December 27, 2011

Guest Post of the Month

Posted by maithili at 10:16 AM
                           Its that time of the month when we invite a Martian blogger to write for us. 
The Martian this month is much loved in the blogosphere for his witty and subtle humored post. If you read him then you know for sure who I m talking of. It's none other than the Atrocious Scribbler
                          Not only is he a gifted writer but also a very sweet and humble guy. He agreed to do a guest post at a very short notice and promptly mailed his post on the day he promised to. 
                         Without wasting any more time, go on to read this yet another funny post..

                             Chennai’s own Superheroes (ermm and heroines)
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a rocket?
Its Automan.


Chennai (formerly Madras) is without doubt one of the most hated cities in India. I can picture you nodding your head and pasting an evil smile onto the edge of your lips; I don’t quite blame you for that because that’s exactly what I did when I first set foot into this city that I now call my own. Humid weather throughout the year, rigid language skills and not so social people don’t really make it the topper in your `Must Visit’ list of places but once here, the place grows on you like any other. Something’s that refuse to grow on you irrespective of spending a decade and more of your life in this city are the antics of the Auto drivers henceforth mentioned as Automen. They are undoubtedly nothing less than superheroes. The Automen and Autowomen (yes, they’re there too) are a separate sub-sect in the microcosm that is Chennai.

Just like Superman could lift buildings, burn through steel with his eye ray and fly when he wished; the Chennai Automan dressed in his stereotypical gaudy and glitzy shirt beneath his unbuttoned Khaki uniform;  has the following Super powers:- 

1. Lawyer/Economist/Operations Researcher – In One
 Vigorous Haggling does not even begin to describe the effort required to hire an Auto to get your desired destination. The Automan will list out a set of ISO certified cogent arguments which will be infallible and water tight that the Attorney General of India would clap in approval.

The moment he acknowledges you to be a potential wayfarer, he will tell you that the simplest way to get from Central (main railway station) to your desired destination in the city involves a series of intricate one ways that pass via Uganda, San Francisco and Sydney for which the `reasonable’rate quoted by him would require that you sell your kidney to pay for the fare.
Any retort to his pricing quotation will be instantaneously met by a thoroughly researched argument involving the nitty-gritty’s of Oil price Rise, Global crude oil export statistics and the rates of inflation of various goods and services, with figures corrected to the fifth decimal that will effectively make the Union Finance ministers yearly Budget presentation seem like a shoddy Television commercial.

The Automan’s grasp of Laws of the road is only too clear. His role on the road is akin to a Central midfielder on a football pitch - going full throttle in all lanes with ease and pace thereby dictating the flow of traffic by seeping through what seems like a mere centimetre of gap between two or more other vehicles. Despite that, when an Automan is asked to pull over by a traffic cop; he will handle the cop the way an expert Italian chef handles an aromatic pot of Spaghetti – with elegance. A fact worth pointing out here is that a large percentage of Chennai’s autos are owned by policemen, so it goes without saying that the two `Saviours’ – the policemen and Automen go hand in hand with each other so far as business is concerned.

2. Intelligence Operative/Priest/Antiquist - in One
Once into the auto, you will notice that it is an antiquity collection of sorts. The most valuable asset in this collective is the Auto meter which has been preserved carefully ever since the time it was slotted into its place by the manufacturer. The Automan fears the meter gods and never dares to anger them. For if he does so by engaging the meter, he is then perceived to have done an act akin to Lord Shiva having opened his third eye - absolute carnage prevails. Any meter; privately or government installed is either severely tampered with or doesn’t work 90% of the time.  Any negotiation with a wayfarer is thereby completely verbal and leads to more often to the situation of `research’ based argumentation as mentioned under pointer 1 than you can wonder.

Chennai Automen do what even the most holy and learned of priests cannot even think of doing - they put the fear of god into the wayfarer; even atheists sometimes with their maniacal driving skills and lane jumping. This most definitely guarantees them a spot in heaven because they make more people chant the name of god in their autos in comparison to all places of worship in the world put together.

The Automan also doubles as an Intelligence operative collecting intel about all and sundry in the vicinity ranging from who cheated on who’s wife in the Mohalla to where the cheapest beedi in the city is available. His sources are always on the field and provide dependable intel by the hour.
Equipped with these unique superpowers, the Chennai Automan has the reigns of control firmly in his grasp thereby making him the undisputed King of the roads.

It may now interest you to know a certain Rajnikanth (with all his super power raised to infinity ofcourse) has essayed the role of an Automan in some of his movies. ;)

Thank you once again Atrocious Scribbler ! 


PeeVee™ on December 27, 2011 at 12:16 PM said...

:D You do Madras proud, AS. You really do...
And this is why I like the way you write, you make auto-drivers sound like space scientists :P

And this post should be printed out and circulated among the worthy citizens of the city and also the automen, it's a tribute I say :D

Freelancer on December 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM said... are right!! every one of them is a Michael Schumacher....its been 5 years for me in Chennai now, and i still have a love-hate relationship with the city.

Keirthana on December 27, 2011 at 8:07 PM said...

You nailed it AS! I just put up a post on Hyderabad share-auto waalas on my blog and was thinking if I should justice to the Chennai ones too! You beat me to it :)

Pria Rao on December 28, 2011 at 12:28 AM said...

I never knew there are auto waalis.
Hyderabad auto walas are no less than these people. I still remember the smirk smiles on their faces when I fight with them for the fares. They think they are the heroes and the whole city pauses if we dont take their autos (ofcourse, thats true sometimes :))

sumitra on December 28, 2011 at 7:17 PM said...

Hehe, funny post AS. "Auto meter which has been preserved carefully ever since the time it was slotted into its place by the manufacturer" - I've seen that too, in some Hyd autos. And oh yes, I don't like Chennai, but mainly due to the weather.

Atrocious Scribblings on December 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM said...

@PeeVee - They surpass Space scientists by quite some distance, I tell you.

And me doing Madras proud? Not quite, I must say.

Thanks for the read.

@Freelancer - Bud, I`ve been there more than a decade and we still have a see-saw relationship.

Thanks for the input.

@Keirthana - Chennai Autos will win hands down against any other city in terms of high handedness and pricing. I`m sure you know that as much as I do.

Thanks for coming by.

@Pria - There are Auto Waali's and plenty in Chennai apparently. Like I`ve said above, Chennai Autos win hands down against any city in India.

Thanks for reading this one.

@Sumitra - I've been in that mindset too but having stayed there long enough, I now realize that apart from the weather and ofcourse the autos, it is a swell place to grow up and work.

Thanks for coming by.

Viya on December 30, 2011 at 12:07 AM said...

Lol your post and Keirthana's post makes Bangalore autodrivers sound 'classy and costly'! :P
I haven't travelled in Chennai autos though yet :P .. i've had the worst experience in Hyd autos!

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