With news of increase in diesel prices coming well before the festive Diwali season, the President of the Chennai Auto and ShareAuto Association (CASA) has declared that the association will be building a temple to pay homage to their savior and deity Dr. Manmohan Singh. With his policies, the Prime Minister has quietly captured the hearts of the “Autokaarans” of Chennai, replacing none other than Rajnikanth as the No.1 auto deity – a distinction the superstar has held for almost 20 years since the release of the film Baasha where he played the role of an autowaala.
“No other government has shown us such magnanimity. For every Rs. 5 increase in fuel, irrespective of whether it is petrol or diesel, we can freely increase the fare by at least Rs. 10 per trip. We are where we are only due to the generosity shown by Dr. Manmohan Singh in the past 9 years. He is our new Thalaivar now,” said Mr. Auto Shankar, the secretary of CASA to our special correspondent, before gesturing to the autowaalas gathered behind him, upon which they all whooped, “Thalaivar Manmohan Singh-kku oru O podu! Oh-ho!”
The proposed temple will be built in a 50 acre plot of land adjoining the Marina beach. The two “gopurams” or towers, supposedly erected in honour of the UPA’s scams achievements, are expected to be 185m and 176m tall respectively, higher than many of the world’s tallest monuments. The inner prayer hall will be one-of-its-kind, with micro and macro-economic concepts, GDP projections, Keynesian and Friedman theories adorning its walls. Devotees praying in this hall will be required to maintain absolute silence. Surrounding the sanctum sanctorum will be smaller temples of deities such as Sonia Devi, Prince Rahul and Chidambaram. There was also a plan to have mural paintings depicting the “achievements” of UPA II in chronological order, but this was dropped eventually, due to space constraints.
The development has already begun to affect auto fares all over Chennai. Trips to high value destinations like Spencer Plaza, Esplanade Mall, Marina Beach etc. will now be dearer by at least Rs. 20 (Rs. 30 if you happen to speak Hindi) as these trips will also include a temple donation charge. The precise price points are still being worked upon, but initial reports suggest that the new pricing mechanism will include a component where anybody who goes and asks for the fare will be charged a service fee of Rs. 5 for the question (Rs.10 for asking in Hindi).
There will be a new clause to make the concept of random minimum charge legal, if it was not agreed upon by the autowaala and the passenger before boarding. CASA is also expected to scrap the concept of “auto meter”, as it is seen taking up too much space; the space will be now used to install a teacup holder, thereby giving the consumers more value for money.
Meanwhile, when Dr. Singh heard about the honour being bestowed upon him, he simply smiled, waved his right hand and scurried back to his chamber. Mrs. Gandhi, on the other hand, was initially furious, but calmed down later once she was told that devotees would have to first pay homage to the Devi, and only then visit the main deity.