Tuesday, August 09, 2005

rickshaw fight

ok, so i've fallen a bit behind. not a whole lot of stuff to report anyway. even in india, new and exciting things don't happen every day. but there have been a few mildly interesting happenings:

a rickshaw driver corralled us coming out of a club at the usual 11pm ejection time and insisted he knew of a place that 1) was open until 2am, and that 2) he could get us in for free, instead of us paying the high cover. V and B seemed more enthusiastic about this than i did, and in particular, i never trust auto-rickshaw drivers. B made it clear that we should know that there's always a risk of the auto taking us to somewhere we'd be jumped by thugs, but this did not particularly concern me. i was more concerned about clearly negotiating the terms of our contract with the driver.

our agreement turned out like this:
he takes us to the place
1) if we don't like the place, he brings us back, we pay "whatever we want"
2) if we can't get in for free, he brings us back, we pay nothing.
3) if it closes before 2am, he brings us back, we pay nothing.
4) if all of the above works out he waits for us, we pay him the cover charge for one person, or 300 rupees. this is a damn good fare.

during our drive i reviewed the contract with our driver a few times. "yes, yes" was the constant refrain. along the way, he tried upselling us, offering hookers and drugs at ridiculous prices. i declined for all of us.

we arrived at a very posh hotel, and the driver walked us in and took us to the "secret free entrance" which was neither secret nor free. the charge was 300 each, and we could get in for 15 more minutes and be served no more drinks. obviously our driver was completely full of shit. "take us home", i said. even though our agreement said we should pay him nothing, i knew this would cause grief, so i decided i would pay him 70, which is slightly more than the usual fare for the journey we took. more than fair, yes?

no. i gave the driver the money and he looked disgusted and shoved the cash back in my face. he wanted 500. he said something along the lines that we didn't have to pay his "service charge", but we still owned him his fare. that it wasn't his fault the place was closed?! what an asshole. the security guy from my building came out and a full on argument ensued. the fight was mostly in kannada so i couldn't understand most of it, but B told me that the security guy was saying we should pay the driver, which i find kind of hard to believe would be true. why would he take the side of a rickshaw driver (notoriously corrupt) over the guy who lives in the building he works in? V as usual gave the racist explanations that indians will always help indians over the white man, something i've seen proven false time and again. anyway, B was making the stupid argument that we paid him 70 and that's a good rate for the distance travelled, rather than pointing out that the agreement called for paying him nothing. i told the guys it was time to stop dealing with this pinhead and go inside. we did and mere seconds later the guy was pounding on my door and ringing the bell. this went on for half an hour. i was annoyed that building "security" had let this guy in at all. V disabled my doorbell. eventually the driver got tired and went home. this kind of thing just happens with rickshaw drivers from time to time. it's best to use the meter when you can (nearly impossible late at night) and not bother with "special agreements", which are seemingly never binding if they don't work out in the drivers favor.

1 comment:

Harish said...

I wouldnt be surprised if mafia comes bangaing on your door soon!