Here I was at last, at the place I so much wanted to be, the place which would decide my fate. It was a do or die situation for me. The irony was I held the key for my own success/failure. Those moments spent waiting seemed like the longest moments of my life. The tension was like slow poison. It was decaying every cell in my body. I couldn’t control my anxiety any longer. It was as though the eternal call would never come. I silently said a prayer and waited. And then finally, it happened, the call came. Every decayed cell started to regain its freshness. A new energy had found its way through my body. I glided through the skating ring and made a humble bow before the cheering crowd. And then started the magical moments. The familiar music echoed in my ears and transported me to a magical land. I gently swayed through the ring dancing to the tune. With my body finely adjusted to the rhythm, there was no stopping. I danced and skated like I had never done before, the happiness refreshing my very being. The somersaults, the blind falls, each move of mine evoking a thunderous applause from the crowd. I was totally smitten and then was the time for the climax. The crowd watched with bated breath as I leapt forward, somersaulted, swiveled and climbed my partner’s shoulder for the final free fall. A free fall they had never seen. In a few moments, I would be at the pinnacle of success, I thought. And then I fell. When I opened my eyes, there was commotion around. The loud honking of horns made its way right through my ears and knocked on my inner self. Where was I? I looked around frantically and it was a sea of familiar faces and familiar roads. I smiled to myself as I realized I had just been thrown about due to a speed breaker and my beautiful dream had been shattered to pieces as usual. Well if you are travelling by bus to office every day, this is what would happen to your dreams.
Bus driving can be considered as a beautiful art with the entire city as the skating ring and the bus drivers as the skaters. Mornings, you literally dance to the tunes of the bus driver. Every turn makes you sway to the expected and yet unexpected turns of the vehicle. You roll to the right and then to the left and to the front and to the back. If the force of the turn is too much, you and your neighbour will also collide. So, its about 50 people who roll to the left, and then to the right, and to the front, and to the back and then finally collide. We are certainly saving up on the aerobics class fee. Additionally, if there is a huge bump, you can also fall into your seat partner’s lap or step on someone’s feet if you have been moving in the bus. Its like “Ek ke saath ek free. Aerobics class ke saath salsa free”. Through the entire aerobics class you have no control on yourself. Your chord is attached to the bus driver and he pulls the string.
Adding to this are the uninterrupting signals which glow in orange light. Now, please tell me what do these blinking orange lights in the morning mean. I was taught in school that orange means to “Get Ready, its soon going to be green”. Green, orange or red, all signal rules are broken and we experience the ultimate speed. “Bus nahin Aladdin ka carpet hai ye jo bas udhta hi jaata hai”. Its as though we are flying at the rate of 100km/hour. At this rate, the bus drivers can win any racing competition hands down.
Now coming to the speed breakers, they add the zing to the ride. PM’s busy on their blackberries and proposals have to safeguard themselves, their phone and their laptop. I wonder what would happen if they were in the last seat and were in the midst of a conference call. They would be yanking on the phone with another PM for a proposal or a resource, would go up from their seat and land with a thud and would continue to yank about the bad roads in India (proposal and resource all forgotten). No wonder I don’t see any PM’s on the last seat. Working ladies hold on tight to their lunch boxes, youngsters to their music players, in short, everyone protects the thing which is most dear or valuable at that time. The best in this group happen to be the freshers who are the only ones who giggle or smile in the entire bus. Others look as though they are haunted by a ghost. Anyways, for them very bump/turn/unexpected collides conjures up to a massive giggle. Sometimes, I can’t help myself from smiling looking at them.
The plight of the front benchers is even worse as they cling onto the rails least they fall off their seats. Not to mention the race that happens between the buses. The bus might have been moving at a snail’s pace but no other bus can overtake it. The other bus can glide along with it but not overtake it. That’s the birthright of each bus driver. Its a mad rush to get the first place and once attained its back to the snail’s pace. In fact, some bus drivers look back at the other one with a smirk on their face which reads “Mind it!!!”. Well in all this the front benchers are cruelly penalized and have to tightly hold onto the seat or railing whichever is nearer. One wrong move and they can be thrown out like our bollywood heroes throw out the bad goons from the bus crashing through the glass.
Evenings are the more “haule haule” rides. People travelling through Adugodi road in Bangalore will know what I mean. Every company’s bus starts at almost the same time. The roads are jam packed with vehicles moving inch by inch. So, the bus starts up every 2-3 minutes and it’s a slow “haule se” dhakka and then it stops. So, you dance to the step “Haule Haule ho jayega pyar baliye Haule Haule” and stop. So, every 2-3 mintues this step is repeated. This ritual continues for about roughly one hour. After that it’s a smooth ride with proper green, orange and red signals which some of the vehicles do try to break. There would be a biker crossing the path of your bus just because he raced off just before the signal turned red from the opposite side. So, it’s a sudden break and you do a fast jig and come back to your original position.
More interesting is the case when the bus driver drives you through a really bad road (roads with big potholes or roads which have been dug and covered with stones). It’s a real roller coaster ride but its not that scary as a real one is. Its more like dancing to “I am a disco dancer… tar raa tara I am a disco dancer….”
How much ever I might complain about them, there is still a sane section who drive safely. Our route has both the types of driver – one who is a safe driver and the other a rash driver. In fact, the safe driver takes us to office only 10 minutes later than the rash driver. So, does rash driving really result in gaining time? Really a question to ponder over.
“We can be late to office by 10 minutes instead of never being able to make it there”