Thursday, June 23, 2005

Modes and prices of transport

Mumbai was warm and humid when I went there sometime during the last couple of weeks. I took an early morning taxi to the airport from my home - courtesy my company. It was nice to sit and watch no traffic roads as the driver played some devotional music. Bangalore roads never looked so good in the recent past...We just cruised at 60-80 kmph.

After the routine checks, usual "Hi", plastic smiles from the mini clad airhostess and a smooth flight I was at Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport at 8:30am. My destination in Mumbai was JW Marriott, Juhu. I decided to take the prepaid taxi. The price was a whopping 450 Rs. I thought the place was far off but to my surprise it hardly took 20 mins after passing through the signals.

After the meeting, it was time to catch the flight back home in the night. I asked the reception of the 5 star hotel, if they can drop me to the airport. The beautiful receptionist replied in an elegant and beautiful voice that they would charge 1200 Rs to drop me to the airport in an AC Toyota Corolla car. I almost said "Pagal hai kya...kisko chu**** bana rahe ho". But I resisted and walked out of the hotel. Just then I met another participant who was also with me during the meeting. He was traveling to Bangalore but knew Mumbai well. We decided to take an auto rickshaw to the airport. He had spent 250 Rs on the taxi in the morning from airport to hotel. This time I almost said "Mein chu**** ban gaya". The auto rickshaw had the jing jang speakers playing hit bollywood numbers. I also got to look around easily to see the busy people of this great city. At the airport as we got down from the rickshaw the meter read 3.30 Rs. I was wondering what it meant as my new friend gave a 50Rs note and got 17Rs back. Yes, multiply 3.3 by 10 and that’s the bill. The Mumbai metro would have got us near the airport for 7Rs. Oops...450, 250, 1200, 33 and 7 for the same distance in different modes. Of course this is to be expected.

I was back at home by 10:30pm in a company booked taxi. This time the driver played Radio city 91FM.

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