What’s it with auto rickshaw wallahs and their imperceptible nods? Do they mean yes, or do they mean no? The average mumbaiikar would say, they mean no. Auto-wallahs have their own agenda, and their own list of places to go to. Ask them about any place, and the answer is no. A new fact I have noticed is their way of saying no. When asked about a place they don’t want to drive to, they will stare off dreamily into space, as if wondering “When will this pesky person stop asking all these infernal questions and leave me alone?”. If prompted again, they will glance at you and give the aforementioned nod, or speak slowly as if weighing all the options. The answer, at the end of it all, is no.  One character I came across yesterday, gave the nod. I stood there, unsure. He stared at the night sky, and then gave me the nod again. When I impatiently asked ” Will you go there or no?”, he spoke as if it pained him greatly to speak at all, and said ‘nooo’.

There is a joke about a person who asked an auto-wallah –

“Will you go to place A?”
‘No’.
“Will you go to place B?”
‘No’.
“Place C?”
‘No’.
“Okay then, where will you go? Take me there.”

I rest my case.

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