Me : Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road. He thinks for a while and shakes his head. Me (attempt 2) : Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road. Rs. 20/- extra, he replies. I walk away. It takes about 8-10 more attempts to find an auto-rickshaw driver who is willing to go for meter fare. Soon enough, due to various reasons, I am forced to take a cab. It might be slightly more expensive, but at least they come and then behave themselves. Also, I don't keep getting bounced up and down in the craters of Bangalore like a particularly frisky ball ..... or so I thought until a couple of them went over speed breakers as if they were a product of mirages ending in me hitting my head on top and my spine when I hit the seat again. Sorry Madam. Sure, my head and spine are fixed with that one simple word "Sorry". All my problems have disappeared. But mind you, the kink in my head has not been fixed the way they do in movies. I need to cherish and take care of whatever little matter I have inside that box, so what if it is grey. Soon enough I revert to the auto rickshaw. No use paying so much if I still have to do an imitation of said frisky ball. After a few more experiences, I decide to disobey the surgeon who said (in the manner of a school principal) : No two wheeler. Me: But ...... S: No two wheeler Me: How can I ............... S (putting on his school principal act) : No two wheeler. Now what did I tell you? Repeat it? Hmm..... I make a mental note to give this school principal's advice a try again. Meanwhile the petrol charges go higher. Tariffs are increased. The minimum fare by auto is Rs. 25/-. If I take a cab to go visit my mom during off peak hours, I pay Rs. 175/-. If I take an autorickshaw, I pay Rs. 162/- or whatever the meter is tampered to show. However, I have been ditched at awkward hours in awkward places by cab drivers who did not show up. I guess the demand for cabs has gone up ever since the rates of auto-rickshaws pulled up to near par. Me: Banaswadi. Rs. 20/- extra Me: Do I look crazy to you? For that fare I can take a cab. I start to walk off. He calls me back and takes me for meter fare. This morning one more refused to ply to the hospital. So did the second. The second one did not get off so lucky. You refuse to ply someone to hospital? What is the use of having such a nice autorickshaw if you won't even use it for a good purpose? Catch myself wanting to say something more, so just say Bless you, you'll do very well in life. It is a sight I never thought I would ever see on the face of an autorickshaw driver. He looked sheepish first, then guilty. I just walked off and found another one. Just as I was getting in, what do I see? This guy just whizzed off from there as if mad dogs were after him. "What is it?", it makes me wonder. The autorickshaw tariffs have almost caught up with cab rates. Still they tamper with their meters, demand extra fare on top of that, refuse to ply. They'd rather sit and chat or sleep, but they don't want to do some honest work and earn good money. Is it "need" or is it "greed"? Or is it just down to some "old habits refusing to kick the bucket"? As for me, if I can live without them, I shall lead a happier even if a shorter existence - God willing. So except for going to the hospital (I don't want to be made to stand outside the classroom by the principal for being caught flouting orders), I take my two wheeler and go where I will, when I will. Days when I don't feel upto it, it is back to the imitation of the frisky ball in an auto/cab. The only difference is these days there are more auto drivers who agree to go for the meter fare after trying their luck at fleecing the customer - may be all sensible folks travel by cabs.