Friday, October 13, 2006

My everyday bus journey

Ok,so you are intrigued... Why should I write about such a mundane thing as a bus journey?

I started commuting by bus regularly only after I joined college. My school was a stone's throw from my house. Hence I used to walk to school. Otherwise I occasionally went by bus, but autorikshaws mostly for other purposes. Also since we owned a car, mom used pick us up or drop us off. But that was till I joined college. After that I had to travel by bus. And then I realised there is more to this. One has to be a 'regular' bus traveller to get the 'joys' of travelling by bus. What I say further pertains to the travelling I've done in my locality (Thrissur). I don't know what travelling out of this State is like. So here goes a brief (and hopefully) enlightening account of my daily bus journey.

There are peak times in a day (obviously) ; mostly in the mornings, when students are trying to reach their institutions , and when employees are scurrying to reach office. And believe me when I say that that is one heck of a time to travel by bus !! Buses come screeching down, packed with people. They compete among themselves to reach each bus-stop and grab the most number of commuters. They come at you as if they will strike you.

Then you board the bus. the 'interesting' part begins. Morning travel has a disadvantage- people bath and come! You ask me- how is that bad?? When you are at the receiving end of all the water dripping down from women's hair, you will know !!! That is one thing I just cannot fathom. I guess women have no time (or maybe patience?) to dry their hair. Then as I stand in the packed bus, I also get the "opportunity" to identify soap/shampoo brands- How?????
I happen to be a wee bit taller than the average Malayali woman. Consequentially, my head (in effect, my nose) is above most women's head. That is when I am subjected to the' smell' (for lack of better words!) emanating from their heads !! It's mostly a sickening mixture of oil and the soap/shampoo (whatever !). The least said, the better !
And then, the usual prodding, pushing and what not as the impatient travellers try to board and leave the bus. You get stamped once in awhile. Also, men 'accidentally' (intentionally, rather) brush past you.

Another issue is being a student. Here, we are given concession for travelling, much to the discontent of bus owners, who obviously resent it ! Hence, we students are greatly loathed, and the bus conductors try making it difficult for us in every way possible. They bark at us, prevent us from sitting in seats (if they are vacant) ; their logic being that those who pay full amount 'deserve' it.
There have been incidents in Kerala, where buses intentionally took off before the students boarded them, causing injuries to many. Some even shower abuses. Needless to say, I've become more 'thick-skinned' (as they say) !! But not all of them are so mean. There are bus conductors who do not bother us much. But nevertheless, conditions have to improve.

Driving by the bus-drivers is another issue. They go at such alarming speed and drive so carelessly, one fears for one's life. There have been moments when I've thought that the bus is taking us straight to Heaven! They obviously have to be on time, but they are mostly reckless. Hence, we are left swaying from one end to the other, praying we get out of it alive !!!

So that pretty much sums up my experience in buses.

Till next time.........adios !
Thought for the day: "If you can't see the bright side of life, polish the dull side."

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