Monday, January 03, 2011

Auto-phylactic shock

I heard the soft beep of what sounded like a medical gadget through the haze that I was floating in. I was drifting between consciousness and haze. The anxious faces of my family members swam before my eyes. I tried to focus but I kept drifting back into the haze. After what seemed an eternity I drifted into consciousness again.

“Look who is back!” I heard my brother M say. I heard my mom sob. A white coated figure appeared out of nowhere, took my pulse and declared me out of danger. And that is when I realized that I was in a hospital.

“What happened” I asked groggily. “You fainted.” sniffled my mom. “Thank god it happened near your office gates or god knows what would have happened.” she sobbed.

“Could you tell us what happened?” asked the doctor.

I tried to recollect the day’s events. I remember getting into the auto to go to office. But before that I remember hailing the auto. The driver, a neatly dressed gentleman in his 50’s stopped next to me and inquired politely in chaste English, where I wanted to go. When I gave him my office address he thought for a bit and asked again, in really good English, which gate I wanted to be dropped at. After I had given him the details he asked me politely to get in. He waited till I was seated before driving off. I looked at him and felt a little troubled. As a Bangalorean, I am not used to unnatural sights like pot hole free roads, traffic rules abiding drivers, polite auto drivers etc. I was surely dreaming or had too much to drink at the New Year party.

We reached a traffic signal and the driver stopped the auto, took out English newspapers and calmly began to read the contents. Now I was sure that I had too much to drink at the New Year party and the drink was spiked by some hallucinogenic substance! Instead of cursing the red light and honking incessantly, this man was using the time to catch up on the news!

When the traffic light turned green, he folded the newspaper neatly and kept it away. This continued at all the red lights. As we sped down the fairly clear road leading to our campus, he remarked at the brief winter and the sudden change in weather to warm. I distinctly hear him say that the weather was “balmy”. I pinched myself to make sure I was not dreaming.

In between maneuvering the auto through the narrow road, he talked about the onion prices, inflation and its effects on the price index. I was very sure I was in the Twilight Zone now.

We reached the office gates and I got down. He held out his hands to warn an approaching car that I was disembarking. I got out shakily. There was no way this guy was for real. Such auto drivers do not exist even in my most improbable dreams!! I curbed an insane desire to touch and see if he was real.

The meter read 62 rupees and not 78 and 80 like in other autos. His meter was perfect to the last meter. I had 60 rupees in change and the rest of the notes in the purse were hundreds. I asked him apologetically if he change for a 100 as I had only 60 rupees in change. He politely told me that he was fine with the 60, pocketed the money… and drove away.

And that is when I fainted.


Arun said...

C'mon.. English and politeness are not the same... next time, don't faint


Back to your blog after a long time :) As usual ....masterpiece !!

Anonymous said...

@Arun, it is not the English, but the fact that he didn't insist on the Rs 2/-. Will make any Blrean swoon :-P

Harish P I said...

thank god you are alive :)

Alka Gurha said...

Autowallahas ...hmmmm. Interesting anecdote..

Rajlakshmi said...

No wonder you fainted :D

Jinguchakka said...

similar thing happened to me and I too considered it worthy enough to post. Only that I couldn't put it the way you have. Nicely written.

anne said...

this has GOT to be made up.... Polite, followed rules, and didn't fight about the fare???? i fainted after reading the post ;)
though to give them their due.. a LOT of the older autowallas in Delhi are rather sweet and don't argue about the meter fare..

Nona said...

I also fainted after reading this. :)

Unknown said...


An endagered species on the very brink of extintion.

By the way, have met one or two people like this myself, the pitiable few who still make you beleive in the good side of Auto-driver-nature.

Now the wait starts.... till you meet the next of this kind... a pretty long wait i assure u.

yamini said...

It's too good to be true. Autowallah's that polite, patient and fluent in English?
I would have fainted too. But what was it, the speeding car that you escaped after the autowallah warned, or just the fact that he was imperfect for his job and perfect otherwise?

Good post :)

Sharvani Pinge said...

Cool! Hilarious!

Grayquill said...

Hmmm...where is the thread of truth in this post? I suppose you were actually in the hospital.But the cabbie? Huh, if he is real I do hope he finds you needing a ride again sometime soon.
Good job and I am glad you are okay.

freespirit said...

I fainted after reading only...had I undergone the experience I might actually have ended up in a coma! Kudos to you for taking the shock so well! ;-)

Destiny's child... said...

In your place, I would have probably died of a massive heart attack!

Happy new year to you! :)

vanwinkle said...

english spewing,gentleman,auto driver.Pleasant though it is,this combination prompts me to ask you just one question:what were you smoking on new year's eve ?;)

Sunil J said...

How do you manage to meet such interesting people?
You probably should have given him a Rs.100 note and asked him to pick you when you went back home, but I guess you were in a shock.

Vinod Ramamoorthy said...

Ha ha .. That is a genuine reason to faint, alright :)

Good blog you've got here

silverine said...

Arun: I guess Anon cleared your doubts :)

Mystery of my spirit: Thanks buddy! and Happy New Year! Always a pleasure to see you here :)

Harish; Come of think of it, I should indeed by thankful :p

Alka: They are an interesting bunch alright :)

Rajlakshmi: hehe glad you understand :p

Jinguchakka: Thanks. Hope you post about it. Lets spread the word about the good guys :)

Anne: You are right about the older guys and also the new comers are real nice :)

Nona: lol! You are a true blue bangalorean then.

Abraham: I am not waiting :) I dont believe I will be this lucky again.

Yamini: There was an approaching car and he was sort of warning me as I was getting off the auto from the side the car was approaching :)

Sharvani: Thanks girl :)

Grayquill: Autos are a type of taxi's in India and their drivers are notorious for over charging, rude behavior, refusal to give you a ride etc. So when we encounter a good guy, it comes as a shock :)

freespirit: lol! The autowallahs sure have established their brand well!

DC: hehe! Happy New Year to you too :)

vanwinkle: You got me there :| lol!

Sunil J: It was a shock alright. I thought I was dreaming :)

Vinod: Thank you :)