When I was in school, I had to walk for just five minutes to reach school. Now, I have to travel for an hour to reach college. In India, especially in Bangalore, the best way to commute is through the public bus transport system. Bangalore’s bus network has high acclaim and it has been declared the best in India. It has won many awards even.
Trust me, travelling by bus is no joke. It requires knack, tactics and a certain amount of ruthlessness, which only comes from years of experience. You see, I never found the necessity to avail this bus facility as I hardly ever crossed the boundaries of my locality, my school being in such close proximity. Now, bus travel has become a part and parcel of life. At first, I was daunted at the thought of travelling by bus alone. I used to be shy, not-so-forcible and pretty dysfunctional in the bus. But now, after two months of commuting by bus, I’ve learnt a lot. Let me describe to you how a typical bus journey is, in Bangalore.
You are eager to get home from college- famished and tired. You patiently wait at the bus stop for the bus which goes to your desired destination. A bus arrives. You see that the bus is overflowing with people. An atom of hydrogen couldn’t fit in it. People are actually hanging out of the door (refer to featured image).You let the bus pass. Your stomach growls harder. You wait. Many buses which don’t go to your desired destination pass by. You curse every bus that exists and lose all hope of going home. The bus you waited for arrives. Even this one is jampacked. You decide to face the situation and throng into the bus, pushing people and squirming through the meagre amount of space. The conductor of the bus vents out his anger by screaming at few innocent people standing in the bus for not letting him through. He finally gets to you and asks for the money for the ticket. You fish out your student pass and flash it to him, thereby letting him know that you don’t need a ticket as you have the student pass. While some conductors just have a glance at the pass to determine its genuinity, some conductors take it for forensic analysis and high level scrutiny. Satisfied with the pass, he gives it back. He also curtly asks you to give your heavy college bag to someone already seated, so that the path for him to traverse along the bus is free. You say you’ll do it, but you never do it, mainly because you are too shy to burden someone else with your bag and you know how annoying it is to hold other people’s bags when you are comfortably seated. Next mission is to find a rigid support for yourself to hold you, when the driver hits the brakes with vengeance and then suddenly decides to accelerate to the speed of light. This support can be the bar fitted to the roof of the bus, but that is too much strain on the hand. So, you must look for a place where there is a vertical pole spanning from the floor of the bus to the roof. This done, you must just stand. It’s extremely fun to listen to other people’s conversations when in a bus. You feel that the diverse multitude of India is actually fit into the bus. From college students to flower sellers to senior citizens, you find them all. You try to catch the place where they get off, in course of their conversation, so that you might have an idea of when you might finally get to sit down. You analyse the person’s appearance and manner, try to be Sherlock and deduce where they might possibly get off. All the while, remember, you are dangling from a pole of the bus, helpless and starving. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the bus gets stuck in a traffic jam. You make poker faces, trying to display your dismay. Other people start giving their opinions about the world, society and other useless things and you pass the time listening to it. The conductor has fought with two people in the bus by now. The bus moves, and a person seated gets up as they have to get down at the next stop. The race to get to that seat is the most important one. You push through and plonk your bag on the seat, thus marking your territory. A middle aged lady fights with you, saying she’s old and you youngsters ought to have the courtesy to give up your seat to them. Sometimes you oblige, but sometimes, you put your foot down and give a lecture about how hard college was, how heavy your bag is and how far you still have to travel and just sit down. You feel bad that you’ve turned into this ruthless monster,but you let it go anyway. You open your book and bury your head in it.You pass through few more congested roads and watch out of the window dramatically. Your destination arrives..! You get down, your innards about to strangle you out of vexation and swiftly walk home. Ah.. The sense of achievement.
There’s a lot more to it than what I’ve just described. It has actually completely changed me as a person. I have learnt to speak for myself and not adjust to other people’s needs. Basically, I’ve lost the quality of kindness and consideration for another fellow human being.
Hope you don’t have to struggle in public transport..!
Mentally preparing myself for tomorrow’s strenuous bus journey.
Deek 🙂 😀