Few recent experiences in the bus when heading back from work:
1. A young lady in the seat behind me was on phone, begging the love of her life (or so it seemed) to forgive her as she was in a ‘customer session’. Which was why she did not pick up the phone call or make it in time to meet at the place agreed. She made sure the entire bus heard her pleas. After full 10 minutes of BS, I was too tempted to turn around and ask her to shut up and it was then that I heard her tell the person on the other end that she was heading straight to her in-laws place and then home! It somehow cracked me up 🙂 Am still wondering who in the right minds and with a little self-respect would try justifying oneself like crazy, be it the boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or the boss?
2. This lady decides to travel standing as all seats were full. She put her hand bag on my lap- no request- no permission. Its her right. Not that I mind, still… She opened the bag (which was on my lap), pulled out her mobile, zipped it up. When the conductor came around issuing tickets, she again pulled the zip open, fiddled for some coins, fished out another small purse, got the ticket, and put everything back into the bag (with the bag still on my lap) and closed it again!
3. Another lady, another day. I got a seat and there was this music lover standing next to me who decided to turn on the FM on her mobile. She did not use her earphones. Apparently, she wanted the fellow-passengers also to enjoy the music. Only that the signal wasn’t too good, the music was jarring, the songs were pathetic, there was noise all around, and the mobile was more close to my ears than hers. I lived through it for 10 minutes. I shifted uneasily (to tell or not to tell?) and she was aware of it. I glared at her and she looked back. She tuned into another FM! This wasn’t going my way. So i turned and requested her to use ear phones if she was really keen on listening or switch the damned thing off! To which she asked me very casually if the music was disturbing me. “No, it is very soothing on my ears” I said! If you thought she switched it off, no, you are wrong. She continued enjoying the music and the discomfort I was going through.Ummm.. there are such good people!
4. To travel standing in a bus (in Chennai), you need to master some skills. For instance, you must be willing to take orders from random people to pass money and tickets to and from the conductor and other junta! Even before you realize, you will be caught in the larger scheme of things doing the passing, with tickets getting swapped, conductor not issuing the change, or the change tended not reaching the correct passenger. A good place to start learning multi-tasking/parallel processing!
5. There is another interesting phenomenon with Chennai buses. Not sure if the same thing happens in the rest of India. When you reach the bus terminus, you will find about 4 or 5 buses in the same route, starting at a time, or maybe a few seconds apart. People hop buses now knowing which will start first and end up getting into a bus that would not leave the terminus. There are days when you will wait for over 30 minutes and still not see your bus. Some people have eyes with an in-built zoom that picks up the bus even when it is half a KM away, and make a dash for it. While there is a mad rush at the entrance, the few smart people throw in their bags, hand kerchiefs etc onto the seats from the window and ‘reserve’ the seat!
Have you met such good people? Share them please and tell me am not alone!