Reversal of Roles
Act 1 Scene 1
Outside my workplace. Evening. Autostand with about 10 autos. Auto drivers huddled together in one corner, either gossiping or smoking.
Standing near them is a scattered group of haggard people (mostly women), with one shoulder tilted to a side (thanks to 'neighbour's envy, owner's misery' - a first generation laptop).
Enter one more addition to the group above (description - same as above).
Auto drivers are oblivious to the new entrant's presence. She approaches them with hope writ across her face and asks ever so politely... "xyzpura??"
Leader of Auto drivers : Where in xyzpura ?
Heroine : Near Anand Fish Stall
Auto driver shrugs his shoulder which thanks to prior similar experiences is correctly interpreted as "no, we are not interested in taking you there".
But heroine persists " It's in the main road".
Auto Driver: "We won't get a return (passenger) from there".
Heroine pleads: "I'll give you ten rupees more".
Auto driver still shakes his head in the negative and resumes his previous activity. Heroine attempts to say something more but sensibly decides against it realising that for the group of drivers there, she is virtually non-existent...
She now peels her eyes on the road and starts waving down all empty autos that pass by...Most don't stop...The few that do give her looks, shrugs and nods that all mean the same - " We are not interested".
She tactfully (read desperately) changes the landmark from "Anand Fish Stall" to more enticing options such "Ravi Theatre" and "V.S Bar & restaurant"...but again to no avail...
By now, it's been almost an hour since the drama has started and she decides to up the stakes from "ten rupees more" to "one and half" (1.5 times the actual rate) to "double"....
Finally, an auto driver takes pity on her and says "Madam, I'll give you a ride (rather take you for a ride) if you give me Rs.xyz...
By now, our heroine is too tired to calculate how many times the actual fare is being demanded. (had she been capable of the feat, and quickly projected the next 5 years' financials of the auto driver, she would have given up her current job and become an auto driver, which would not only fulfill her childhood fantasy, but also considerably fatten her purse).
She meekly agrees and plonks herself inside the auto uttering a sigh of relief.
Act 2 Scene 1
Scenery remains the same.
Enter a cheerful and smiling lady. Auto drivers huddled in the corner looks at her with expectation. She doesn't return the gaze.
Auto Driver: Where do you want to go?
There is no response from the lady...not even an acknowledgement of the question. Autodrivers wait expectantly and after sometime turn back with disappointment. A subtle smile of satisfaction plays on the lady's lips.
More auto drivers pass by, each slowing down in front of the lady and looking with hopeful eyes that she'll hire them. She seems oblivious to their presence...but not really...the smile, ever so subtle comes back to her face the moment the driver has passed by. Within 5 minutes, a handsome guy comes by in a bike. This time, the smile on the lady's face is more broad and genuine. She gets on the bike behind him, gives the 'victor to the vanquished' look to the auto drivers present and zooms past....
Yes! yes!! yesssss!!!!....I am thoroughly enjoying this reversal of roles...Thanks hubby dear, for coming to pick me up from my workplace in the evenings....