
If the rickshaw wala misbehaves or is too rude for comfort, do not hesitate to take action. Staying quiet would be encouragement: I shout and my passenger gives in to anything I ask for. Don’t encourage that notion.

#6. Avoid  ludicrously priced auto parks.
There exist in Pune several Insane-Rickshaw-Walas dens. Yes, insane because they actually believe a five minute ride costs eighty bucks. They will make every attempt to lure you into being robbed by claiming there’s no return traffic from *insert your destination here* or that your ideas of reasonable fare are eighteenth century. Make a face if you want and Walk Away.

For e.g.: Pune Central’s (University Road) Auto Park.

Ignore the feisty rickshaw walas lined up here. You are sure to get conveyance a little way ahead what with the E Square Cineplex being a major crowd puller.

Good luck with your auto rides and treat yourself to a fine party the day you invest in private transport.

P.S. : It could be just that my experience with rickshaw walas has been at best mixed. But what’s the deal, it’s better to be prepared nevertheless. If you land a forthright ‘honest’ kind driver, you’ve a bonus. :)

Picture Courtesy: Pune News Blog


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About Deboshree

~D.B. The one who loves to cook up abstract stories about all and sundry.

9 responses »

  1. Pingback: Marathi Matters | Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune

  2. Awesome funny post!
    And I so empathise with you on your fight against Pune’s auto wallahs! But every city I go I find it getting worse than the previous city :)

    Reply
  3. Hopped over from a common blog and glad I did!!!
    If I may take the liberty to add on:

    1. Learn to brush off foul words lip synched your way – Esp if you are the never swearing kidns and are completely left aghasted by the ‘beeps’ on TV. A bit of Auto fare around Mumbai can help u grow up!

    2. Learn the importance of visting a gym – the muscles come handy when you have to forcible sit in the autos and DEMAND to be taken to the place which u had earlier REQUESTED!

    Awesome post! :D

    Reply
    • Phew. I am glad I haven’t had to endure much abuse attack till now though I came across this gesturing shouting man only yesterday. I very politely got down right away (luckily we had been going just a minute or so)

      LOL @ ur point no. 2. Seriously, they have to take us for lunatics or complete morons the way they insist they are right and we are wrong. No wonder Pune gyms are always overflowing.

      Thanks a lot for dropping by my blog :)

      Reply
  4. Nice post. :) LOL @ point #6. One auto wala had the audacity to tell me that it was quite unbecoming of me to haggle for 20 rupees given that I worked in a posh looking building! :-S

    And you forgot one point. Deciding the multiple of fare is directly proportional to -time of the day, your gender, destination and whether you are alone or in company(applicable to women). And if it is all put together, then god help your pocket! One would rather prefer looking out for the non existent public transport system or walk it down.

    Reply
    • Hahaha. You know what, one of them was once justifying his exorbitant fare demand by claiming the destination was too deserted. When we reached there, we saw no less than a carnival crowd. When I told him as much, he complimented my ‘positive thinking’ and drove away. :|

      LOL yes I missed that. Way too much discrimination around. Indeed, the public transport (sadly scarce like you said) is a much better option if you have some bonus time at hand.

      Thanks a lot for dropping by. :)

      Reply
  5. Oh wonderful.. you are completely smitten by the city :)
    How come I never faced prob with any auto guy, in fact twice I didn’t have change and I told the autowalla keep it, just 5-7 Rs. both times they came back and paid me the balance

    Reply
    • Oh yes… smitten I sure am :)
      Wow looks like you have been lucky. Or maybe that honest species has been multiplying. Or is this area-dependent perhaps? LOL
      Thanks for dropping in. :)

      Reply

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