Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dear old 95

After almost ages (11 years actually), I replicated my bus-catching routine last Friday. Bus rides bring back a lot of memories. And I am not talking about the company bus-rides…those are painful.

For me, a bus ride consisted of this routine:
Walk from school to the St. Mark’s road bus-stop.
Catch a bus to Shivajinagar.
Catch 95 back home.

I did this for 7 years on the trot.
I did this again last Friday.

Our company’s early shuttle dropped me right in front of school. It was 5 o’clock, and all the students had left. I walked to the bus-stand…and then it happened – flood of emotions, memories, etc. Nostalgia at its peak. I remembered…

…the first time that I was thrown out of a bus
5th standard. Bit late to get to St. Mark’s road, and the bus to Shivajinagar was already racing away. So I did what any kid my age would have dreamed of. The act that would have been played mentally a million times, and always dread to try it out in public knowing fully well that I would fall flat on my face. But here I saw the chance. I ran behind the bus, and when it was at its full speed, grabbed onto the right-side bar, and hopped onto it. Simple. Ecstasy. I had done my first “boarding-bus-at-full-speed”. I was beaming with pride…
The bus stops. The driver turns back and shouts at me all the way at the back. He asks me to get down. Pride? That had been whisked away in a whimper. I had people staring at me…the “stupid kid” responsible for the bus being held up. Eyes glaring at me. With my head bent down, I just got down and dragged myself back to the bus-stop. If such a thing happened right now, I would have taken my mobile out and pretended to have a conversation to avoid the embarrassment. No such thing then.
Of course, I did board running buses later on that year, later years…but just not bus number 34. :)

…the way I rolled the 95 bus ticket into a strip and fold it again, before tucking it below my watch strap. The watch seemed to feel a lot more complete. But you never feel the incompleteness on normal days…but trust me. When you tuck that white strip, your watch had a whole new feeling. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the hour hand had decided to jump a few hours.
And always…always, I would forget about the ticket until the time I removed my watch at my table. It would fall down, and I would drop it in the waste-basket.
And yes, I did that last Friday as well. Some things never change.

…the “game”
Ok, there are a lot of games that can be played on the bus. But my favourite solitary game was this:
Close your eyes, and think about something…anything, possible a book you recently read, a movie you recently saw, anything. After some time, with your eyes closed, try to guess which stop you are in.
It isn’t easy. It took me months before I had to remember stuff like, “Ok…a hump, immediately another hump, and then with a few seconds, we are stopping. Yes…this must be Mariappan Palya stop.” Or “This kind of right curving turn can be nothing else but the one after Natraj theatre onto Sampige road”. Pure fun.

…the favouritism
I hate bus conductors. Almost all of them (Ok…obviously not our Super Star. ;-). Especially the ones on the SBI to Shivajinagar route. The buses used to be jam packed with a lot of students, from a lot of schools. But the soft and soothing “oh. Parvagilla…swalpa mundhe hogamma. Slow-aagi iri…tension beda. Oh pass-a? Sari.” for the Bishop Cotton’s girls, and the harsh and angry “Lo…mundhe hogo! Bega bega…pass thorso. Nimbagge gothilva!!” for us Josephites….aargh…that still pains me. @!#!$!$

…the pen behind the ear and the notes between the fingers
The 95 bus conductor was a hero for me. I loved the way he nonchalantly kept his pen behind his ear, and never seemed to lose it. And here I was with a pencil box, a huge bag, and still losing pens by the dozen. And the rupees notes between the fingers…that just oozes style. Incredible style. :)

And by the time all these memories drained out, I was back at my house.
Back to taking the bike out.
Back to taking the car out.


At 4:23 AM, Blogger DhiOnlyOne said...

Made me recall our Shivajinagar bus rides. Infact I think we made two bus trips recently....one from Jayanagar. Where was the other one from? I fail to remember....

Anyway, the ticket thing reminded me of my attempts to save 25 paise by saying "pass" when the conductor used to ask me for a ticket.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger pophabhi said...

Incredible!! Closing the eyes and guessing the stop is something that each and everyone of us must have undergone. The best way to pass the time in bus - an extremely difficult job that needs lot of practise. Great observation, Chilli!!

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Sridhar Raman said...

The other bus was from Shivajinagar. 95 actually. Remember the "pole dance" that Pramod did when he got down at MwM? :P

Ahh...the bus pass. The free bus pass, then the paid bus pass, then the pass in the form of tickets (which caused so much confusion among passengers & conductors)...


At 1:52 AM, Blogger Sunil said...


I was living too close to school to experience that!

But brings to mind my bus trips from engineering college!!

Hopping off the running college bus because the driver wouldn't stop!!

Will never forget the frequent trips from engineering college in the "Sughatta" BMTC bus though!!
Just one bus and almost the entire college striving to get into it!! Plenty fell flat on their faces in brave attempts to get in while it was moving. Pockets were torn, spectacles were broken- India's version of the "Survival of the Fittest"!!

It was time to develop techniques and even if one didn't learn anything else in engineering, one learnt ingenious ways to obtain a seat for a long bus ride!!


At 8:02 PM, Blogger sudeep said...

Awesome first hand account of bus rides Chilli !

I've started using the BMTC buses, in the morning whenever my car breaks down.....

These buses are REALLY efficient ONLY in early mornings like 7 to 7 : 30 in the morning...

As the peak hour approaches, dont climb a BMTC bus....

If the public transport is efficient, I would prefer public transport atleast for a year..

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Rajneesh said...

You are a jinx!

At 10:10 PM, Blogger tr-ash-talk said...

Bus rides were really cool ... my lasting memory of the bus ride was once when I was sitting in a 'ladies' seat and got fined by a cop who stopped the bus.

My fav in-the-bus game was trying to stand still without having to hold on to the railings for the longest period of time ....

Cheers mate


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