With marriage season starting on 24th November (this is 2012), the roads and streets were flooded with band bajaas and baraats. And sometimes dolis too. At such times travelling by road is very (read extremely) tough. Traffic jams take about 2-3 hours extra of your life.
In these circumstances, the auto walas are more keen on taking rides to small distances and going without meter (a crime) and charging high prices if you are dressed well (obviously they know you’re in a hurry to go somewhere).
So to convince an auto driver to take me 15 km away was a task not easy. It took 4 people to try their luck at 9 auto drivers to finally find the one who charged as much as he wanted. (he clearly saw the desperation in our eyes). A young girl dressed well, an old aunt wrapped in woolen shawl, a 7-year-old playing with a suitcase and a house servant trying to tackle a heavy suitcase and a naughty kid. And yet I am sure we caught attention of not many people that day : this is the good thing about Delhi, you can’t be easily recognized in a crowd.
So finally, the greedy but cooperative auto uncle (now I started paying him respect — he is responsible for my life’s safety for next 40 mins or so) took off from my starting point.
But soon, he announced to me, the front tire of the auto was punctured. I kinda choked on my pasta that time. I asked him how long will it take, to which he replied, that depends if we get someone to repair the puncture. After that I stopped eating. We (mostly he) searched for puncture repair guys on two petrol pumps en route to my destination. With no success, and the tire breathing its last few minutes, he finally decided that it would be best if he (read-we) repaired it himself.
So after parking on the roadside, I saw him struggling to convince someone to give him a hand (yea, talk about how tough people are to convince these days). Eventually I told him, no help is coming and that we should proceed.
20 minutes and one flat tire later, I was seated back in the auto only to think, why we dint get any help. Oh wait, one middle-aged man smiled at me while I was holding the auto up(it weighs 610 kg) so that the driver could screw those nuts in the new tire. By the time that man’s conscience hit him, he went past us but then returned to ask if we needed any help. Luckily we were done by then. He then walked back to his rickshaw.
When our rickshaw over took his, I waved and smiled at him. At least he bothered to notice me that day. At least he took 5 minutes out of his life to ask about a fellow traveler At least he had the courtesy to stop and offer his service to a damsel in distress.
Bless you! Whoever you are, wherever you are!
Punjabi wedding traditions : with explanations on Doli, Baraat etc