Tuesday, 29 July 2014

How to board an auto in Mumbai!

We Dilliwallas are famous for being rash and rowdy. Ask a Dilliwalla to stand in a queue and you are sure to invite an unpleasant conversation. I recall many instances of women calling each other names in Delhi metro just because one woman asked another to be in a line and the other asked her to mind her business. 

Though I am yet to experience the peak hours in Mumbai local trains, a recent instance made me familiar to the advantages of being patient in a queue.

Yesterday I was trying to board an auto near one of the local train stations. First things first, in Delhi we have rickshaw and autos. But in Mumbai, there are only autos, which Mumbaikars call Rickshaws. And if someone asks you if you came by Rick, don’t be surprised, for rick or rickshaw or auto are all the same! Now Mumbai autowallas are much different from the ones in Delhi (and unless I dedicate a separate post to them, I won’t be doing justice). As I tried to stop autos, none even bothered to slow down and even listen to where I wanted to go. Ignored and dejected, as I wondered and worried, my eyes fell on a long queue at the roadside. Some 15-20 people were standing in a queue like disciplined school kids waiting for school bus. Hullow, we weren’t even that disciplined as school kids and the moment bus used to come, we used to get into junglee mode!

Confused and curious, I thought of asking one of them, ‘’aakhir maajra kya hai’’ then my eyes fell on the umpteen autowallas that stopped near that line. So what did they have that autowallas stopped for them and not the others?

Eureka! In Mumbai, they have a line for boarding autos!!!

I looked at the auto and the last person in the queue who I had to join in case I wanted to be considered for auto. Being a rainy day, the size of the queue got me thinking. I have broken queues at several places in Dilli…my training ground being my school canteen and then the queue for college U Special. The rule is simple, survival of the fittest. But here, there wasn’t any scope of breaking queue. Unlike local trains, people maintained utter discipline and I didn’t want to come in the limelight as being an eager rule breaker!

So I went & stood in the long queue. The old uncle in front of me was a super friendly person and could make out from my looks that I was a newbie in the city. The tensed me was assured the line would move fast as most people going the same side share autos. He was right, for the line moved really fast, and soon I was in the front. As an auto came, the uncle smiled and said “Ricksha thaamba!

I soon realized the advantage of these auto queues. The autos that stopped here didn’t refuse to commute on your desired destination. Discipline pays at times.

While Mumbaikars reading this are all smiles, my Dilliwaale bhai bandhu need not worry as my notion of discipline was wiped away clear the day I went to drive on the streets of Mumbai! Post coming soon… 


  1. haha... we Mumbaikars are not all that disciplined as u think dear barring the auto lines.. yes.. but go to st bus stop or for that matter a local train station during peak hours.. nd you ll know the correct picture! ;P

  2. And in special circumstances ladies in a hurry are excused the queue.

  3. When I am reading your posts it is reminding me of my early days in Mumbai :)

  4. Your posts are making me know Mumbai better... and also its fun to know how you discovering it bit by bit in your unique way..

  5. well what can I say I'm literally scared of taking an auto just because of the phobia of having to argue with them atleast here in Bangalore...!

  6. We Mumbaikars, stand in a queue for a rickshaw only at a few places not all. Travel in train and you would come to know, how actually we travel here.We get a free body massage in the train :-P . But even after standing in the crowded train, where we hardly get space to breath during peak hours, you would find us listening songs, talking over the phone and forgetting the stress we feel standing there . I love my city Mumbai :-)

  7. Wish they followed the system here in Bangalore.
    We are totally at the driver's mercy.

  8. This queue thing is great. Atleast now they won't stop anytime, anywhere! They do the same for taxis in a lot of places in the world. India is learning :)

  9. haha.. finally I read one of your Mumbai experiences. Interesting. I had a similar experience getting into a bus. Without knowing much, I got into the bus through the other door where there were no people and I thought I was better than the rest for doing that "smart" move. But soon I understood the queue system in Mumbai!


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