TWENTY-FIRST MAY 1991 – A TRIP DOWN THE MEMORY LANE


Twenty-first May 1991 will remain etched in my memory for ever. Yes, on this day the most monstrous murder of Ravjiv Gandhi and several others by a suicide bomber took place in a Chennai suburb, Sriperumbudur. Such political murders have taken place in our country much too often. Rajiv’s mother Indira Ghandhi was assassinated by her own security guards. A year after he got us the independence, the Father of the Nation Mahathma Gandhi too was brutally murdered. That way Rajiv’s murder is one among the long list of gruesome murders and it shouldn’t stir up my mind every year. But there is a reason why this murder kindles my thoughts every year. Between 1988 and 1991, I was working at the National Clearing Cell (NCC) and was part of a team that worked between 10 PM and 6 AM on night shifts to manually sort the cheques in the clearing house. I hope you know how the clearing of cheques was done at the NCC, a highly automated and computerized entity. The hullabaloo and the commotion that was part of the Clearing House at the Annexe Building was history by then. The high speed sorters and the high speed printers had replaced the dust and din of the traditional clearing functions. Excepting on days when we confronted glitches in the automated system, the shift would be over by midnight or the early hours of the next day and we would be dropped home by the Bank’s van. We followed the procedure of dropping our sister-colleagues first and follow a route that encompassed the Bank’s residential colonies – PH ROAD, KK NAGAR and BESANT NAGAR. As we get dropped daily we had the chance to glance through the night life of Chennai. Since it was a team work and a team work aimed at closing early, there was absolute camaraderie amongst us irrespective of the cadre. There was seriousness and there was fun. There was humor and there was hilarity and there was harmony and there was dissonance. Those were my most joyous days and to me it was memorable mix work and pleasure. While I am unable to recall all the names of people with whom I worked and shared a healthy relationship, I remember few of them by name. M.Hariharan, R.Bhakthvatchalu, Wajihuddin, Rajavelu Mudaliar, Mani. Mahendran are the workmen staff and Kaza Sudakar, Ganesh, R.Gandhi are the officer staff whom I am able to recall as of now. Hope others will pardon me. I think I am digressing. I must come to the point why Twenty-first May 1991 will remain etched in my memory for ever. Yes on that day we were saved from the rioting mob by the brave, thoughtful and skillful driving of the Driver of the Vanl, Mr. Balasubramanian, an ex-serviceman. But for his skillful drive we would have been attacked and harmed by the mob which was protesting the murder of Rajiv Gandhi that took place few hours ago. As we left NCC around midnight we were aware of the sad news. Yet we ventured to get dropped without knowing the gravity of the situation outside. The first dropping point was KK Nagar quarters and as we passed through the Kodambakkam Over Bridge, we could see cars and four wheelers burning on either side of Arcot Road. This was a warning for us for not to proceed further. Yet, we drove down further for fear that our van would be mobbed and burnt if we choose to stop or reverse. There was the stone- throwing and torch wielding-mob right in front of our van threatening to burn down our van. But our driver Balu called upon us to duck for cover from the stones and missiles thrown at us and drove fast on the road taking a zigzag path to escape from the mob. By driving fast, he was able to scare the mob and move ahead of the chasing crowd. At the ‘power house’ bus stop a large boulder hit the wind screen and was smashed. A large casurina pole was also thrown into the van. Braving all these attacks, Balu drove fast and reached the Ashok Nagar Police station. At the Police Station there was none to take our complaint and the few cops who were guarding the station told us to drive away to a safer place. Perhaps Police Station was not a safe place then. Continuing our perilous journey we reached the KK Nagar staff quarters and took refuge in the premises of our Quarters. Thank God, all of us escaped unscathed. I remember the Gentleman who gave us the refuge. It was P.R.Srinivasan, the Khadi-clad Gandhian popularly known by his initials, PRS. At the dead of the night he entertained us with tea and snacks and we shared with him our escapade from the marauding mobs that went about destroying public and private properties that night. By all accounts it was a harrowing experience for us and I can say that we did escape from the jaws of horror on that night thanks to Balu, who drove the van skillfully and with presence of mind and saved our lives. I will be happy if someone who shared that chilling experience could throw more light.

– Mushtaq Ahamed

Chennai..Madras..A Flashback


Chennai – 372 years young – NEW Pictures of OLD Chennai

The streets in 1961 in and around Kothawal Chavadi, the city's wholesale vegetable and food produce market founded in 1803 in Black Town, now George Town, were always scenes of congestion created by handcart men, headload carriers and lorry drivers all competing for space during the day. It was only when the market moved to the western suburb of Koyambedu in 1996 that this congestion eased a little.
The streets in 1961 in and around Kothawal Chavadi, the city’s wholesale vegetable and food produce market founded in 1803 in Black Town, now George Town, were always scenes of congestion created by handcart men, headload carriers and lorry drivers all competing for space during the day. It was only when the market moved to the western suburb of Koyambedu in 1996 that this congestion eased a little.
The streets in 1961 in and around Kothawal Chavadi, the city's wholesale vegetable and food produce market founded in 1803 in Black Town, now George Town, were always scenes of congestion created by handcart men, headload carriers and lorry drivers all competing for space during the day. It was only when the market moved to the western suburb of Koyambedu in 1996 that this congestion eased a little.
A view of the flyover coming up over Gemini Circle, in July 1972. The landmark construction has stood the test of time in traffic planning.
A view of the flyover coming up over Gemini Circle, in July 1972. The landmark construction has stood the test of time in traffic planning.
The ornamental Doric column in the High Court campus was the support for Madras’ second lighthouse, built in 1841. After the High Court was built in 1892, this lighthouse moved to its tallest tower in 1894 (on extreme left) till a new lighthouse was built in the late 1970s on the Marina. The pillar lighthouse, seen here in 1962, still stands tall east of the High Court buildings but bereft of its light.
A view of the flyover coming up over Gemini Circle, in July 1972. The landmark construction has stood the test of time in traffic planning.
The ornamental Doric column in the High Court campus was the support for Madras’ second lighthouse, built in 1841. After the High Court was built in 1892, this lighthouse moved to its tallest tower in 1894 (on extreme left) till a new lighthouse was built in the late 1970s on the Marina. The pillar lighthouse, seen here in 1962, still stands tall east of the High Court buildings but bereft of its light.
The ornamental Doric column in the High Court campus was the support for Madras’ second lighthouse, built in 1841. After the High Court was built in 1892, this lighthouse moved to its tallest tower in 1894 (on extreme left) till a new lighthouse was built in the late 1970s on the Marina. The pillar lighthouse, seen here in 1962, still stands tall east of the High Court buildings but bereft of its light.
Dr. A.V. Rajagopal’s house and clinic replaced Raghunatha Rao’s Krishna Vilas on West Mada Street (R.K. Mutt Road now) where national leaders met in December 1884 to discuss the formation of a national movement to seek freedom from the British. The discussions here and at Ranga Vilas in Egmore led to the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. That first discussion was marked with a plaque that long remained in Dr. Rajagopal’s clinic, but, sadly, vanished when the building was pulled down in the 1970s.
Dr. A.V. Rajagopal’s house and clinic replaced Raghunatha Rao’s Krishna Vilas on West Mada Street (R.K. Mutt Road now) where national leaders met in December 1884 to discuss the formation of a national movement to seek freedom from the British. The discussions here and at Ranga Vilas in Egmore led to the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. That first discussion was marked with a plaque that long remained in Dr. Rajagopal’s clinic, but, sadly, vanished when the building was pulled down in the 1970s.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then president of the Indian National Congress, on his arrival in Madras, in October 1936, is given a warm reception at Central Station. S. Satyamurti is seen on Nehru’s left, helping him to stand up. C. Rajagopalachari is seen just below Satyamurti and to his left, in dark glasses.
Dr. A.V. Rajagopal’s house and clinic replaced Raghunatha Rao’s Krishna Vilas on West Mada Street (R.K. Mutt Road now) where national leaders met in December 1884 to discuss the formation of a national movement to seek freedom from the British. The discussions here and at Ranga Vilas in Egmore led to the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. That first discussion was marked with a plaque that long remained in Dr. Rajagopal’s clinic, but, sadly, vanished when the building was pulled down in the 1970s.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then president of the Indian National Congress, on his arrival in Madras, in October 1936, is given a warm reception at Central Station. S. Satyamurti is seen on Nehru’s left, helping him to stand up. C. Rajagopalachari is seen just below Satyamurti and to his left, in dark glasses.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then president of the Indian National Congress, on his arrival in Madras, in October 1936, is given a warm reception at Central Station. S. Satyamurti is seen on Nehru’s left, helping him to stand up. C. Rajagopalachari is seen just below Satyamurti and to his left, in dark glasses.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with K. Srinivasan, to his right, G. Kasturi (extreme left) and S. Rangarajan, when he visited The Hindu’s office.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with K. Srinivasan, to his right, G. Kasturi (extreme left) and S. Rangarajan, when he visited The Hindu’s office.
Lord Louis Mountbatten addressing a rally of Boy Scouts and Girls Guides at the Corporation Stadium, Madras. Seated to his left is Lady Mountbatten.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with K. Srinivasan, to his right, G. Kasturi (extreme left) and S. Rangarajan, when he visited The Hindu’s office.
Lord Louis Mountbatten addressing a rally of Boy Scouts and Girls Guides at the Corporation Stadium, Madras. Seated to his left is Lady Mountbatten.
Lord Louis Mountbatten addressing a rally of Boy Scouts and Girls Guides at the Corporation Stadium, Madras. Seated to his left is Lady Mountbatten.
A 1939 view of some of the buildings of the Tambaram Tuberculosis Sanatorium complex south of Madras.
A 1939 view of some of the buildings of the Tambaram Tuberculosis Sanatorium complex south of Madras.
C. Rajagopalachari, Premier of Madras, presents his first Budget in the Assembly in September 1937. Note the uniforms of the staff seventy years ago.
A 1939 view of some of the buildings of the Tambaram Tuberculosis Sanatorium complex south of Madras.
C. Rajagopalachari, Premier of Madras, presents his first Budget in the Assembly in September 1937. Note the uniforms of the staff seventy years ago.
C. Rajagopalachari, Premier of Madras, presents his first Budget in the Assembly in September 1937. Note the uniforms of the staff seventy years ago.
A panaromic view of Marina Beach on an evening.
A panaromic view of Marina Beach on an evening.
Mahatma Gandhi visits the Kodambakkam Harijan Industrial School in March 1937.
A panaromic view of Marina Beach on an evening.
Mahatma Gandhi visits the Kodambakkam Harijan Industrial School in March 1937.
Mahatma Gandhi visits the Kodambakkam Harijan Industrial School in March 1937.
Crowds outside The Hindu’s office in 1949 follow the scores of a cricket test match. In the background in the middle of the road, is a tram, a popular means of transport in the city since 1895. Trams were withdrawn in 1953 and the rails removed in 1957-58, ending once and for all hopes of trams running again in Madras.
Crowds outside The Hindu’s office in 1949 follow the scores of a cricket test match. In the background in the middle of the road, is a tram, a popular means of transport in the city since 1895. Trams were withdrawn in 1953 and the rails removed in 1957-58, ending once and for all hopes of trams running again in Madras.
This automatic, electrically-operated traffic signal at a junction in Egmore, photographed in September, 1953, is probably the first automatic traffic signal in south India.
Crowds outside The Hindu’s office in 1949 follow the scores of a cricket test match. In the background in the middle of the road, is a tram, a popular means of transport in the city since 1895. Trams were withdrawn in 1953 and the rails removed in 1957-58, ending once and for all hopes of trams running again in Madras.
This automatic, electrically-operated traffic signal at a junction in Egmore, photographed in September, 1953, is probably the first automatic traffic signal in south India.
This automatic, electrically-operated traffic signal at a junction in Egmore, photographed in September, 1953, is probably the first automatic traffic signal in south India.
The caption accompanying this archival photograph, describes
The caption accompanying this archival photograph, describes “a traffic jam” on the Mount Road-Blacker’s Road crossing.
Members of the Madras City Police Dog Squad with their wards in 1954. Madras had one of the first dog squads in the country.
The caption accompanying this archival photograph, describes
The caption accompanying this archival photograph, describes “a traffic jam” on the Mount Road-Blacker’s Road crossing.
Members of the Madras City Police Dog Squad with their wards in 1954. Madras had one of the first dog squads in the country.
The caption accompanying this archival photograph, describes
Members of the Madras City Police Dog Squad with their wards in 1954. Madras had one of the first dog squads in the country.
Members of the Madras City Police Dog Squad with their wards in 1954. Madras had one of the first dog squads in the country.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, K. Kamraj, the president of the Indian National Congress and C.N. Annadurai, Chief Minister of Madras, enjoy a lighter moment with pressmen at the Madras Harbour prior to the Prime Minister's departure for the Andamans by INS Mysore on February 3, 1968.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, K. Kamraj, the president of the Indian National Congress and C.N. Annadurai, Chief Minister of Madras, enjoy a lighter moment with pressmen at the Madras Harbour prior to the Prime Minister’s departure for the Andamans by INS Mysore on February 3, 1968.
The Maharaja and Maharani of Travancore with the Governor of Madras, Lord Erskine, and Lady Erskine at Travancore House, in Adyar, on March 4, 1937, where the Maharaja hosted a party for the Governor. The Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, is seen standing second from left.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, K. Kamraj, the president of the Indian National Congress and C.N. Annadurai, Chief Minister of Madras, enjoy a lighter moment with pressmen at the Madras Harbour prior to the Prime Minister's departure for the Andamans by INS Mysore on February 3, 1968.
The Maharaja and Maharani of Travancore with the Governor of Madras, Lord Erskine, and Lady Erskine at Travancore House, in Adyar, on March 4, 1937, where the Maharaja hosted a party for the Governor. The Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, is seen standing second from left.
The Maharaja and Maharani of Travancore with the Governor of Madras, Lord Erskine, and Lady Erskine at Travancore House, in Adyar, on March 4, 1937, where the Maharaja hosted a party for the Governor. The Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, is seen standing second from left.
A massive crowd surging towards Rajaji Hall to pay its last respects to departed Congress leader K. Kamaraj on October 3, 1975.
A massive crowd surging towards Rajaji Hall to pay its last respects to departed Congress leader K. Kamaraj on October 3, 1975.
Hundreds of workers manually clear the river bed of the Cooum near Willingdon Bridge in 1971, during one of the many phases of the Cooum Improvement Scheme.
A massive crowd surging towards Rajaji Hall to pay its last respects to departed Congress leader K. Kamaraj on October 3, 1975.
Hundreds of workers manually clear the river bed of the Cooum near Willingdon Bridge in 1971, during one of the many phases of the Cooum Improvement Scheme.
Hundreds of workers manually clear the river bed of the Cooum near Willingdon Bridge in 1971, during one of the many phases of the Cooum Improvement Scheme.
Horse-drawn jutkas were still part of the public transport scene in Madras in 1979, especially opposite Central Station.
Horse-drawn jutkas were still part of the public transport scene in Madras in 1979, especially opposite Central Station.
One of the Herons from the fleet of aircraft owned by The Hindu from 1963 to deliver copies of the paper to various destinations in Karnataka and the districts of Coimbatore, Madurai, Ramnad, Tirunelveli, Tiruchi and Thanjavur. Readers in these places got copies of their paper at about the same time as readers in Madras due to this pioneering scheme.
Horse-drawn jutkas were still part of the public transport scene in Madras in 1979, especially opposite Central Station.
One of the Herons from the fleet of aircraft owned by The Hindu from 1963 to deliver copies of the paper to various destinations in Karnataka and the districts of Coimbatore, Madurai, Ramnad, Tirunelveli, Tiruchi and Thanjavur. Readers in these places got copies of their paper at about the same time as readers in Madras due to this pioneering scheme.
One of the Herons from the fleet of aircraft owned by The Hindu from 1963 to deliver copies of the paper to various destinations in Karnataka and the districts of Coimbatore, Madurai, Ramnad, Tirunelveli, Tiruchi and Thanjavur. Readers in these places got copies of their paper at about the same time as readers in Madras due to this pioneering scheme.
DMK chief K. Karunanidhi's second son, M.K. Alagiri (second from left), and his wife Kanthi (extreme right) after their marriage was solemnised on December 12, 1972 at Periyar Thidal. The function was presided over by Education Minister V.R. Nedunchezhian and Dravida Kazhagam leader E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker, seen third from right with Union Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram who called at Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's residence to bless the couple.
DMK chief K. Karunanidhi’s second son, M.K. Alagiri (second from left), and his wife Kanthi (extreme right) after their marriage was solemnised on December 12, 1972 at Periyar Thidal. The function was presided over by Education Minister V.R. Nedunchezhian and Dravida Kazhagam leader E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker, seen third from right with Union Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram who called at Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s residence to bless the couple.
A bird’s eye view of Park Town’s pride – from left to right - Sydenham’s Road, Ripon Building – headquarters of the Corporation of Madras built in 1913, Victoria Public Hall built in 1887 and Moore Market built in 1887. Behind these majestic buildings sprawls a lake with the South India Athletic Association’s ground beyond, boasting of the Moore Pavilion, seen at the top right of the picture.
DMK chief K. Karunanidhi's second son, M.K. Alagiri (second from left), and his wife Kanthi (extreme right) after their marriage was solemnised on December 12, 1972 at Periyar Thidal. The function was presided over by Education Minister V.R. Nedunchezhian and Dravida Kazhagam leader E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker, seen third from right with Union Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram who called at Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's residence to bless the couple.
A bird’s eye view of Park Town’s pride – from left to right – Sydenham’s Road, Ripon Building – headquarters of the Corporation of Madras built in 1913, Victoria Public Hall built in 1887 and Moore Market built in 1887. Behind these majestic buildings sprawls a lake with the South India Athletic Association’s ground beyond, boasting of the Moore Pavilion, seen at the top right of the picture.
A bird’s eye view of Park Town’s pride – from left to right - Sydenham’s Road, Ripon Building – headquarters of the Corporation of Madras built in 1913, Victoria Public Hall built in 1887 and Moore Market built in 1887. Behind these majestic buildings sprawls a lake with the South India Athletic Association’s ground beyond, boasting of the Moore Pavilion, seen at the top right of the picture.
Spencer’s majestic building was still there – in the background – in 1976, watching over an increasing flow of public transport, but minimal private transport on Mount Road.
Spencer’s majestic building was still there – in the background – in 1976, watching over an increasing flow of public transport, but minimal private transport on Mount Road.
On January 12, 1967, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) was shot in the neck by fellow actor M.R. Radha. The bullet, permanently lodged in his neck, affected his voice. That did not stop him from conducting his campaign for the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1967 from his hospital bed. He won twice the number of votes polled by his Congress rival and the largest number of votes polled by any candidate for the Assembly. Here, M.G.R., wearing a neck cast, is seen in his hospital bed signing his nomination papers for the St. Thomas Mount constituency.
Spencer’s majestic building was still there – in the background – in 1976, watching over an increasing flow of public transport, but minimal private transport on Mount Road.
On January 12, 1967, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) was shot in the neck by fellow actor M.R. Radha. The bullet, permanently lodged in his neck, affected his voice. That did not stop him from conducting his campaign for the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1967 from his hospital bed. He won twice the number of votes polled by his Congress rival and the largest number of votes polled by any candidate for the Assembly. Here, M.G.R., wearing a neck cast, is seen in his hospital bed signing his nomination papers for the St. Thomas Mount constituency.
On January 12, 1967, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) was shot in the neck by fellow actor M.R. Radha. The bullet, permanently lodged in his neck, affected his voice. That did not stop him from conducting his campaign for the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1967 from his hospital bed. He won twice the number of votes polled by his Congress rival and the largest number of votes polled by any candidate for the Assembly. Here, M.G.R., wearing a neck cast, is seen in his hospital bed signing his nomination papers for the St. Thomas Mount constituency.
Future Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seen standing near the body of MGR as it lay in state at the Rajaji Hall in Madras on December 24, 1987.
Future Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seen standing near the body of MGR as it lay in state at the Rajaji Hall in Madras on December 24, 1987.
A.G. Ram Singh, a Madras cricketing legend, seen after he was felicitated at the MCC grounds, Chepauk, in October 1956.
Future Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seen standing near the body of MGR as it lay in state at the Rajaji Hall in Madras on December 24, 1987.
A.G. Ram Singh, a Madras cricketing legend, seen after he was felicitated at the MCC grounds, Chepauk, in October 1956.
A.G. Ram Singh, a Madras cricketing legend, seen after he was felicitated at the MCC grounds, Chepauk, in October 1956.
The first convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was held on July 11, 1964. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, President of India, delivered the Convocation Address. To his right is the Governor of Madras, the Maharajah of Mysore, and to his left is Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras. On the extreme right is Raja Muthiah Chettiar of Annamalai University.
The first convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was held on July 11, 1964. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, President of India, delivered the Convocation Address. To his right is the Governor of Madras, the Maharajah of Mysore, and to his left is Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras. On the extreme right is Raja Muthiah Chettiar of Annamalai University.
Nothing has changed when students decide to celebrate. They still not only fully occupy a bus but those who cannot squeeze in find a seat on the roof of the vehicle, as they did in October 1973.
The first convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was held on July 11, 1964. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, President of India, delivered the Convocation Address. To his right is the Governor of Madras, the Maharajah of Mysore, and to his left is Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras. On the extreme right is Raja Muthiah Chettiar of Annamalai University.
Nothing has changed when students decide to celebrate. They still not only fully occupy a bus but those who cannot squeeze in find a seat on the roof of the vehicle, as they did in October 1973.
Nothing has changed when students decide to celebrate. They still not only fully occupy a bus but those who cannot squeeze in find a seat on the roof of the vehicle, as they did in October 1973.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road, formerly Esplanade Road in 1961, with the open Esplanade having been where the High Court buildings (on left) came up. It was a pleasure indeed to drive a car then, especially the stylish Morris Minor (in the foreground), on the wide, empty roads flanked by majestic buildings still standing today.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road, formerly Esplanade Road in 1961, with the open Esplanade having been where the High Court buildings (on left) came up. It was a pleasure indeed to drive a car then, especially the stylish Morris Minor (in the foreground), on the wide, empty roads flanked by majestic buildings still standing today.

‘AUTO’CRACY


Governments may come and Governments may go. Celebrity cops may come and  may go.Veeramanis and Veerappans may be eliminated. Land grabbers may be arrested and jailed. Bank dacoits may be done to death. The government and the police may even dispense justice without the intervention of the law courts. But the daylight robbery of Auto drivers will continue and will continue forever. We are fated to put up with this nonsense.
As our friend had said, Chennai is, no doubt, an unfriendly city to the visitors and tourists. You may have come across slightly-different-coloured autos displaying the words ‘Tourists friendly’ and you may think these autos would charge you as per meter, if not, reasonably. You are sadly mistaken. These breed of auto-drivers too are as bad or as good as the other men of their tribe. This is the situation in Chennai.
Of late I am shuttling between Chennai and Bangalore too often, so much so that I have become a frequent-train traveller and can claim rebates in fare if the railway ministry announces one. That apart, my travels in these cities have become real travails. In Chennai, I have switched over to Fast Tracks and Friendly Tracks – call taxi operators. I must confess that I am more comfortable with Taxi drivers for there is no haggling for fare. The meter shows it and I pay without a murmur.
In Bangalore, till recently the auto travel was okay as hiring a taxi near the railway station is a tough job. None can guarantee the genuinity and authenticity of the fare conversion tables displayed by the taxi-wallahs. It was better to hire an auto there.
Of late that too has become yet another tough job.The autos have chosen to boycott the pre-paid stands and park way off the stands. If you choose one of them you will have to end up in haggling and paying a hefty sum rather than as per meter. The police are there but as onlookers. This is the state of affairs now in Bangalore.
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Recently I read a news item about an application which can download on an iPhone or Android phone by the auto-rickshaw commuters. If you have a smart-phone, this GPS-based fare calculator can compute the exact fare. Known as the A-rix Meter, this has been designed and developed by a Bangalorean design student Siddharth Vanchinathan.It is claimed that it could be the answer to many auto woes, especially now, with the new auto fares coming into effect from Monday the 12th  March at Bangalore.
The A-rix Meter uses the GPS function in your smart-phone to pinpoint your location accurately to within 10 metres. When you get into an auto, simply slide the yellow button to the ‘start’ position to start the meter.The meter will run in the background as you continue to do other activities on your phone. When you reach your destination, slide the yellow button to the ‘end’ position and the meter tells you the fare.The A-Rix app can be updated for the new fare

If you’re new to the city and if the auto drivers are not the honest kind, they’ll take you around in circles. Siddharth Vanchinathan points out that by using the inbuilt maps, you will also be able to check the route and even guide your driver if he doesn’t know the way. Also, A-Rix has fare information of several cities in India, so based on your location, it loads the fare charts for that city. So if you happen to move to a new city, this app is a great way to get comfortable with public transport.

Related Articles :

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/3973–dealing-with-autocracy

http://sidv.co/2012/02/a-rix-auto-and-taxi-meter-for-iphone/