Generally I commute by my own vehicle in the city of Bangalore. This becomes an exception when I have to travel with my child over long distances.
This evening I had to travel over 20 kms and more than the distance I was not comfortable taking a 6 year old in the city during the evening rush hour.
It was a visit to my child’s grandparents home and it was time for us to leave considering we would take an hour or little more to reach home.
In the evenings it will be your good fortune if you happen to get an autorickshaw who agrees to take you you to your destination.
So after about 7 to 8 of them refusing, one who was not wearing his driver uniform agreed. He asked me to guide him on the route and I agreed.
As I sat in the hired vehicle with my child, I was not comfortable that he was not wearing his driver uniform. Somehow only then I realized that a uniform portrays a sense of responsibility. Nevertheless I brushed aside my thought and was relieved I had got an auto.
After 2kms of travelling, the driver suddenly started driving too fast and rash. I asked him to slow down even while my child was looking at me for security if the driver uncle of the auto was driving right. I felt the young one caught me twice closing my eyes as the driver almost brushed aside other vehicles and the child could feel his mom holding his hand more firmly. Even then the young one was trying to smile at his mom’s fear which perhaps he thought was amusing.
After another 4 kms I told the auto driver again to slow down and yes I told him politely that I was in no hurry to reach home but I wanted to reach safe with my child.
The driver gave me a stare that was not pleasant. I tried looking up to the sheet where driver details are mentioned but saw that it was stuck far away near his seat and in the darkness, in the evening I couldn’t see any details.
As we moved through crowded streets and roads at a crossing we just missed hitting into an oncoming vehicle. This action finally again prompted me to speak and I told sternly that I am not interested to go in a hurry.
The driver then just stopped the vehicle at a corner and asked us to get out. I thought I heard him wrong but he said loudly GET OUT.
It was a main road but due to metro construction and other work, the road was dark and I stepped down hurriedly and grabbed my child to put him down.
As I was removing the billed amount according to the meter of the auto, he told me ” I am not your servant to listen to you”.
I told him I cared for my and my child’s safety and this action of asking the passengers to get down midway on an almost deserted road was wrong. Meanwhile my child kept asking ” Why have we got down?”
As I made him quiet and told the driver that this was incorrect suddenly I told him if he was right he could come with me to the nearest police constable or traffic policeman and I will pay him in front of him.
The driver sternly told me to get into the auto and he would take me to the police station to solve this matter.
I dared not step inside and told him that I will walk with my son and he could come along and kept my 100 rupee note inside my wallet.
My little one screamed, ” Accha ki mumma”
I gestured towards my son to be quiet and kept walking briskly towards the next road hoping I will see more crowd or an individual in police uniform if I required help.
And suddenly I was worried; I was concerned what if the driver came back and removed a knife, what if he had an acid bottle. You would think I was thinking or imagining too much. Probably, but the recent year’s reports have made me more alert and skeptical too, even though I consider myself to be an optimist.
I turned back to check if the driver was coming and I decided I will pay his billed amount and not argue.
When I was at the next signal where there was more light, more traffic and more people I asked myself why I hadn’t clicked picture of the auto driver or the vehicle number. Instinctively I had reacted as a protective mum. Least of all I wanted my child to be harmed due to my imaginary act of bravery.
Within ten minutes we found another auto, the driver wearing typical attire where you would recognize his religion. It really didn’t matter as I was more keen on reaching home safely.
As we reached home my son asked me what made the earlier auto uncle to leave us midway. I really had no explanation but I did feel it was time to explain only two kinds of beings exist in the modern world when it comes to people.
Insaan aur Haivan.(Humans and Devils). These two categories are more than enough to determine our character under every situation in front of anyone.
I do not think we require any further categories of people based on background, language, region or religion.