Sunday, 22 August 2010

Meter Jam? or Please, Thank you?

The Indo German film festival gave me an opportunity to catch up on the bits and pieces of German that I knew - or so I thought. The horrific killings and lack of humanity during wars - the movie that I saw was based on the Japanese attack on a Chinese city - overshadowed my literary quest. Reaching the venue was quite an adventure though.

For a change, I left home on time. But the first obstacle delayed me by 10 min. I had to drop my mom to the bus stop and as I got into the bus to help with the bags, the driver started the bus and wouldn't stop. The reason - CCTV would capture the images of the bus stopping at unauthorized places and he would be penalized! I did not know we had progressed so much. I thought to myself - Common sense is anyday better than mindless application of technological advances. Thankfully, the bus stopped at the nearest traffic signal and I got out - was lucky that the driver opened the door at the signal; some don't.

The next obstacle was fuel - Reva was not fully charged and I had to choose between leaving the car at my friend's place and take his vehicle and taking a risk with Reva. I did not like the option of using a petrol vehicle. I could charge the car at one of the many malls that support free charging, but the nearest one was too far from Ulsoor. Got to know from Reva service center that the Reva showroom near MG Road provides charging facility. That was perfect. So, we managed to reach there by 5:45 (the movie was to start at 6:30), left the car for charging(and parking ;) ) and set out on our next mission of finding an auto to take us to Ulsoor. One, two, three.. and I stopped counting.. none of the auto drivers would want to come to Ulsoor! We ran till Brigade Junction and I decided to try one last time. I stood adamantly and asked twice. He wouldn't come. Then I said Please and it worked!! We thanked him and paid 5 Rs extra.

I do not use the auto much, but in the few instances where I have used them, I have had more positive experiences than negative ones. I remember when I had once asked an auto driver if he would charge extra and he got offended. He proudly said that 'he is not like the others' and charged the right price. There was another guy who talked at length about his agricultural struggles and why he started driving an auto and how he has finally managed to settle down. I was once coming home from the railway station and I started a conversation with the driver about what will happen to them when the Metro comes to the city. He was grateful for the empathy which resulted in not picking up a fight over the price at the end of the journey. I have even got free and partly-free rides as well. There was an instance in which I wanted to get down 100 mts before my destination since I did not have enough cash, but the driver dropped me till my destination and even asked me to 'keep coming' that way - all because he was fascinated by my folding cycle :). I was once lost in HSR layout and I asked an auto driver for directions. The driver was going the same route and he said he would 'drop me' till there, for free!

So, a little bit of empathy, a please and a thank you will get you there more easily than threatening to call the police (which I have done once and itz not fun) or swearing at them.

The recent meter jam seems like a cool campaign but I doubt if it has met with much success. No, thank you, I would stick to Please, barthira?

2 comments:

Nitin said...

:) Good one but, please and thank you haven't helped me much Lavanya. I face so many "agalla"s and most of them are when I would badly need an auto to go somewhere. So I would still go for a meter jam. I too know couple of auto drivers who are really good and understand that saying a NO is not the right thing. I would have been sad for them if it (meter jam) would have been a success. I think it is OK to punish few innocents to teach the real culprits ( I myself have been punished for no mistake of mine) ;)

Lavanya K said...

Try 'barthiya guru?'
I don't believe in your argument.. The innocents punished are not the same. Adeno gaade idyalla, '....yaardo tappige yemmege bare'.. I don't know the exact words.. And the more we marginalize them, the more hostile they become.