The Bombay rickshaw driver comes in a variety of race, religions and species. I have divided these rickshaw drivers in several categories. They are as follows:
- The Angry One: This specie of rickshaw drivers is a frustrated soul. He has had several anger management issues; one that tops the list is being called 'bhaiyya'. So this bhaiyya ji...err...rickshaw driver takes his anger out on the road. They will drive at breakneck speeds (passengers can literally break their necks sitting in this rickshaw), honk endlessly, spew countless swear words, and remove their misery on the other travelers. This specie is very likely to get into physical fights with other drivers who they crash into, mainly BEST bus drivers (who are a different specie all together!)
- The Drunkard: The name is self-explanatory, isn't it? This is a sub-specie of 'The Angry One', and they prefer to drown their misery in a bottle of 'desi tharra' and then rule the road. It's easy to spot this specie, since you can smell the alcohol all the way from China. Their speech is slurred, they drive loopily, and are once again, very likely to get into accidents. They might even start talking to you, crying or laughing. If you value your life, don't travel by this auto.
- The Yapper: If this specie gets a chance at an alternate career, he would love to host a talk show. Where only he talks. Yappers open their mouth the moment you sit in the auto, and shut up the moment you get off. They don't need you to initiate the conversation; they can pretty much begin on their own, starting with their favorite dialogue: "Aaj traffic bahut zyada hai!" They then move on to topics ranging from Himes bhai's new moojic, to discussing the nuances of Marxist theories. They are so apt at speaking; they will continue talking even if your ears are plugged to your music player. It is very hard to notice a Yapper from afar, so if you wish to avoid this situation, best keep your mouth shut in all your future rickshaw rides.
- The Dhinchak: This specie loves his ride. They love it so much; they take it on their onus to decorate it with every loud and garish item possible. Both sides of the passenger seat will have images of Bollywood beauties, looking at you lustily. Their stereos will be complete with surround sound, sub woofers, and what not. They are Himes bhai's biggest patrons, and they will play his music extremely loud, till the point where blood seeps out through your ears. They will have the customary "Tum kab wapas aaoge" sticker on their rear-view mirror (which is, of course, only a decorative commodity!) There will also be a porn movie blue light which will shine throughout the ride. Fresh flowers, plastic flowers, agarbattis, pepsi bottles filled with black shiny liquid, you will find them all in a Dhinchak's ride. If you appreciate Indian kitsch, hitch a ride.
- The Asshole: This is the worst of the specie. They take personal pleasure in making the ride a hellish experience for the passenger. They tamper with the meters, making them run at a speed of Rs. 5 per second. They letch at the female passengers, stop in the middle of the road to talk on their cellphones, spit all over Bombay, deliberately drive over pot holes to make the ride extra bumpy, fake a tyre puncture if they don't want to ply beyond a certain point...I can go on and on! These leeches think they can get away with anything, and 90% of the time, they do. If you get the slightest indication that the auto driver belongs to the Asshole category, leave immediately or get ready for a back breaking ride, where you will be cheated off of your hard earned money.
- The Millionaire: This parasitic specie makes its presence felt in all the auto drivers categories. These are a super rich specie...they are even richer than the Tatas and the Ambanis! They feel like they people of Bombay rely completely on their services. But they are so rich, they don't even bother. Auto driving is a hobby for them, a mere sport. That's why they blatantly refuse passengers who ask them to go to a certain location. Even if they fall on their feet and beg the specie to allow them a ride, they will just raise their noses high and speed off. On a good day, if they feel like it, they tauntingly agree to ply the passenger. You should consider yourself super lucky if the Millionaire allows you a ride.
- The Honest One: Rarest of the rare! The chances of getting into an auto driven by the Honest one are one in a billion. They don't tamper with the meters, so you don't end up paying exorbitant rates. They drive at a normal pace, follow traffic rules, don't talk much, and help you with loading luggage, if need be. The chances of finding the Honest One are rare, since it's an endangered specie. Slowly, the other six species of auto drivers are luring the Honest One to join the dark side. In the rare occasion you do land up in an Honest One's ride, please thank your lucky stars you got to see one before they disappear completely.
Tomorrow, how to eat daal-chawal at your office desk without making a mess.