15 Jun 2007

Close Encounters in the parking lot

Parking attendants in Delhi are proof that
Aliens are among us
They seem to be from another planet
No other city has this unique group of people
Who can drive your car (with you as co passenger) up the wall

My history with parking attendants probably
Goes back to 1990 when I must have parked my car for the first time
He must have appeared from nowhere
Handed me the ticket and ran off to
Flag a car that was leaving without paying

Over the years I began to notice
That you required no real skill to be one
Once they were hired it was like a sarkari job
They did not have to worry about the cars and their owners

They appear only at the time to hand over the parking ticket
And to collect the money
When you returned your car was blocked by half a dozen other cars
Each time parking a car ended up in a fight with the attendant
(exceptions to this rule – Khan Market where the attendants are quick and efficient &
Old Delhi where the guy can recognize your key and your car in a jiffy)

Additionally, they became experts at asking for extra money
Once the new system of pay as much as you park were introduced
They would not write the time down and haggle for a couple of rupees more
They would insist that you had parked for two hours more
They had other surprises too
Once I had to pay 17 rupees and the guy walked off without giving back the change
His logic: what will you do with three rupees?
Took me about ten minutes to make him cough up the money

Of course there were some enterprising ones
Who collected money from places
Which had never been sanctioned as parking areas by MCD
Till the police found out that these guys were not paying them!

Of course
The parking places never seem to improve
The same service (or non service) continues
The attendants behave as if they have no need to worry about us humans

Maybe
They are just waiting, whiling away time
They are just manning these areas for their masters
To land on earth someday
Maybe Delhi has been allotted as parking area for this Galaxy

3 comments:

Pragya said...

What is it about distance that makes emotion out of the most mundane things? What you call the "parking lot takeover" is the rampant attitude in Delhi--auto rickshaw guys, bus conductors, even service guys in shops. Civil expressions are but a garb to the intense indifference that I've sensed all through Delhi. And yet, reading your blog, made me want to go back to it once more :-)

Shyam said...

I have to agree, I am really missing being back in India right now.

Sonia said...

...yeah...nd wht do u say abt the parking valas who spend their quality time making copies of ur car key while u thought you have parked and handed the keys in 'safe' hands! :) ... anddd incase you dared to refuse giving the keys...u had it ! ...hail parking valas! :)