1. Even if you stink at bargaining in every other scenario, you soon learn to bargain with auto-walas or you face being broke.
2. You wear comfortable shoes because you don’t know how long you’ll have to wait before you manage to get an auto.
3. You’re familiar with their routines – till what time they wait in the morning, lunch time, ‘I won’t get an auto here now’ time.
4. People sitting in autos, while you’re waiting for one, look smug as hell when they pass you by.
5. You try to avoid looking smug as hell while sitting in an auto, when you see others trying to hail the auto.
6. Sometimes you can’t help but feel silly when you try to hail an auto and there are people inside it. It’s an odd moment.
7. Auto-walas try and talk to you but sometimes you can barely hear them because of the traffic so you just keep smiling and nodding.
8. You get to know your regular auto-walas pretty well over time. They also agree to pick or drop you to and from places they usually avoid.
9. Some auto-walas get offended if you choose your headphones over their conversation. They don’t hesitate to let you know that.
10. Auto-walas are of all kinds – some are sweet and helpful and some are spawns of Satan out to make your life a living hell.
11. Sometimes, they’re at a distinct advantage. There are many people around and no autos. You pay way more than you should.
12. Once in a while you come across a newbie who doesn’t know how much to charge; if you have a heart, you don’t take advantage of him. If you do, tut tut.
13. Apparently politics or hometowns are the best topics of conversation when you’re stuck in traffic with an auto-wala as your companion.
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14. You check to make sure you have ‘change’ or you’ll be left approaching unhelpful people asking them for change.
15. You know never to approach auto-walas when they’re standing together. Not only do they ask higher prices, they literally mob you.
16. You learn to have a last look inside the auto when you get out; most likely, you’ve lost a few things in the many rides you’ve taken.
17. Some days auto-walas treat you like you have a communicable disease. All of them refuse to go to your destination with a firm shake of their heads.
18. There are those auto-walas who are very proud of their vehicles. The good part: they keep the autos well-maintained. The bad part: driving like they’re in F1.
19. An auto strike spells disaster for you. Your entire day is ruined and by the time evening rolls around you feel like you’ve had the most tiring day ever.
20. Some auto-walas ask for more money in ‘ingenious’ ways – ‘wahan se wapas sawari nahin milti’, ‘chai ke liye paise to de do’, ‘traffic bahut hai’, etc.
21. No matter how mad you get at them from time to time, you know auto-walas have a rough life so sometimes you indulge them with a tip.
22. You don’t really realize it, but you call them by their vehicle name. If you see one, you yell out, “Auto!!!” If the driver isn’t looking in your direction, “Auto! Khali hain?”