July 29, 2007


Few days back.......I cross the road to get to the bus stand on the other side. Not before a car has almost crushed me to death and a two wheeler knocks the wind out of me. I miss the bus by a minute. And this is normal. On days I come early, the bus would also be earlier by a minute. The next bus comes after half an hour. Trying to look for an auto is also pointless as they are always occupied. I wonder "Are there so many people in Bangalore?".

The bus I get into is leaning to its left because of the weight of the people in it. I climb in and find myself lost. My purse, slung across my shoulders is moving to the right. My dupatta moving left seems to strangle me as people are constantly pushing it and my neck entwined in it, twists into weird angles. I can’t even curse under my breath as the very existence of it is being squeezed out of me.

Its 9.30 am. The bus has not moved an inch and I am still stuck in traffic. The bus is so jam packed with people that I can sense that the lady squashed against me is a regular pan eater. The smell is very strong. Her hair smells of coconut oil mixed with sweat. Poor lady, she is also in the same mess as me.

I am feeling claustrophobic. I look through the windshield outside. I see more than 40 yellow colored hoods & a generous sprinkling of cars. Mostly white - I think these are the call center cabs. And trying to get ahead amidst this pile of automobiles are the two wheelers. These add color to the otherwise prevalent white and yellow.

I notice a man sitting pillion on a Splendor bike. He is knotting his "red with blue diamonds" tie with unwavering concentration. It amazes me that something so normal could seem so out of place in all the mayhem. He finishes knotting it. It’s a well done "double knot". Neat.

Meanwhile the crowd in the bus is dispersing. I am looking to find a seat. That’s wishful thinking. Then I do the second best thing I know. Look through my trained eyes to spot people who might be alighting soon.

It’s simple actually. It’s all about keen observation. People who are leaning forward in their seats are the first lot of possible candidates. They are either peering to see if it’s their stop or know for sure that its time to move. In the former case one might have to wait an additional stop to get that seat. In the latter one has to be quick to slide in :). The second lot of candidates will start adjusting the bag straps and put their phones inside (this is not a definite sign as people are so busy they continue talking while alighting). Others might put their books inside.

There is a woman shuffling her feet and leaning forward in her seat. My seat looks promising. Aah……….. I bagged one :).