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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The Man Who Will Continue To Live.

.Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

The name says it all.

Before you begin reading this, let me explain to you what the post is not. This post neither is a biography of the iconic personality, nor is it an essay of bombastic words describing his greatness – only, it needs no mention, and it can’t be mentioned or measured. You, the reader, would probably know better.

This post is just my way of remembering him.

This is my tribute to him.

Dr. Kalam became the President of India in 2002; I was in class V then. To know the name of the country’s president was part of our Social Science curriculum. And that is how; I got to know his name first. 2 years into his role as a president, and he made the country realize the potential of the youth – The future pillars of the nation. His love for children and the youth brought more energy into the work he did and this set him apart from the other leaders of the nation.

His ways were unique, more down to earth and gentle. And this demeanor brought him closer to the people. And the ambition to meet him; increased. It became every student’s dream to meet him. I had the dream too. That was when I wrote this. In 2005. (Coincidentally, this was my first article to get published).

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Soon after, a senior of mine at school, Shalini, had informed my mother, how she wrote a letter to the President (Dr.Kalam), and how she got a very appreciative response from him for the same. News was also around that Dr. Kalam was encouraging students to write to him; share thoughts, suggestions and ideas with him.

That was when I sent him a ‘small’ mail.

‘Small’ because;

Firstly, I couldn’t believe the fact that the President of India was personally responding to the letters/mails sent to him.

Secondly, the huge dunderhead that I was (I still am), I didn’t actually know what to write to him, or ask him.

Nor did I sincerely expect a reply. But reply he did.

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Not just to me, but to the thousands of others who wrote to him.

And that made a huge difference to my thought process. For the president of a country to take interest in each and every email/letter that came across, and respond to it all with immense politeness, it was a huge, huge deal. His humility amazed me.

People admired him for his simplicity, his intellect, his humbleness. That’s exactly how he has carved a niche for himself in the hearts of people. No pomp, no show. He was the “People’s President” through and through. And that will make him remain alive in their hearts forever, as much as he continues to inspire zillions all over the world.

A huge bit of regret still lies in my heart for not having had the opportunity to meet him in person, yet my little piece of email-memoir of him and the fact that I live in an era that he had lived, strive to reduce the disappointment.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, – You will be missed. Your demise has created a void in this world, that can’t be filled by any other.

Rest In Peace, Dr. Kalam

Talk about Contrasts, Courage and Confidence!

7 p.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter : A young guy, Mani clears the area around and settles himself down to begin his trade for the day. He sells flowers. At a very nominal rate. To earn his daily bread.

7 a.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter, bang opposite the place where Mani sits everyday: Another guy slightly older than Mani, perhaps. Who seeks alms from people to have his daily bread.

7: 05 p.m. Chromepet railway station, near the ticket counter, bang opposite Mani : The slightly older guy still is seeking for alms from people. Mani has just begun his trade.

Confused at what I’m trying to convey? Well, for your information, Mani, is slightly crippled. His one leg isn’t normal, like it is for the rest of the human clan. He still EARNS his living. He manages to make a living for himself, in spite of what circumstances had in store for him. He doesn’t brood over it. He doesn’t use his minus as his key to gain the sympathy of people. Which is commendable.

And as for my reference to the other guy, who seeks alms, well, he is crippled too, in the leg. Perhaps someone who has suffered a higher degree of damage. And is under even more pain and difficulty. Than Mani. But by God’s grace, his hands are still intact. So is the rest of his body. He can STILL EARN a decent living for himself, if ONLY he wills it. And that is where Mani makes a difference for himself.
Two people in similar situations, but their attitudes show the contrast in their livelihoods. It takes only a bit of confidence and a small dose of courage to bring the change.

P.S.  No, I ain’t anyone to make a comparison of the livelihoods of the two. Or comment on the same. Nor am I some reporter snooping around for stories for my magazine. No. This is plainly my observation. And it ends with a lesson for self.That’s about it.

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Random Thoughts!

Forget your past if it hurts you. Completely. With both the good and bad in it. Start today like there has been no yesterday. Live today like you will live to see tomorrow.
This way, you create a new past, way more memorable, with just the memories you want to cherish.

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Scion of Ikshvaku – My take :)

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I know I’m a tad too late in writing this, but better late than never 😉

Oh! btw, before I start, this isn’t a review; just my view on how I found the book to be.

Scion of Ikshvaku is the first book of the Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi.

The book delivers what it promises to – An unbridled account of the life of Ram. Right from his birth, his childhood, his relationship with King Dashrath, his equation with his 3 Queen mothers, his bonding with his brothers, his Swayamvar and beyond, specially, the reason behind the 14-year exile or the infamous Vanvaas (I hadn’t even guessed about this reason in the wildest of my dreams); every intricate detail, with ample references to apt Sanskrit verses, has been delivered in the signature Amish style – one which has got him such huge readership. The secrets and lies that lie behind every event that unfolds are worth turning the page for.

The instances, where the Ram-Lakshman duo stand up for each other, where Raavan makes his marks in Ram’s life, where Ram stands by his people and the law, are described with such perfect emotions that they make you want to delve more into the beautifully written passages. And that’s where the author wins.

‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ brings with it the baggage of Amish’s rightly gained stardom, which is sufficient to vouch for the book to be a reader’s delight, only, I felt it wasn’t as fast paced as the books of ‘The Shiva Trilogy’ (the one minus that I could think of, for the book), but maybe the forthcoming books of the series will make up, in full, for it. Yet, this is no reason for one to not grab his copy 😉

P.S.  I thought I should mention this, though. I liked Kavita Kane’s view of ‘Lady’ Urmila and Ma Kaikeyi in ‘Sita’s Sister’ better.

Because of two delicate theories I learned from it.

  1. Appearances are deceptive (Read ‘Appearance’ as what you get to see/hear) courtesy, a case of Ma Kaikeyi (Try reading the book to know what I mean. I dare not reveal it, lest I spoil the surprise for someone 😉 )
  2. Circumstances bring out the best in you, show what you are made of. – ‘Lady’ Urmila. (Yes, I prefer to call her a ‘Lady’, for her forthrightness, courage and the determination of steel that she is made of).

Just Saying.

Anna Quotes ;)

Decide. Do. Define.
Decide where YOU want to reach – Not where PEOPLE want you to.
Do your best to reach where you want to be.
Define your success then.

P.S. Some random thoughts that keep buzzing in my mind – Anna’s quote 😂;)

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