Cometh the hour, cometh Automan

Faster than a speeding bullet – well, a speeding train, anyway. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Automan! In a country of 1.4 billion people, competition is a way of life. But what happened in Bengaluru the other day takes the competition cake. Two passengers missed the Prasanthi Express from SBC Station at 1.40 pm. While they were wondering what to do next, an auto driver came up with an offer. Starting at 1.55 pm, he said they would reach the next station, Yelahanka, some 27 km away, by 2.20 pm, the train’s arrival time there. The fare for the race against time was ₹2,500 – but only if they reached Yelahanka on time.

The following 25 minutes, the passengers tweeted, were straight out of an SRK movie, with twists, turns and tyre burns. Automan zoomed past Bengaluru’s famous gridlock traffic, took shortcuts and even signalled some of his friends to let him pass. And they did reach Yelahanka on time. In one piece. The action-packed journey has apparently sparked a business idea, with more drivers hoping to cash in on ‘on-time travel’. While many spoilsports are arguing that the driver should be hauled up for taking unnecessary risks, why blame only him? Clearly, there is much demand for ‘making it on time’, especially in Indian cities. Incidentally, to be noted: no one bothered to ask Automan’s name. This Clark Kent remains unknown.


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