However sophisticated our means of transport might get, irrespective of the costliest car or bike we have ,there would be times you had to hire an auto- rickshaw. Though we have many options and luxuries today , like booking cabs from our smartphones, one can never throw these little vehicles out of service , sometimes they serve better than an ambulance in situations of real emergency.
The number of auto -rickshaws in the city might be quite surprising . There are around 25,000 autos in the city of Visakhapatnam and around 200 to 300 auto stands and many people making their bread on these vehicles . So with this number, it’s very much obvious that they form a very important part of the road transport system.
Well, you might have had a few experiences with them, sometimes good and sometimes bad . This week we took some time to meet a few auto walas and talk to them . Being their own bosses it is really convenient for them deciding to drive around or take a day off , but ironically , life is the boss it controls when we work and how much . Though it’s not very safe to drive an auto or travel in one , most of the drivers cannot afford to buy a car and run a cab service. As I ran into this old man who drives his auto and also is the president of his union. He said he keeps driving no matter what . He is driving when happy , he is driving when sad , when angry , when it’s raining ,when it’s sunny… the three wheels are at work always just to keep his life on the move. He also kept driving in spite of his yearlong fatal sickness, just to pay for his medical expenses and other bills . A daily income which varies between Rs 200 to Rs 500 added to his wife’s daily wages, takes care of his domestic expenses . It is an advantage if he owns the vehicle, and if not he hires on for RS.200 a day . On a busy day, he has to work real hard so he can compensate for the other days when not many people are out and travelling . Now and then when he bumps into a rude traffic constable , it leaves him in a very helpless situation . And he has his share of surprises from life like all of us do .
Everyone struggles , but not everyone manages to find happiness. As he kept struggling over the years he managed to get his daughter married in all joy and also has a son who makes his living by himself. He celebrates festivals of Ganesh pooja and Dussehra with the other members of his union in all grandness they can afford. As they drive all day around the city ,a few minutes of chit chat , cracking up over a few laughs and a few silly fights within the stand make their day . And the next day its again a new start , the wheels go round and round and round………..