Skip to content

Surviving Autorickshaws – A Dummy’s Guide.

July 29, 2011

“Show me one person who has not been conned by an Autowallah, and I’ll show you a liar” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Ever got into an Autorickshaw feeling miserably duped? Ever traveled in an Autorickshaw with the meter jumping like Sergey Bubka? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Everything about the Autowallah is irritating. His swagger, his refusal to carry any change at all, his non-belief in traffic rules being some of them.

“Bring the change you wish to see” – Autowallah

Ever since my childhood, I had to deal with Autowallahs of all sorts. The Good, Bad, Ugly, Horrendous, Demonic. For a very long time, I thought anybody driving an Autorickshaw is called ‘Auto’. My conversations with them would be like:

Me: Auto, vastunda? (Will the auto come?)
Auto: Raadu. (It wont)

Why the Auto wont come, I never understood. And then I realised much later that we were talking about the Autorickshaw in third person.

Like most other kids, I used to go to school in an Autorickshaw. I don’t know why, but my Autowallah was ever grumpy, and would never stop near any of the roadside ice-cream vendors even when people in the Autorickshaw were dying of hunger.

I always get a feeling that the Autowallah gives me the sale-price of the Autorickshaw whenever I ask him for the fare. What else can explain those ridiculous fares? And the look on the Autowallah’s face when you suggest something reasonable is priceless. It is a mixture of scandalised, shocked and puppy face. All at once. So effective, that you almost think if you are being a douche for offering a pittance.

Why this hatred towards humanity they have?

How long will this evil continue to thrive? Is there anything you can do to combat this menace? Will the Autowallahs also come under the Lokpal? Remember, when dealing with an Autowallah it is always about who gains the psychological edge. So, how do you go about it while not disagreeing with Gandhian values?

1. Intimidate.

If an Autowallah refuses to go by the Meter or quotes a ridiculous figure even after bargaining with him for years, don’t give up. While getting into the Autorickshaw, take a picture of the number-plate of the vehicle with a really serious look. Do not talk to him at all while traveling. Make a fake phone call to your friend and ask him for the details of the website where you can upload pictures of offending Autorickshaws. Once you reach your destination, get down, pay the fare and feign another phone call and repeat the vehicle registration number aloud again and ask for the Autowallah’s name. Done.

2. Mind Games.

If you think you got lucky to get into an Autorickshaw which goes by the meter, stop thinking. It is an illusion. The meter in the Autorickshaw doubles up as a stop-watch for the Autowallah to keep a tab on his lap speeds. What do you do in such situations? Play Mind Games.


– Whip out your phone. Any phone.
– Press a few buttons, and place it near the meter. Make sure the Autowallah notices this.
– Press a few more buttons.
– Tap the meter with your phone a couple of times, and plaster a serious look on your face.
– Press a few more buttons, and smile. Grin, actually.
– Keep looking at the Autowallah slyly throughout this process.

3. Troll.

When all hope is lost. When you have no other option but to agree to the fare which the Autowallah quotes. When you feel helpless. When you know you are being taken for a ride, literally. This is what you have to do when you have sufficient time to kill.

Ask the Autowallah to turn at every corner you see. Make him swerve at every possible turn. Make him take U-turns. Most importantly, do this with a very confident demeanor. Nowhere should you give out that you are trolling him. Sound as if you know what you are doing and you are sure of the directions.

This is not to say good Autowallahs do not exist. They do.  Remember Rajnikanth in Baasha? Those Autowallahs who save Himesh in Germany in Aapka Suroor? But they don’t make Autowallahs like that anymore.


Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you get physically assaulted by following any of the above points.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2011 11:25 am

    Awesome! It’s true, attitude of Autowallahs is unparalleled.

  2. July 30, 2011 6:27 am


  3. August 5, 2011 2:22 am

    Good one…! Trolling is best part

  4. December 20, 2011 4:51 pm

    lol. I have my own unique ‘copyrighted’ dealing with autowallahs

    Me: “I am from here vonly! naaku telusu rates gurinchi”
    Walks off pretending that there are a million autos waiting to take me to destination for free while scanning empty road and cursing posh car going fellows. Eventually if he eats bait he comes rushing and bargains n eventually I get in for 5 Rs less #victory. else I pay the next guy 10 rs extra and get in. #epicfail 😐



  1. Chennai! « kthanxbai.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: