January 24, 2009

The Thrill Ride

If the thrill of riding in a metal cabin with no doors, no seat belts and no airbags on treacherous Indian roads doesn't scare you, then the auto-wallah's driving skills definitely will! Riding an auto rickshaw is a bit like riding a roller coaster except you stay firmly on the ground with no definite track

Last afternoon I took an auto rickshaw to office. It was completely a new experience for me as I don’t remember when the last time I had the experience to board an auto rickshaw.

I still remember my niece once described auto rickshaw as a notorious metal shell, on 3 wheels much like a scooter with three wheels with a motor that sounds like a western lawn mower! - The Auto Rickshaw.

Even though auto rickshaws are said have a top-speed of around 50 km/h (about 31 mph), it definitely doesn't seem like it and I doubt it's true especially when you’re zipping past cars and bikes at much higher speeds leaving them in a cloud of smoke. You can sometimes feel the G-forces pulling you as the auto-wallah makes a tight turn. They're driven the way you would a bumper car at a carnival.They zig-zag and weave through traffic unafraid of bigger vehicles or pedestrians and are notorious for playing chicken by driving on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic. And just when you think it couldn't get any worse, if the gap between two cars or buses in front of you is seemingly impossible to fit into...think again! The auto wallah will surprise you by daringly maneuvering their rickshaw into the tightest imaginable spaces in traffic. So much so that you can literally touch the vehicle beside you by sticking out a finger!For people in Hyderabad and other cities of India, these monsters on the road are more like anybody's daily affair. People from abroad see them as a cute, loving vehicle on the road. Foreigners don't forget to take a ride on them while visiting the rustic side of this country.

Anyways, after 30 minutes of scary ride I managed to reach destination in one piece. Don’t know when I would dare to board the auto for another thrill ride of my life…….


deboshruti said...

Hey you should ride an auto when you come to Kolkata next time!
Your so called adventurous auto ride on the quiet roads of Hyderabad seems to be dull one for us Kolkatans who make an advance booking to the Yamraj’s court by taking this roller coaster ride through the dirty, narrow, and jam-packed lanes every day just to survive in this totally unplanned city! I personally feel no other city in this country is so troubled by the autos the way Kolkata is, thanks to the pollution friendly two stroke auto services that paint the town black every time they take a start! So do come and share this dismal experience with us and you might feel the urge to change the “Oh God! Its so hazardous" tone of your blog:)

Dinesh Akula said...

okay would do so........actually...the scary ride was on an auto in Raipur (chhattisgarh)..at that time i couldn't write but later when i took an auto in Hyderabad..the memories came afresh in my mind......this write up is similar to what the author of Harry Potter- JKRowling...did - she had confused King's Cross station with Euston. She remembered the platforms 9 and 10 in Euston and while writing she put the scene at Kings Cross and rest is history....that's why when u go to Kings cross station you will find no wall between platform 9 and 10..so a new platform wall was created for public.....