When I first started going to college by buses in my second year, I thought of buses as a luxury to the common people. You pay less than half of what rickshaws will cost you and you can travel the length of the city in under a hundred bucks. That said, I was very excited to know the ‘what’s and the ‘how’s of buses.
Then reality hit me hard when I waited at the bus stop and saw a bus coming towards me. It reminded me of the olden days Kolkata when the ‘half broken’ and ‘barely moving forward’ trams had hit the road (literally). As I noticed that I was supposed to get on this extremely down to earth (or even down to dust) bus, the world suddenly turned into gray scale, making me visualize myself as a 1950’s traveler.
The bus, which was allotted to my route, that is Chinchwadgaon to Warje Malwadi, was in all the ways the great grand-father of the other buses on the bus stop. I envied the people getting in other buses which were fancier (BRT buses). I had made my peace with the old dying bus. It made me think that today was its last journey, but somehow it magically appeared every morning at 7:06 am at the bus stop probably saying
“I’m back, bitches!”
I traveled 3 semesters via the old bus, back and forth, early morning or late at night. It broke down more number of times than I actually had commutes from it. But it was the only bus which took me to my college without having to change two buses. So instead of changing my route, I stuck to this old metal crap.
I have seen many incidents during my bus journeys; ones that cracked me up until I was the only one in the whole bus who looked retarded (more than the person who I was laughing at), or the ones that touched my heart immensely. One particular incident is the pole dance!
Basically, the PMPML buses provide you many metal poles along the seats, for support for the people who didn’t get a seat. One such pole is right in the middle of the gangway. I saw a person once catching hold of it with both his legs on either side of the base of the pole. Call it coincidence or destiny that I saw such a scene, the driver applied brakes for a speed-breaker and revved the bus again by accelerating it suddenly just when the person by the pole was picking up something and got up as if pole dancing, and in a very sexy manner too. Deepika Padukone had a tough competition there. Oh Inertia, thou art a bitch.
I have seen weird people commute; also extremely kind ones who tend to help even the ones not in need of a seat. But let me warn you, more than these there are the people who grab the seat by throwing their bag on it from meters apart. Grabbing hold of the seat is the most difficult thing to do in a PMPML bus. Steps for that are:
- You first check your competition on your bus stop. Are there many people who are waiting for the same bus? You will get to know that number when they move forward when your bus approaches, like a lion waiting to pounce on a kill.
- If you have competition, you have to be good in Physics, by that I mean you have to calculate the exact position the bus will stop so that you are the first person to enter by the door. Calculate its speed, notice where the driver starts applying the brakes and the possibility that the door will come right in front of you
And if after all that, you still haven’t managed to get a seat, I pray you hold the pole in a decent way. There are many of us watching and laughing like a maniac inside our heads on your sexy but innocent moves.
But what if the bus is so crowded that you don’t get any kind of metal support around you? Worry not, just lean on your neighbours who are probably doing the same to people around them. It is most difficult when the you’re dangling on the steps of the bus and the person on the next step above has a huge heavy bag, you have to lean your upper body outside the bus and make people travelling ‘normally’ wonder whether half your body has been sacrificed to the stampede Satan.
I was frustrated with my old, dying bus who just kept on breaking down every single morning due to which I missed all of my first lectures (Hello defaulter’s list, here I come again). Even after giving out enough smoke to pollute Earth and Mars together and the engine making weird resonating noises, the bus just wouldn’t die! It kept coming in our faces every morning.
Until one fine day, just a couple of weeks ago, when they changed the old crap to these new BRT buses in Pune and the faces of all the punekars at the bus stop looked as if they received candy from Willy Wonka himself. It also had an LED rolling board which glowed Warje Malwadi in our faces, we were happy to soak in that electronic light. All the fun was over right when the BRT bus stops came ahead and we realized it took at least 675423456 years to synchronize the BRT bus laser to the BRT bus stop detector in order to open the bus stop doors. Technology had laughed in our faces. The BRT bus, even with their blazing speed of 40 kmph, made us arrive at our destination half an hour late.
One such day when the driver had done synchronizing the laser and the detector, after what seemed like an eternity, the doors of the bus stop opened, which were at least 2 meters above ground. The man inside the bus stop looked at the distance between the bus stop and the bus and plainly exclaimed
“I wasn’t that good in long jumps in my school years”
The driver had to bring the bus closer to the bus stop to avoid the passengers falling straight on the ground. That took another lifetime. And my parents ended up asking whether I was the one driving the bus because I came home late.
(I do not, in any condition, drive like a snail!)
All the jokes apart, buses still give me a chance to see touching moments; even the ones where I’ve helped others and in return received
“Duniya bhar ka aashirvaad”
The pole dances are a common thing now in buses. They still amuse me if the person doing it, is the conductor himself.
Shweta Mustare. A girl living in Pune, India, waiting for life to give the big break. Blogger, Thinker, sometimes funny, always a weirdo.