"Central jaana hai..kitna?"
"kya??? jaake aane ka nahi hai, sirf jaane ka bhai"
"haa madam..60 hotha..."
i walked away as i never want to pay 60 bucks for less than 3 km distance..
"boliye madam kitna dete..."
autowala looked at me as if i was trading for his liver...and replied in harshest of voices i ever heard.."meter pe 30 hota. 25 mein kya aata madam??"
"theek hai fir meter daalo...."
the autowala took it as a challenge to prove me wrong that it is not 25.
finally i reached my destination and the meter showed 28.
"dekha madam...aap bole 25,,,meter mein 28 hua.."
"arey bhayya 25 se 28 kaafi achcha hai...aap tho 60 maang rahe the,,,woh kya naa insaafi hai...."
autowala took 30 bucks and zoomed off!
This was everyday ordeal in Hyderabad. either stand, wait for bus, get soaked in sun, swim in traffic and pay 10 bucks or just get into the autorickshaw and pay how much ever they ask. sometimes they might just quote three to four times of the actual price. either pay and suffer or don't pay and still suffer.
This is the fate of a vehicle-less "me" in hyderabad! where is my India that I left a year and half ago.
coolie asks me 80 bucks for one suitcase!
the paper boy takes 6 bucks to sell the paper (i worked for it) that screams on front page saying Rs 3.
i need to buy water bottle for Rs 17 and if i am in railway station it may range anywhere from 20-25.
1 kg of vegetables costed me Rs 60 from a roadside vendor.
the sickest of all is, i ended up paying service charge in all hotels which i never heard of!
These figures seem to be in single and double digits. But what bothers me more is, how can a middle class family survive in India now? Poor families are anyways suffering. God save them :(.
I might have returned from USA. But I am not rich to blow my money on AC taxis and luxury hotels. I wondered how a common man lived in India?
Where is the country that I left? Why everyone wants to earn beyond their limits? From paperboy to politician, every person is trying to earn that extra buck in a wrong way. The corruption just infiltrated to the grassroots. nobody cares about those who live on just salaries! how will a common man who lives on a monthly salary, survives in India?
Everything is pricy. Everything is costly. Everything is beyond reach. In the 2 months of my stay, I had to fight with autowalas, vegetable vendors, paper boys, coolies, vendors in railway stations, road rash morons, the queue breakers..and who not. i sounded like a screaming-yelling woman fighting with every moron on the road. Finally it just resulted in a throat soar and nothing else.
India was not perfect when I left, but it was not this imperfect too!
I miss my old India....Jai Hind.