Thursday, June 18, 2015
I have the luxury of choosing not to drive (plus the fact that I am dead scared of driving thanks to drivers like the one I will describe below) and I travel frequently by taxis and auto rickshaws in the city of Chennai. Sitting behind the driver, gives me the opportunity to notice the various driving characteristics of the drivers...this article may turn out to be a complete time pass or give a deep insight into human psychology...whatever!!! :-)
Driver Type #1: Mr. No-Accident Anbumani
This type of driver is more common among auto rickshaws where the driver is hell bent on bumping into another vandi (vehicle in Tamil). But the only reason he does not is because he is completely protected by the supreme power above. So no matter how hard he tries, however rash he drives his vehicle, he and his auto miraculously escape each and every time thanks to his previous births good tidings. But Mr. Anbumani will also ensure that you are definitely praying to the Lord each and every minute you spend in the back seat; so they are actually doing a huge favor to God since human beings today do not spare time to remember God. Also the folks who drive beside him should have started from home by showing their gratitude to all their fore-fathers, ancestors and all the 35 crore Gods if they have to get past without a scratch. Thanks to all this pious work, he has a confirmed seat in the front row of Heaven. And may I warn you, your heart will be in your throat for most part of this adventurous ride!
Driver Type #2: Mr. Accident-prone Senthil
This type of driver is one who is probably a bit new to driving and his lack of experience shows. He has no intention of bumping into anybody else, he just wants to keep to himself but somehow that seems to be impossible. No matter how hard he tries, he will end up braking suddenly to prevent his vandi from bumping into another one. He seems to be a bit jittery while driving and that greatly impacts his on-road alertness. So if you are sitting in this auto, then be wary of sudden brakes and jerky driving and also the occasional bump intos!
Driver Type # 3: Mr. Pothole Pandian
This auto driver will ensure that he never misses a single hump or pothole on the great Indian road. He has to pay his salutation to each and every one of them with the wheels of his vandi. Even if he misses one, he will take a reverse or U-turn, go back and then bump! Sounds like an exaggeration..? Believe me, you can never trust what this person will do next! Actually he is doing a great social service by opening the customers eyes to the sorry state of Indian roads and through his actions, he sincerely believes that he can bring some radical change. He dreams that one day all of India's roads will be pothole-free and until that day he will not rest. He believes in the adage - A journey of a thousand sleek roads begins with bumping over a single pothole! Also this auto can double up as a free maternity ward where delivery can be done for pregnant ladies minus the hassle of doctor and hospital fees. So if you are ready for the risk involved, then go for the ride!
Pregnant ladies disclaimer - Please take a helper along just in case!!!
Driver Type #4: Mr. Running-commentary Saravanan
This driver will give commentary on anything and everything happening on the road as we go along. Also he may update you on the latest news items like strike, political scam, and more. This is more common among the auto rickshaw drivers whose eyes are not peeled on to the road but on the incidents happenings on the left or right side of the vandi. Also if accidentally another vehicle or pedestrian cross their path, then the commentary will shift to them on how carelessly these days drivers drive or how lost pedestrians are in their thoughts while they are walking on the road. You will have no dearth of entertainment with Mr. Saravanan.
Driver Type #5: Mr. RJ Rahman
This driver would like to entertain you to the hilt . He will keep switching between Suryan FM, Radio Mirchi, Chennai FM, Aahaa FM and all other radio stations with peak volume playing 'Kutthu' (A Tamil dance song type) songs. While getting off you will either have a headache or a good workout for our head and neck regions. This type of cab driver is generally not chummy to the mood of the customer - he is the RJ of the club sorry cab and he sets the mood - so baby, get on with the groove or get lost!
Driver Type #6: Mr. Mukku Murugan
This type of driver is most common amongst autos who will agree to a particular fare and once they realize that the destination is slightly further than what they imagined, they travel the rest of the way cursing and braking the auto. All this extra build-up is it just make you feel guilty so that you will shell out some extra dough for the seemingly extra-long-distance-which-you-didn't-make-clear-while-discussing-the-rates-at-the-beginning-of-the-trip - Duh! He will stop and curse under his breath so much that by the end of the extra 20 - 30 m you just throw the extra money on him and leave!
Driver Type #7: Mr. Decent-gentleman Kumar
This driver is the best and you will get such a driver only if you have completed your prayers for the morning and also your prayers have reached the Lord. This driver will not even open his mouth and will have the most smooth driving skills you have ever seen. He will just pick you up from Point A and drop you at Point B SAFELY. This driver is a darling especially after having a heated argument with your boss or spouse and you just want to get away and you are looking for some calm and quiet while reaching your destination. You can also peacefully meditate and channel into your inner oasis of calm while traveling in this cab (usually this type of driver is a rare species with Autos).
I think I have covered the major 7 categories of drivers, there might still be a few categories I must have missed, but I have had the ultimate honor of traveling with mostly the above ones. Please add if you have had the esteem of traveling with any other kind of driver too. Just for fun! ;-)
Note: I have had more auto travel experience in Chennai and hence have used most common Tamil names for the auto drivers. Please forgive if I have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of other drivers with different name categories!