“Where is the seat belt?” I asked my 15 year old nephew. He stared at me and said, “Mausi, this is an auto, no seat belts!”
The speed at which the auto driver was racing, I felt like I was on a racing track in a high speed BMW! It is not like I do not travel in auto rickshaws. In fact it is really convenient to travel in an auto especially in Mumbai. Having spent more than two decades in this city, autos and their speed were quite known to me.
But in the last couple of years I couldn’t make time to visit Mumbai and I had very comfortably settled in ‘Nanna Ooru…Bengaluru..’ a slow paced city where people are never in a hurry. I too had entered the same mode and was quite peaceful.
Yesterday when I stepped in Mumbai ?I could feel the adrenalin rush, as I observed that everyone was in a hurry. To go where? To do what? I don’t know!
“Jaldi de do…Jaldi karo…jaldi jaana hai” is the motto. Well, let me get back to my jaldi auto ride…
I held the side railing of the auto hoping we won’t crash into some vehicle before we reached the mall. The auto driver finally dropped us right in front of the mall. I heaved a big sigh of relief and handed him the fare silently sending a prayer to the Almighty for my safe exit from the auto!
The return journey was something I was dreading already! That turned out equally scary with me screaming when the auto driver scraped past a BEST local bus that was coming in full speed from the right. I thought this was it! But the auto sped past safely! Funniest part is my nephew sat through the scrape watching me and saying, “Mausi, don’t worry, this happens everyday. Nothing will happen, you relax.”
How could I? What was the hurry? I gave the driver a piece of my mind. I am not even sure he heard me. I have all the time in the world… I wanted to say this to him. But then, I shrugged and settled in my seat. Staying away from this city had made me timid I guess. I had earlier traveled in these autos even when I had been nine months pregnant…
I do travel occasionally in autos in Bengaluru too… But as I mentioned, life is too cool there and everyone has time.
I was not sure I should share this incident with my hubby as the first thing he would say is, “Why didn’t you hire a cab?” I could, but it was a short distance that I was travelling and no cab driver would agree to come.
I had to be mentally prepared and stronger to brave these auto rides. I decided I will try convincing the drivers to drive slowly and tell them that I was not in a hurry to reach the destination. Back of my mind I knew it was not happening and I would have to brave through the heavily crowded streets of Mumbai…in an auto jostling its way through the unimaginable spate of vehicles.
I like Mumbai, it is the place I grew up in…yet I was already missing Bengaluru as there my heart beat was always at a normal count. Here my heart beats faster and I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride and I have no option of getting off! Not until I reach my destination!!