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AUTO !

    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.


Comments

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 girl...it'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...

Cheers
CRD

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Concealed by dark clouds
You keep shining.
Bright streaks of light
Dazzle me.
Enchant me.
And keep me waiting..
Waiting for you.

Amidst Soul-lessness

There is smoke somewhere. 
I cannot seem to figure out where. 
The lights are here, the music is here.
Has it been home here ?
Perhaps. Maybe when it did not rain.
Or maybe when it rained and it did not matter.
Maybe when I walked alone, smiling to myself. 
Or maybe when I realized I was okay.
Had it been always like this ?

Not really. 
Things clicked, took effort and blood. 
Did I do it ? Or the beasts did ? Maybe we both together,
Played this game. 
Amidst soulful solitude, it was love. 
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Another journey, another dry spell. 
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P.S. : Penned at Candies, Bandra on 11th January 2017 


I CANNOT REMEMBER MY MOTHER ~ Rabindranath Tagore

I cannot remember my mother,
only sometime in the midst of my play
a tune seems to hover over my playthings,
the tune of some song that she used to
hum while rocking my cradle.


I cannot remember my mother
but when in the early autumn morning
the smell of the shiuli flowers floats in the air,
the scent of the morning service in the
temple comes to me as the scent of my mother.


I cannot remember my mother
only when from bedroom window
I send my eyes into the blue of the distant sky,
I feel that the stillness of my mother's gaze on my face
has spread all over the sky.

~Rabindranath Tagore
Note : This was one of  the earliest poems I read,loved and cherished.