Search this site
It was Monday, the start of another week. After enjoying two days at home I had to return to the metropolis where I worked. I savoured the three-hour bus ride on the expressway. On reaching the metropolis, I hailed an autorickshaw to take me to my office. It was only a 20-minute ride.
I had a nagging suspicion that the auto driver was taking me for a ride. I had been in the metropolis for six months since my company transferred me here. I always visited my hometown on weekends. On Mondays, I took an early bus to reach the bus station at the metropolis and from there an auto to my office. The fare was around 80 rupees. I had become quite accustomed to these journeys, and had become quite familiar with the surroundings.
But the auto driver was driving on a road which was unfamiliar and the surroundings did not strike any chord. Maybe he is following a shorter route, I thought to myself. En route, the auto driver pointed out landmarks of the city as though he were a travel guide. He had recognized I was a stranger in these parts - these auto drivers have an uncanny knack of recognizing strangers from natives.
Even after 30 minutes when I could see no sight of my office, I began to get worried. There was no doubt now that he was taking me for a ride. He was following a longer route to charge me a higher fare. But I could do nothing about it now.
After nearly 40 minutes of driving, the familiar buildings and restaurants began to show up. Five minutes later we were at the gates of my office.
"How much is the fare?" I asked him, quite sure he would demand nothing less than 150 rupees.
My guess wasn't far from the mark. He demanded 121 rupees.
I had been expecting it but I did not want to leave without giving him a piece of my mind.
"Hey, you think I am an absolute stranger in these parts? You are wrong; I have been here for six months now. I am certain you purposely followed a longer route to charge me more," I told him.
The man listened with his head bowed down as though overcome by remorse. I felt happy that I was making an impression. Maybe my reprimand will reform him, I thought.
I removed my wallet, counted 120 rupees and handed the money to him.
A few more words will rub it in well and good, I thought. "If you think you can do business by cheating people, you are wrong. No one will travel in your cab."
The man listened without uttering a single word of protest; his head was still bowed down.
I had reformed him! there wasn't any need to say anything more. It is always better not to overdo things. I made to go. He called me and said, "The fare is 121 rupees. You have to pay me one more rupee."
I dug into my pockets, removed a one-rupee coin, gave it to him, and without another word crossed over to the other side of the gate into the safe zone of my office building.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu