On a particularly hot and sweaty typical Chennai summer day, I found myself facing that beast! I never thought this day would come but it had and here I was. I could not find a normal auto and was so drained that all I wanted to do was to get home and jump into the shower! So it was a ride in that white beast – the Chennai share auto for me! If you have never seen those little crazy things on wheels here are some pictures:
And here are my thoughts on how you can survive the bumpy ride!
- You will find that the drivers of these little dark and hot cages on wheels will call to you in a manner that would make you think that you have found commute salvation! Take a good look when these guys says that there is enough space in the little cage for you to fit in!
- If you are not amongst the first 6 people to board that cage, chances are that you will not get a place to sit!
- Whatever seating space these guys are talking about it exists in their little utopian world of share autos!!
- If you are new, chances are that you have already entered the auto believing their words and chances are thar you will face six pairs of harried eyes staring back at you
- Now this is really important – read and understand: The seats are usually meant to seat 3 normally built humans, but these guys will claim that the seats can accommodate for 4! By the time you realize what they are up to you might find yourself inside the cage, bending under its roof bag and baggage trying to squeeze yourself between 2 others
- The space that you will find between these 2 commuters would be wide enough to fit one butt of a little kid! Leave alone fit the complete back side of a full-grown adult.
- If you decide to get out, just make a dash for it cos these guys will try to convince you about how comfortable you would be sitting on the edge of the seat with your bags on top of you!
- A word of advice – please make sure you carry your mp3 player, The best thing to do when stuck in a predicament like this is to plug those things on and block out the world. It especially helps to block out fellow grumpy commuters, annoying ring tones and those that talk loudly on their cell phones. You can bet that the cage will have at least 1 person like that
- Now that you are hanging by a thread in that cage, make sure you grab the hanging hand supports lest you fall off when the cage starts moving and zipping around. Sometimes it mistakes itself for a snake that can curve in all possible ways in crazy Chennai traffic!
- Be thankful that you are still breathing
- 10 minutes into the drive you can be assured that someone will get off the seat you are hanging out of, as their destination has arrived. Now is your chance! Be smart and quickly move back to ensure that you are completely and comfortably seated!
- Next time someone boards let them get stuck between you and the woman who sits stretching her legs!
- Enjoy the rest of the ride and make sure you have your payment ready at least 1 stop before you get off. The reason being that these guys would probably stop at a spot on the road going crazy with traffic, with cops chasing them and others waiting to get in before you can get off!!
When you are finally home just jump into that shower! You will need it!
Good luck! If you have some better tips let me know