Whatever the case, these three wheelers form an indelible part of the Indian city landscape. Through narrow roads, crowded streets, early mornings, late evenings, for every occasion, the Indian ‘auto’ rides them all !
On the way to Goa, we spotted some ‘hard top’ auto rickshaws, with doors et al. Wonder why ! That seems to be a variant of the konkan region. Colourful, ‘decorated’, interior worked, these hard topped vehicles looked majestic seen in the backdrop of the pristine mountains and roads !
Notice the spade work on the door ! The curtains inside. And those elaborate frills that adorn the drivers seat. Not to miss the ornate name board on the ‘forehead’ ! Perhaps the hard top and doors comes in handy during the monsoons, when the rains would hit mother Earth with persistent ferocity !
The Mumbai autorickshaw is a study in contrast. Functional. Fast. And sometimes, just way too omnipresent. Especially if you are stuck in a jam ! And when it rains, the resourceful auto ‘driver’ just pulls the string to roll down a tarpaulin / leather / rexine / plastic sheet, to shield the passengers from rain. If rain water makes it through this, which happens invariably, too bad for you!!
All said and done, the auto rickshaw define a city to many a traveller. For it is them and their drivers that you come in contact with as soon as you set foot in a city !! Just ask a non-tamilian’s about his first trip to Chennai, and i can bet you that there would be an invariable mention of the auto rickshaw at central station !
That said, did you know that auto rickshaw runs in the UK as well ? (with seat belts, shock absorbers et al) ! Well, at least that’s what the papers said back then. And i blogged about it two years back ! You can read it here.
If there was a permanent fixture on Indian roads, (other than potholes), it would be the good old auto rickshaw ! And for all of three wheels, they can get spinning like nobodys business !
Alright, it is a three wheel drive ! But one that could give all four wheel drives a run for their money, within the city ! This Indian Auto truly shows, who is the king of the Indian road !