May 05, 2009

Everybody cheats thambi

I took an auto-rickshaw yesterday near the city outskirts on a share basis as I could not wait any longer under the scorching sun. A lady got into the auto at the next stage and she looked like the typical woman from the jhopadpattis (slums) with a white ration card in her hand. She asked the driver how much he would charge to drop her at a particular place to which he said five rupees. She told him that she had never given more than four bucks to any rickshaw fellow. What followed was a very interesting conversation between the two, one which started with the rising prices, the scorching summer and the loot done by people, finally gave way to politics and the poor-man-friendly government. It's a first hand account of how the actual illiterate Indian masses think.

I have translated it to English for reading convenience, but retained Telugu lingo here and there,

Lady: How much till Tolichowki?
Driver: Five rupees
Lady: It's just four, right?
Driver: No amma. It's five. I have been running this auto since 2003.
Lady: Auto drivers are looting public.
Driver: Ayyo amma, not auto drivers. It is public who is looting.
Lady: Public?
Driver: Yes

Both went silent for a couple of minutes until the lady started shouting again.

Lady: They asked me to come at 3 O'Clock in the afternoon. $%&&@#.
Driver: Who?
Lady: The people selling 2 Rs. per kilo rice at the counters. I went in the morning and they asked me to come back at 3 in this heat. It is so far from here. #$&$@#.
Driver: Why do you have to go so far to buy it? There will be counters at your house also.
Lady: Ayyo ledu thambi. They asked me to come. Government gives subsidised rice among others and these people... #$&$@# they eat it off without giving it to us. &%$#@
Driver: Who gives what?
Lady: Arey. Government gives rice thambi. And they cheat.
Driver: Who doesn't love money amma! People gather near money like flies. That is how it is. People loot.
Lady: Who? People? People do not cheat.
Driver: They take money from political parties to vote in their favour but finally vote for someone else. Everybody cheats.
Lady: No. I did not take money to vote.
Driver: Every 5 out of 10 are like that amma. It is true.
Lady: Everybody loots - government and people. #$%&@
Stop here thambi.

I was looking at her hand curiously when she got down from the auto to see how much she would pay him for the ride. And, guess how much she paid? Five rupees thambi!

1 comment:

  1. This conversation is very nice..good one.