By Manuwant Choudhary
The autowallah has always fascinated me and if I was a Bollywood director I'd cast Amitabh Bachan as an autowallah !
But I don't like the auto.....
As an aam aadmee I do have to take the auto and now you have even Diesel-run auto's which are larger.
Like before the fuel price hike I took this auto which could seat four at the back but just then the autowallah found five more passengers and he asked all of them to sit in the front.
And surprisingly all five agreed....so one by one they all pushed onto the front row....at first it looked like this was impossible but the autowallah knows the art of `squeeze or `shift' and `shift' he did, until the autowallah asked if everyone was in and a passenger replied, "Haan, haan, bas aap utaar jayen.." (yes, yes, except now you can get off !)
In fact, even if you see an empty auto going somewhere you will notice the auto wallah always sits on the edge, never at the centre, thinking of the imaginary passengers he is ferrying!
And his neck is always strained, towards the lanes and bylanes, as he chugs along, slowing down every two seconds and stopping all traffic behind him. Honks and abuses don't bother him.
Almost the way our Prime Minister strains his neck to get FDIs from America...
But yesterday I took this auto and the usually silent autowallah was talking and no he was angry, really angry.
At first I thought the old man had a fight with his wife but when I heard him carefully he was angry at Dr. Manmohan Singh for raising fares.
This is what he said, "Hum sau rupaye kamate the ab woh bhi gaya aur passenger bhi kum hai......sab neeche waale ka paisa jodte hain...aur upar waale MP aor MLA apna wetan badhate hain to koi kuch nahin bolta..." (I used to earn Rs.100 per day but now I don't, and there are fewer passengers as well. Everyone questions what someone below him earns but they don't question what someone above them gets. I know how MPs and MLAs raised their salaries but no one complained...)
If the Indian economy was really so bad then how is it that the MPs keep increasing their salaries and perks?
One argument has always been that give an MP a decent salary and he will become honest.
Now we all know.....give an MP a decent salary and he will want coal, spectrum, gas......
The above chart courtesy telegucolours shows the salary hike in 2010....