Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nightmare on an autorickshaw

Nightmare on an autorickshaw

A woman passenger's encounter with depravity

A first-person account of a horrid experience that an autorickshaw user had

Bangalore: It was broad daylight on a busy road which usually has several traffic policemen. To my misfortune, there were none that day.
It was at 11.30 am, Tuesday. I boarded an autorickshaw from Sarjapur Road for MG Road.
Just five minutes after I boarded the vehicle, the driver started acting weird. He took his left hand off the handle. He began driving the rick with one hand.
Soon his left hand slid down his thigh and began moving peculiarly. I was scared — would he hit other vehicles on the road?
To my horror, I realised that he was running his hand all over his crotch. I became conscious that every two minutes, he was looking at me in the rear-view mirror.
I couldn't think what best to do, and pretended I did not know what he was up to. Things got worse, he stretched his left leg out on to the road. It dangled there. He then took his right hand also off the handle and began pandiculating. Suddenly, he began pulling at his hair.
I was so scared, I could not think of ways to get out of the ugly situation. I wanted to stop the autorickshaw, but was scared whether the man would attack me.
I desperately began trying to call my friends on my mobile. For 15 minutes, I kept trying. All my friends' phones were engaged. Then, I could get across to one of my friends and I told him about the situation. I asked him to keep talking to me till I reached my destination.
Even as I was talking on the phone, the man's behaviour only got uglier. He started unbuttoning his shirt and was cautiously listening to my conversation with my friend. Realising that I was probably scared, he began laughing and started talking to himself. Every two minutes, he left the handle and shook like he was having tremors. This scared me even further. I could do nothing as I could see no traffic policemen around and I was unsure if the public would help me.
I then tried to memorise the DL number and auto registration number, but in vain. I went blank and all I could do was catch his name: Siddaraju.
I was 15 minutes away from office and the man then started bending backwards and trying to look at the metre, which had not moved above Rs 14. All this continued even as the autorickshaw halted at several traffic signals.
After noticing that the metre was not working, he muttered and began using foul language. The moment I reached my destination, I jumped off the vehicle, hurled a Rs 100 note at him and ran towards the safety of a building nearby, without even turning back to give the man a second look.
It dawned slowly on me that if I had stayed composed and not reacted with such anger and incomprehension, I might have been able to lodge a complaint against the man by recollecting the auto driver's license number and the vehicle's registration number.
The name has been withheld on request


At Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:32:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous sowmya said...

I wish the lady could have copied the name and registration and even the police ID which must be displayed inside the auto. I suggest everyone who may encounter these kinds of situations, not to memorize the number and name but text it in your mobile and to be safer send the sms to all your family and friends. Be alert. Be safe.


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