Saturday, July 23, 2011

A ruse

It was nearing 11pm.Jayaram runs the three -wheeler in the night shift for the last few months. Passengers after this late hour were less but the few who used at this hour were generally drunk and did not mind paying whatever fare he demanded. Some were not in a position even to count the money. They were not always good and some dangerous too.Jayaram makes a quick mental assessment before he accepted the passengers. He avoided carrying two or more passengers unless they were a family. His wife had gone to her mom’s place for delivery and had asked him to send Rs.5000 for medical expenses. He was short of the amount by a thousand and wished to make it up god willing this night.
“Hey auto, will you come up to Santhoshapuram? We are in a hurry” Jayaram heard a gruff and a bit incoherent voice behind him.
“Where, Sir” he asked
“Santoshapuram” the man said in a raised voice
“Santhome, is it”
“Are you deaf or what? Santoshapuram near Tambaram” he shouted at the top of voice
“Don’t get angry, sir. I am hard of hearing since childhood” he replied
“It’s alright.. Take us double quick: the man said
“It is quite far, Sir. I am to hand over the vehicle by midnight” he said obviously uncomfortable with their looks. One of them had a tight T-shirt that showed his bulging muscles over a lungi that was folded in half. The other wore a dark red khurta over faded jeans. They sported long mustache that highlighted their evil faces and their big smoke- stained teeth.
Unmindful of his disinclination, they pushed their way into the vehicle and said in a threatening voice ‘Be a good boy. Don’t get into any trouble. We are not in good mood.. We know your meter is rigged. Nevertheless we will pay you double the fare. Start immediately”
Jayaram didn’t want any trouble but needed the sizable money he expected from the long trip . He quietly started the vehicle. They asked him twice some innocuous question but he pretended not to have heard them till they tapped his shoulder and raised their voices. Satisfied that the driver was hard of hearing, the two men commenced conversing with each other in silent tone. Jayaram sharpened his ears to catch their conversation.
The T-shirt man said”We have to keep the boy hidden may be for two days. By that time the boss will decide what to do. It all depends upon the boy’s parents. If they quietly pay the money, he may not harm the boy. But one can never be sure with boss. He can be tricky and most cruel too. He has given deadline by 1pm tomorrow morning to pay up and have the boy alive.”
The khurta guy said “I feel bad for the five year old kid. He has been crying all the time and had not taken a morsel of food. We brought him from the playground blindfolded. He wouldn’t know where he is holed up. Why kill him?”
“Shut up. It is none of our business. You seem to have taken a liking for the boy. If the boy is lucky you drop him back at Valmiki nagar.Don‘t open your mouth before boss. He may even kill you” admonished the T-shirt.
“Let us buy some idlies on the way .The boy may be hungry” said the khurta chap
“No time to waste. Let us get bun in the tea shop near the house. It is nearing 12.Let us stop the auto at the beginning of the street and walk up to the house. It is drizzling but never mind” said the T-shirt
When they reached the street, it was raining heavily. Instead of stopping at the beginning of the road, they got down before a small tiled house at the end of the road. They paid him 400 rupees and asked him “Are you happy?”
Jayaram said”What? What did you say? You want me to wait?”
Assured that the driver did not hear their conversations, the T shirt laughed and said “Nothing .I said have a safe trip back”
Jayaram swung into action once he came to the main road by calling the police. By 2am the young child was rescued and the men including the boss were in custody. When the parents came to the police station to take the child, he overheard them asking the inspector of police “Where is the honest auto driver? We wish to meet him and thank him profusely. We would also reward him handsomely for saving us the huge ransom of one crore demanded. We would even make him a owner of a fleet of autos instead of being a driver. But for his honesty and the smart ruse of pretending to be deaf, we would not have got back our child alive.”
Jayaram could not believe what he heard but remembered that good acts have their own rewards.


  1. Thank you for the happy ending KP!

  2. It pays to be intelligently dumb and stupid sometimes aye?

    As usual, you did a good one with this story and writing style. You have carved out your own niche in the blog community. That's appreciated and admired. More power to you.

  3. Hi Uncle..another nice story..nice to come here after so long time..;)

    Hw r u doing?? its been long time.. hope everything is fine at ur end..;)

  4. another good auto driver samaritan.... looks like a sequel to the previous good auto driver story...

  5. KP, Jayaram deserves to get the reward. Hope there would be more auto fellows who would use the meter. hasn't it become antique?

  6. i wanted a happy ending.. and this left me feel good..

  7. Well thought and written. Good for Jayaram. U do get such auto drivers who would go that extra mile to help but you also get the other type too!

  8. They just invited trouble for themselves and paid 400 bucks too :P
    Nice story… there sure are some drivers who act wise and swift and are honest…

  9. Yes, good acts have their own rewards! Nice story! Again, the autowallah is a good man, which can happen only in dreams!

  10. This was a smart move by the Auto driver..!! Quite a thrilling story I was hoping you would not end with one of your sudden twists - thank god you didn't. I wanted the kid rescued :-)

  11. liked ur story so much. i wish if everyone become as aware n smart lik jairam then we can stop many crimes.

  12. Blessings....
    Nicely woven.....
    thanks for the feel good ending.

    have a great week.

  13. Smart Auto driver..well written as usual..

  14. yes honesty is always rewarded , in this case it was immediate which is alwasy good ..

    but as my dad said be honest and dont lie it pays in the long run always ...
    lovely happy story
    thank you ..