‘Hungry auto’ and some more

Few more traffic terms and observations since the last post.

What is a “hungry auto“? Its easy to find one. In fact, all three “types” of autos are easy to spot. ‘Stationary autos‘ are found near – usually right under – the ‘no parking’ signs (Find some proof right here). ‘Racing autos’ are around whenever you hear ear shattering Ptrrrr noises. But when you see a slow moving auto on the edge of the road, sshhhh, do not disturb, you found a hungry auto on the prowl, looking for passengers. They go as slow as the Bajaj 150 cc engine allows. Honks don’t bother them, in fact hungry autos are important members of the Indian traffic food chain as they discourage overtaking from left. Try passing slow moving trucks from left, more often than not, a hungry auto is likely to pour cold water over your efforts.

Now for some special types of bike and scooter riders.

Bent-head riders: If you watch one from behind, you would think the guy fell asleep on his ride! However, biking isn’t that boring an activity. These kanjoos riders cant afford a hands-free set. So while they ride, they carry on with mobile phone conversations by clutching the phone between their ear and shoulders. Naturally, they appear like sleeping over their own shoulders. I prefer to call them bent-head riders.

Hip-swaying bikers: These folks practice Bharatnatyam during their rides. Though the focus is on swaying the hips. One swing right, bike follows right, another swing left, bike falls in tune and turns left with them. Unfortunately, instead of appreciating their display of synchronized man machine dances, ordinary folks tag them as rash riders.

Amphibian bikers: These bikers can survive on roads as well as footpaths. They realize and make use of the fact that footpaths provide more open space than roads. While being regular on-road bikers when roads offer space, amphibians convert to motorized pedestrians the moment making any progress gets difficult.

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7 Responses

  1. I too have noticed this very interesting observation you have made about bike riders and autos..I like the names you have coined..funny and apt..I am one of those amphibian riders..at times only!!

  2. thanks Pranam (thats an interesting alias). Avoid riding on footpaths if you can :)

  3. clueless auto is one who is undetermined in which direction to go till the last minute (or sometimes even later) — they may be going straight and will suddenly turn right or left or sometimes take an U turn. Be careful of them. These are generally slow and tentative with a head poking out of the auto….

  4. I covered that in a previous post as “hand of god”. Auto folks never change lanes without timely indication. Just that this indication comes in form of a rather quick drop of hand left or right. “hand of god” types.

  5. [...] It’s been a while since the last post on Indian traffic terms. Here are some more in the series. Dancing hands: Ever tried to overtake a truck the wrong way, I mean from the left? When you do this, you invariably find a hand dancing out of co-driver’s window. This ‘dancing hand‘ flash out a multitude of signals, but no traffic manual has them documented. So, a hand going in sine waves could either mean ‘go ahead, pass’, or say ‘oh wait, the truck is cutting left’. The fun is in interpreting a dancing hand the way you want and then taking a chance. A frantic hand going in circles is usually the signal that this lorry is in the mood to race you. I haven’t figured all the signals, but know for sure that absence of ‘a dancing hand’ usually means the co-driver is busy having a drink or meal. Leaking two-wheelers: Our powerful ‘red lights’ do manage to hold a lot of vehicles, but while the counter ticks down, and as and when opportunity arises, ‘drops’ of two wheelers sneak out from the ‘ocean’ of stationary automobiles. I call this the phenomena of ‘leaking two-wheelers‘. It is on display at every intersection in Bangalore, Pune and every other city. Sometimes, ‘leaking’ isn’t a luxury for two wheelers alone, three wheelers and city buses try it too. [...]

  6. [...] it clubs you! The chaos called Indian traffic has patterns if you spot them (see lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, etc), and several groups, call them clubs, if you observe the group dynamisms on [...]

  7. The most inconvenient thing about these “hungry autos” is that they will block your way if you’re trying to cross the road, because the fact that you’re standing on the road staring at the incoming traffic seems to suggest to them that you’re looking for an auto and so they’ll quietly slow down and stop in front of you just as you’re about to cross!

    I’ve observed two Murphy’s Laws:
    1. The hungry auto is to be seen most often when you’re not looking for an auto (whereas, when you’re really looking for an auto, you’ll have to waste time haggling with stationary/racing autos neither of which will take you to your destination at an agreeable fare)
    2. When waiting to cross a road full of traffic, the time when the hungry auto will arrive in front of you and slow down is just when the road had cleared and you were about to step on the road to cross it.

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