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    I realized I could not stay away from home ( read : Mom ) on a long-term basis.

 So I came home after some sweet twist in my fairy-tale ( read : my life ). The only difference being I go to an office instead of college.

I usually commute by three-wheelers ( read : autorickshaw aka auto). Its a 13 kilometre stretch from home to office and I change autos thrice. Before you calculate how long I travel, let me tell you - a maximum of 40 minutes ( Awesome by any standards :D :P ).

My first stop is at a place 8 minutes away from my home. Auto No. 1. A two minute ride and a measly 3 bucks ( INR 3) is enough. Then comes crossing a large square. It can take upto 5 minutes to cross that damn road. Welcome to National Highway ! An added bonus, it is under expansion. So you get free pollution and dust as well. Auto No.2. It won't budge until there are 5 passengers. You might miss a meeting/appraisal/juicy gossip ( :P ), the "Auto Bhaina" does not care. A three kilometer stretch. 5 INR will get you through this. Straight into Auto No. 3. Same story. 5 passengers or else keep waiting. This is a long 7 kilometre stretch but no worry, 10 bucks are enough. Just hop on and enjoy watching the new malls, star hotels around. Come to Auto No.4. This takes you straight to the office gates. And since it is IT-area ( read : People in IT industry are glamorous with respect to traditional industries ), the minimum auto fare rises to 5 INR. Auto No. 4 has certain new rules in addition to the 5 passenger rule. If you go till office gates alone, you are charged 15 bucks. However, if there are 2 or more passengers, the charge comes down to 10 bucks. Quite similar to the algorithms IT people develop. So at the end of all this hassle you finally reach office. A 13 kilometre ride at a maximum of 33 bucks, not a bad deal.

There are options of taking  an auto on "reserve". Yours truly has learnt to bargain effectively on prices. So when they say 100, I come down to 70 and stick to it. You are at office in flat 25 minutes. Awesome, ain't it ?

The coming back journey is almost the same, except for the dazzling lights of the roads. It looks gorgeous. Before getting on Auto No.4, there is a bargain game again. It is tiring to walk back home after a long day at work. Hence, my negotiation skills are tested and sharpened.

On a humourous note, I think most auto-rickshaw drivers near my home and office know me by now. At times, I don't need to tell where to go and how much to pay. After all, I am a "regular" in their customer-list.

P.S. : Auto Trivia from Kolkata : In this part of the world, ladies do not mind sitting on front seat of the auto.


Brajmohan Kumar said…
Some bargain is always good :P
Nice story.
The same happens with me. The only difference is almost all rikshaw wale bhaiya(the cycle rikshaw pullers) know my destination :)
sawan said…
never been to kolkota! after seeing kahani, i really want to visit the place :)
Me said…
trivia is interesting.. :) and so is ur chatpati auto-post.
Rià said…
Interesting post...makes me miss the autos of Mumbai.
CRD said…
Smile's much more expensive to commute by rickshaws in Mumbai. The worst part is you don't have the bargaining power here...hell, the auto driver decides whether he wants to go or not

Do the math - Rs.12 for the first 1.6 km and Rs.1.50 per km after that...


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