Whether it’s a five day stay in Delhi, a migration or your entire life, the autowallahs you encounter here, are one of a kind. And so we take on a mission to acquaint you with the beloved autowallahs of our beloved city by introducing you to the many types you’re likely to come across on a day to day basis!
From your paternal village to your salary, this kind wants to know it all. They will also proudly tell you how their daughter topped the final exams of 3rd standard or how their son is pursuing engineering from a reputed college without any coaching. They have even mastered English by interacting with foreigners. They like their job because they get to talk to so many people. They even enlighten you with home remedies for minor ailments. Aren’t they too sweet?
Had they been made the Chief Minister, they would have restored the capital to its old time glory. Fewer cars on road, soberly grand living, simple political scene, life was easy. In direct contrast to blaring horns on jam-packed roads, flashy & superficial lives and cut throat, money driven politics. Nudge them a little if you like to explore the heritage of Delhi and they will tell you about all the hidden gems, their history and the best way to reach there along with the precautions.
So you think that the capital of India is in Utopia? They will tell you the harsh and cruel realities and some exaggerated ones too. Most polluted city, encroachments and don’t forget the migrants. The migrants, according to them, are the root problem of the city. Even the elected politicians cannot save us because we’re already doomed. Politicians only care about money and soon will come the apocalypse. We are all going to become zombies! Pardon us for getting a little carried away, but you get the idea.
Be it analysis of stocks & options or the state of rainforests, impact of Obama’s visit or Mars Rover’s new findings, gear up for one intriguingly educational ride. Expect complex terms and compelling statements which will take you hours to decipher even if you hold a double Masters’ degree. These autowallahs did not complete their graduation but their passion for knowledge never died. You will surely walk away smiling.
You thought you are religious because you visit the local temple every Tuesday? Meet these intimidatingly religious autowallahs. An orange tilak proudly adorns their forehead. They bow down to hundreds of posters of deities inside the auto before starting the engine. God forbid if they sneeze, get ready to wait for ten minutes of chanting. Also it doesn’t matter if your grandmother told you tales of Hanuman because they shall tell you those all over again.
Living in Delhi, home to seven ancient cities, did you think history can be brushed off? These autowallahs will bathe you in it. These autowallahs combine mythology of their religion with the history of Delhi and relate them to the structures around the city. SoPandavas built the Old Fort and that temple has been there for millennia but what about that mosque? Err…That is what happens when you mix mythology and history illogically, you get a hilarious ride.
Ask before lighting your cigarette because your autowallah of the day might turn out to be a health freak. You will anyways get lectures on the dangers of smoking and most importantly, passive smoking. How to keep a check on the nutrition in your diet, where to buy the best vegetables and fruits, how to get rid of the chemicals used in polishing pulses; they are walking-talking health magazines!
They are always frowning, they never smile, thank your stars if they don’t shout at you. They will argue about the fare and the route. They will even blame you for the traffic and the weather. They are fed up of the promises of the government and the revolution of earth around the sun. They do not approve of women working and they certainly do not like one talking. It does not matter which gender you belong to, when faced with this type of autowallah, it is time to do those breathing exercises your mother taught you to save yourself from getting into an argument.
“Bhai should not have been put behind the bars. Such a degradation of bhai’s reputation”, one autowallah goes. This auto makes you wonder if it indeed has borne the entire Bollywood industry. A speaker blasting Hindi songs and posters of heroes & heroines, this auto is the epitome of Bollywood enthusiasm. If you are planning to watch the Friday release, just ask for a suggestion and get the whole review in return! Nothing could have made them happier.
Throughout your route, they will tell you ways to reach the famous tombs or the unexplored structures, silverware or hardware markets, or age old food joints. With insights into the stories, best food haunts and the crowd; gear up for a Dilli Darshan. Point to a prominent building and they will tell you which structure stood there three decades back, which politician approved its demolition and what stories every brick of that building holds.
Now, you are acquainted with the grey uniform clad, auto driving force of thousands of men on which Delhi survives. We hope this article makes your next ride a little easier and a little less troublesome. Happy journey!