Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chennai auto-oram oram oram po...

* Each dabbawala gets paid about two to four thousand rupees per month.
* More than 175,000 or 200,000 lunch boxes get moved every day by an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 dabbawalas, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality.
* According to a recent survey, there is only one mistake in every 6,000,000 deliveries, statistically equivalent to a Six Sigma (99.9999) rating
* Owing to the tremendous publicity, some of the dabbawalas were invited to give guest lectures in top business schools of India, which is very unusual.

Everyone has given the above statistics.Absolutely everyone.All I say is that they haven't been to Chennai and travelled in an auto.

"Take an auto from the bus stand.It's kinda far to walk"-was the message from my friend who had reached the venue long before even when I boarded the bus.I scurried from my seat and jumped out the bus. All I did was give an anxious look when four autos lined up.Yup,that's all it takes for these drivers to find out who needs them.Throw some perplexed and worried look and they would be in front of you in no time.I bent down a bit and said the destination confidently.Dealing with autowalas is as difficult as explaining insurance policy to a grumbling person.You need to sound confident to pull it off safely.If they find that you are not sure;they follow their own suite. "50 rupees ma" he said.I nodded a no and said "it's too much".
The second strategy while dealing them-always make it less than what they ask for-whether you are sure or not about the place.
"40",he said. "No, 30"I replied.He frowned ,grumbled,acted like leaving and eventually agreed.They always do that.Eventually agree to you.

The vehicle was in full swing even before I got into it.Now I know why an auto has many rods across-to save you.One master turn and he drove in full speed.I don't even remember sitting;I was waving in mid air.Thanks to the roads and all the sudden U -turns in the area.
The rides at MGM(amusement park at chennai) cost almost 50 to 100 but this came for just 30.He halted such a way that for a second you can feel the soul pulled out of the body(exactly,that dementor effect from the harry potter series). At the signal,he had a face that Michael Schumacher would have loved to witness.Full of vigour and ferocious.The signals are not meant for them-govt's mistake.

My hero here stole through the tiny spaces where even human dared not to go.I have always been fascinated by mazes but this was extraordinary feat that has just been missed out in the Guinness world record.Again the vehicle throttled and partially galloped(you read it perfect -it's galloped).Every bump on the road was made evident and I couldn't stop cursing the govt,the driver and myself while he did his part by shouting at all the drivers and people on the road.It gives them thrills,I guess.

Adding to all the woes and curses,I didn't know the exact location of the place I was supposed to go.
"Stop on the right;I will ask that paan fellow".The vehicle screeched while halting.Even before I could make an attempt,he shouted "hello!!How do I go to...?".
The paan fellow took his own sweet time and mumbled something that I didn't understand but the driver nodded.The coaster ride began again.I swear I lost half of my spine in that 15 minutes journey.

I was spared from the brutality when I saw my friend waving on the other side of the signal.
"stop near the car.ya,the place where the blue shirt fellow is standing".
He halted in a style yet again.I just threw myself outside,gasped for air and gave him the money.The notes were crumbled and rolled in my hand.He grabbed it and disappeared in search for another prey.

My friend couldn't see my desperation."How much ?"he asked.
"Just 30",I said "but the experience- priceless".

Conclusion:Autowalas in chennai are faster,more or less accurate (they make sure u reach the place),earn lot more than most engineers do;).So,They too can give guest lectures at IIMs.Watch out folks.


hantan said...

i told u not to give more than 25 bucks.. see he stole u blind..

and what was that again?"My hero here stole through the tiny spaces where even human dared to go."
madam, i had just walked all the way to warn u ahead, saying that its too far. and guess i must be superhuman to have walked where only autos dare to tread.. lol

I did see the despo on ur face, but was far too tired to comment abt it.. but bought u a milk drink just to pep u up. Only complete revelation of facts will do justice

subs said...


The "hero" mentioned is the auto driver.:):):).He went in between all that "so called cycle gaps".

Yup,daylight robbery but what to do?Had to agree in hurry(moreover had no clue abt the distance).

He he he..you had the pathetic milk drink n not me:).Anywayz you did buy for a drink for me.so, a big thanks from me:).

hantan said...

i did get the fact that the auto guy was the hero.. he was the one who stole thro the tiny places and not me.. so i DID get that fact right

PreethZzZ said...

lol... auto whallas are fascinating!!!! hehehehe.... i've also blogged about them... tho i think our experiences are rather different...

subs said...


You havent met the nastiest meanest ones.The reason u praise them.lol!!I am ambivalent-praise n curse them at the same moment;)
Tried the share autos??

subs said...


Phew!!(he he he)

T.K. Ram said...

"My hero here stole through the tiny spaces where even human dared to go."
i'm sure u meant dared NOT to go, didn't u? :)

subs said...

@t.k ram

Oh!Realised the mistake just now.Sorry.Will rectify.

Thanks for pointing it out.