Of Buses and Bumpy Rides

Because it’s been a long time since I blogged and because I have been thinking of  writing about this for sometime now, I’m writing this today.

7:50 A.M. : I hurriedly walk to the Chromepet Bus Stand, and wait in anticipation – for my bus – any one of the 91 series.

8:15 A.M. : There is still no sign of the bus, and plenty of office goers and other commoners like me wait impatiently.

8: 25 A.M. : A two tier 91 series bus finally approaches the stretch and people throng to get inside. It’s a pathetic sight as the bus which had alighted from Tambaram, is already ‘almost’ full as it arrives. Yet, people (including me) strive hard to get inside, because only God would know the ‘probability’ of arrival of the next 91 bus.

8:45 A.M. : 15 mins into travel and we have not even reached one-tenth the distance of my destination stop. The conductor has whistled the bus to stop, urging the passengers to buy their tickets. Just then somebody stamps hard on my foot, and punches my spine (completely unintentional) all for want of space, to stand.

9:15 A.M. : With an unkempt face, disheveled hair, and drenched in sweat, I push my way out, to get down at my stop, which I realise I have missed only after I see the bus hooting its way into the OMR road. (So much for NOT standing on the footboard to see if it’s the stop I’ve to get down at)

9:20 A.M. : Exhausted, I walk across the road, and catch the trailing bus to reach my workplace (There is no straight-one-bus route to my workplace, and this route is probably the shortest)

7:00 P.M. : Drained of strength and left with few microns of energy, I walk to the Thoraipakkam bus stand (wistfully smiling at the Mercedes Benz showroom on the way), I wait yet again for my chariot of agony ( oh yeah!)

7:30 P.M. : There’s still no sign of the bus coming. Tired, I hail a share-auto, and he tries to push two more passengers in, after me, into the already overflowing vehicle. And smilingly, asks for a good 30 bucks for the ride. Fuming, I hop out, and decide to wait for my bus (NOTE : I AIN’T STINGY)

7:40 P.M. : The ’91’ bus turns into the Thoraipakkam junction road in all its splendour. There’s no big difference in the crowd, and since I am not left with any other option, I slide in, onto the bus. Literally.

8:20 P.M. : The journey is pretty much the same – huge crowd, footboard travelling, no air to breath. As I prepare to get down, a look at the crowd near the footboard tells me that there is a mammoth task lying happily in wait for me. I squeeze my way out, and jump out of the bus the moment it stops. Swearing loudly.

Well, this has been my daily routine to work for the maximum number of days in the past one and half years. And I am not exaggerating.
1. What I’m trying to explain is the course of commute of a normal working middle class citizen in chennai, who doesn’t wish to/cannot afford the fares for an Air-Conditioned bus, everyday.( An A.C. bus too, on certain days is too full of people, that the automated doors don’t get closed easily)

2. What I have understood in my one and a half year journey, is, pretty much more than 75% of the college students, the working class people and the office-goers use the 91 series bus to commute.

3. What I want to ask is, when the government knows and understands the collections of each bus route, why does it fail to recognise the importance of the same, and increase the number and the frequency of each of them, whenever and wherever necessary? If done so, it will help prevent accidents due to footboard travel, and enable passengers travel in comfort at an affordable cost (Though after the recent Chennai flood debacle, one can see a gaping hole in the government’s functioning, and there are definitely several areas where it has failed us all)

Well, actually, I realise, I am at fault too. For, I was living with it – living with what I think is not right. What I forget to remember from time to time is, with the Right to Vote, comes The Right to Brag, and The Right to Protest/Raise your Voice.

I have never had the reason or need, to go for the former.(Pun intended)

But I have, atleast so far, subdued my voice – never taken the initiative to raise it  to make the required difference.

And that’s the mistake we as citizens make, in a completely democratic country like ours –  where there is tolerance, and freedom of speech and opinion. The freedom to Protest. The freedom to make a difference.

Enough of the bumpy rides. It’s time. To wake up. To pull up my socks. To ensure my vote doesn’t go waste. Again.

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Author: Annapurani Vaidyanathan

I hoard books for a living. And read them too, when I am not sleeping. I express what I think, so my unheard feelings don't sink. I like to sing when I walk, to keep shades grey, at bay. I speak like a dork, but I don't want to drive anyone away. I write what's real, and nothing fake, so visit my blog whenever you need a break ;)

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