Remember the speeches made by the middle aged, honest and poor Hero ka baap/bhai in the 80s' movies? One in which they urged the Majdoor Union to use their non existent common sense and do the rightful rather than listening to the corrupt and misguiding Union Leader? Well, I found myself in similar shoes last week. The only difference this time though, was that I wasn't the victim of any subsequent factory accident or 'gaban ka aarop' and I didn't have to commit suicide. In fact, over here I was the one who won the battle. Yayyy!
No, this has nothing to do with my workplace. This happened at an auto rickshaw stand. I was going from Ahmedabad to Baroda and there is an auto stand just where the bus stops in Baroda. As usual the autowallahs crowd in front of the bus door ready to play 'Kaun Banega Customer-Lucky'. As I was the last person to get down, I met dozens of them looking at me like Prem Chopda does on seeing a girl in bikini. "Good Evening Chashme wale bhaisaab! Welcome....Chalo idhar aa jao...auto taiyaar hai...baith jao jaldi jaldi....batao kidhar chalna hai...chalo saamaan rakh do andar", literally commanded one of the oversmart types who was also by far the tallest of the lot. I conveniently ignored him because I knew he would not go by meter. But he did not reciprocate in kind and followed me till I stopped near the farthest autowallah from the bus.
"Chikuwadi.....chaloge?", I asked.
"Hello bhaisaab, haan chalo baith jao...Forty Rupees only...", came the reply from behind. It was the same oversmart chap. The one I had asked didn't say anything and kept looking at the tall guy instead as if waiting for his permission.
"Chaloge ki nahi?", I asked again.
"Chalo bhaisaab, aa jao bola to...chalo jaldi jaldi baith jao", interrupted the tall guy again and this time he tried to take my bag off my shoulder.
"Tum se poochha kya?" The irritation was conspicuous in my tone as well as in the yank of the bag. I turned back to the other guy and asked again,"Bolo, chalna hai? Meter se chalna hai to bolo".
"Forty Rupees se kam me koi nahi jayega, jana hai to baitho nahi to badho aage". It was the tall guy once again. Clearly, while they were spoken to me, the orders this time were actually for the autowallahs.
I was in no mood to give up either. I knew the actual fare would not exceed Rs.25 and so paying Rs.40 that too to a jerk like him was totally out of question. I ignored him once again and walked further down the road to stop an auto which had just arrived. This one easily agreed to go by the meter. Because of the annoyance caused by now, while getting inside the auto I blurted out loud,"Lo mil gaya meter se jaane wala. Ab tum badho aage!"
Suddenly I heard the tall guy shouting out - "Oye ruk! Tu nahi le jayega isko. Koi nahi le jayega isko." My auto driver obeyed. I came out of the auto in exasperation. By now most of the other passengers of the bus had found their conveyance. (Yeah, this does tell you that I was the only fool to land into such a situation :D )
And then I found myself delivering a 'bhaashan' that would have made Barack Obama proud. The one minute masala speech had drama, action, emotion and now that I think of it, even comedy in it. I will let the contents of the speech be a secret in order to hold on to whatever little respect you have for me. The only hint I can give is that maine unke zameer ko lalkaara aur imaan ko dhikkara . The interesting thing here though, was that about 14-15 odd autowallahs intently listened to what I said. And although I wasn't applauded or anything, I was able to convince 4-5 of them to forsake the tall guy and echo my words. Which also means that I was able to convince them to give me a ride and charge as per the meter. The tall guy could all but stare at me in rage. The only intelligent thing that I did during the whole incident was to waste no time and leave before the matter could become more serious. Sometimes, just sometimes, even bhaashanbaaji works!!
Warning: The stunt performed in the above post was carried out by a crackpot. Readers are requested not to try this for their own safety :P