I desperately wanted to get into BMCC (my senior college) right away after my 10th. With my 10th score, I would have easily made it into the college in the first merit list itself. But as per my dear family, I was still not prepared to sustain the atmosphere of a “City College”.
So from their side it was :
“We’re not sending you ‘so far’ ‘so soon’. You can go there after 12th ”
Like I was going to evolve in those two years 😛
To be honest, I always felt that it was a cunning saazish – to ensure that I studied hard enough in my 12th boards to make it to the high cut-off of my desired college…which I did anyway…so that’s okay. Win-win situation for both. 🙂
Now. My college is right in the heart of Pune city, which is quite far from my home. So naturally, this question came up:
“Ma, how will I travel? It’s far na…”
“By bus, beta” (She probably knew it would come as a minor blow to me, hence the usage of “beta”)
“But Ma..I don’t really know that side of the city well..”
“It’s okay. Initially no one knows a thing. You’ll learn”
I braced myself for 4 hours of travel every day.
And did I learn? Hell, yeah!! Not only ‘that side of the city’, but also what travelling by public transport exactly is!
I’ve tried to bring to paper my kaleidoscopic experiences and lessons learnt as a public transport commuter for three years! Read on to know…. 😀
- The virtue of Patience :
Endless hours of waiting at bus stops….has definitely taught the impatient me the virtue of patience. In 3 years, public transport managed to teach me something that my family couldn’t in 17 years of co-existence. XD.
Keep calm…the bus will arrive at its own sweet time any which ways 🙂
This is the magical chant. You need to keep repeating this to yourself. It works.
And do not commit the cardinal sin of learning up a bus time-table. That will only bring in more disappointment and frustration and aid you to lose your cool. 🙂
- Unagi – the state of complete awareness :
I can safely say that I’ve achieved Unagi. Maybe not completely, but enough for my survival!
Three things to keep in mind:
– Don’t fall
-Keep yourself safe from falling people (apparently people lose their grip and stability in a bus)
-If someone falls on you….two options are available: Save them from falling or Dodge.
Pick-pockets around. At all times, keep one eye on your bags, backpacks, handbags, polythene bags, paper bags, all kinds of bags.(Unless you want to get out of the bus feeling lighter)
And in case lady luck favours you, and you manage to get a seat, doze off, but better beware of the drivers and their thrilling brake applying skills. You sure don’t want to get out of the bus with something broken or swollen. 😛
- Men will be men :
No matter how you dress up, at all times, there will be those few idiots who will keep gawking at every woman who passes by. -_- Comments will be passed, nudges…and the same old story…
Funny incident: This drunk guy got into the bus. Fell on one lady. She started yelling, “He fell on me intentionally” This drama continued until someone realised the guy was drunk and he reeked of alcohol. The conductor took things in his hand and told the guy to get out of the bus. While he agreed after hurling few abuses, the comic part was when he fell on two more women while exiting the bus! The women were fuming, half the passengers were angry and other half, laughing!
But again, there will also be these chivalrous men. They will be like:
“You can occupy my seat if you want to”
Some will oblige. Others will give them the ‘why is he offering his seat to me’ look.
- The conductor keeps the show going :
“Pudhe chala, pudhe chala” (Keep moving ahead, keep moving ahead)
“Pudhche pudhe sarkat raha!” (People ahead keep moving ahead)
Yep. That’s the conductor. Especially in a crowded bus, locating the conductor can be a task. But thanks to this war-cry of his, he’s easily detected.
But on a serious note, the conductor can literally make the bus dance to his tunes (Ting-ting). 😛
There was this funny incident, when a guy’s backpack got entangled with the conductor’s money pouch. Both parties didn’t notice. The guy’s stop arrived. He hurriedly made his way through the crowd, dragging the conductor along with him!!
The conductor, almost out of the bus, half-irked half- smiling, said “Kick me itself out of the bus…that’s all that is remaining now!” Poor fella!
But the laugh we passengers had!! 😀
- Vacant seats are vacant for a reason :
In a crowded bus if your eyes fall upon a seat that is vacant, DO NOT get excited to place yourself upon it! It’s vacant for a reason.Reasons may vary from:
-Technical issues (screws may be loose)
-It may be wet
-Gross reasons like someone may have spat or puked on it. Don’t squirm. It happens.
- Arguments add the required tadka :
You will get to witness a whole range of arguments. Starting from minor bickering to verbal squabbles to full-blown brawls – we have it all on the menu!
Agendas for the arguments will generally be:-
-This is ladies seat (Ladies vs. One ignorant man/men)
-This is senior citizen’s seat (Senior citizen vs. Some adamant youngster or fake Sr. Citizen)
-Shift to the men’s side and don’t stick to the ladies! (Ladies vs. Men)
-I don’t have change. (Big shots with no chutta vs. conductors)
- Monsoons…..well…. :
Wading from flooded bus stops to make your way into a cramped bus that has a leaking roof (which by the way, makes you feel like you’re still outside)….is annoying.The stairs of the bus will be slippery. Even if you get into the bus, you yourself will wonder how you managed to do it…There will be leaking umbrellas all around.
And yes…that one big fat uncle, who prefers not to take off his dripping raincoat (even if it means soaking the people around).Also, people gleefully step on your foot/feet/footwear, painting it in the plush colours of the monsoon slush. -_-
- Women will be…err….women! :
Women have this ability of calling their seats from ten miles away. They’ll fling whatever they have in hand – handkerchiefs, handbags, purses and even phones (the Smart ones) just to reserve their seats…Well..I’ve witnessed this too!
- Last row seats should come with a caution :
I’m saying this because the very first time I had occupied one of those seats, I had almost got flung outside the bus from the back door. Thanks to the excellent speed breakers and the driver’s toofani driving skills.
- The joy of sighting the direct-home-bus :
You’ll understand this only if you have had to switch buses to get home. And the mere sight of the bus that will take you home directly calls for a mini-celebration!
The joy of watching that bus arrive and the motive to get into it no matter how crowded it is….is unexplainable! 😀
This journey of three years was indeed filled with bitter-sweet experiences and memories. At times ,any of this comes to my mind, it makes me smile. Travelling by bus has left me with so many incidents funny, scary, weird….I have treasure load of stories to narrate! When I look back, I realise that I learnt so many things. I came across situations where I had to make a call… defend myself…raise my voice. All of this has only made me stronger…and of course smarter 🙂
And I do realise what Ma actually meant when she said “You’ll learn” 🙂