It was one of those rare sunday afternoons in January,2007 when the Sun came out.
Sahil and me had gone to some educational seminar in Sector 33. Ya you can say-What sorta guys go to such seminars but in my defence, that was my first and last time. Anyway, as we were looking for an auto to come back, we couldn't find one and came by foot to Sector 32 Government hospital where we finally got lucky. This journey from Sector 32 to Panjab University turned out to be the most outrageous auto ride I have ever had in life.
As soon as we reached the first of those "typically Chandigarh" round-abouts, our auto was about to hit another one when our auto-walla started to hurl all sorts of abuses in the typically bihari accent at his opposite number. This was something that always happens among auto-wallas but our man seemed to be of a different level altogether. Mother,sister, wife and what not; he didnt spare a single memeber of the poor fellow's family. As we moved on from there, another poor soul had the misfortune of crossing paths with us, this time on a rickshaw and he was greeted with similar greetings. During those 15 something minutes that we were in the auto, He made it a point that he spit his paan on the road every 10 seconds. A minute didn't go by when he didnt shout at one of the poor cycle, scooter,bike or car wallas who were unlucky enough to have crossed us on that journey. Me and Sahil were looking at each other time and again; sometimes laughing, sometimes bewilered-What is this guy?
As we reached the university, we were somewhat relaxed that it was over but somewhere we would have liked to contine as well-It was actually fun as long as we were not on the receiving end. We were supposed to give him a pre decided sum of Rs 60 but we were not carrying any change so he stopped the auto near the University market after a brief mention of how utterly stupid we were for not carrying change. I went to get the change and Sahil stayed back. But, I was in for a shock when I came back with the change. Sahil was involved in a deep conversation with the auto-walla, in English! As I kept on staring, looking at Sahil and then at the auto-walla. He looked at me, took out his hand and introduced himself as Mr X, Regional Manager for Whilpool.He said he started this auto-thing as a weekend time-pass and started to enjoy it and decided to continue. I was totally perplexed and didnt know what to say. He went on to tell us that his father was a doctor at Aligarh Medical College and his wife was a doctor at PGI. His auto was rented out to some "proper auto-walla" during weekdays. He said he generally doesnt reveal his identity but he thought of doing an exception when Sahil told him that both of us were also engineers like him. When we asked him about the abuses and the paan, He said, " If I don't do that stuff, people won't believe that I am actually an auto-walla."
As we started to walk towards the hostel, I think I was pinching myself to confirm if this actually happened.
Revealing Mr X's identity won't be good for his business i.e. if he still is driving autos on the roads of Chandigarh as weekend time-pass.