Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun With Auto Drivers!

In Bangalore I have finally met the "please let me take you to this emporium" auto drivers.

They tell me that they will get books for their children, shirts for their backs, cans of petrol for their autos, if I will only take the time to stop into one or two stores.

They're quite persuasive. But it's like being asked to give up a seat on an airplane... that is, if you wait long enough, they start offering stuff.

Like free rides.

So I, ever the rupee-counter, have been having some fun with these auto drivers. Once we get the money thing settled up, I'll happily go into whatever emporium they suggest. They even tell me what to say at the counter ("just got off the airplane, isn't India wonderful?" etc.), and I dutifully agree.

And then I traipse into these posh little stores and get waited on hand-and-foot. Oh, yes, I've just arrived in India. Yes, from the U.S. Texas, in fact. Or Kansas. Oh, these silk scarves are beautiful! Yes, I'd love to try that on! Of course, chai would be lovely.

And then, after the necessary five minutes, I turn around and hurry out. Urgent phone call. Or maybe I forgot I had a cinema to get to. At one, I just tossed my hair and said "bye, boys!"

The only catch is that the things in these shops are really nice. Much nicer than the stuff they sell on the street. I saw a set of ivory elephants that practically made me drool, and I had to remind myself that ivory is un-environmental and cruel to animals.

And those boys do know how to pick a scarf to match my eyes.

Hmmm. I wonder how many cans of petrol the driver would get if I actually bought something?


Beth said...

Ohhh that sounds fun. I was never brave enough to toy with them - I just got angry and stomped off to find another driver. One in Bangalore actually told us the book shop we want to go to was closed during the middle of the day and instead we should go to his friend's shop. It took us four tries that day before we found someone who would take us. Totally worth it, though - one of the best bookstores I've ever been to.

ctrlalteredmind said...

um, about the cans of petrol, my guess is that they will get none..

(because most auto rickshaws in india afaik run on single-cylinder diesel engines, lol)