Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bus ka safar..

As a part of celebrations for our term end exams, we decided to go to Pondichery...and the best part of the trip was the bus journey...Singing songs that were attrociously vulgar to bhajans ..jumping on the seats...all this took me back to my school days...the wonder years and the amazing bus travels..

As a child, bus travel was something which I always looked forward to. Thinking about it now, we were lucky to be in school with an extremely good bus service (though that time we always loved when the buses came late as it was an official half day at school) along with a very kind conductor. Ram Kaka, as we called him, exactly knew where each one of us got in and got down and was extremely tolerant to all the hungama that was done inside the bus. Every evening as the school bell rang, each one of us used to be in extreme hurry to run up to the bus and book a window seat. So much used to be the competetion that sometimes we would throw our bags through the window on to the seat inside so as to avoid increasing the bottleneck developed at the bus door.

Bus time was equivalent to fun time. Everything was done in the 20 mins journey. Thanks to the dumpy road that led to our school, few minutes of travel were nothing less than those on a essel world ride. To add to that, we used to stand and jump all over the bus which often led the heads of the taller lot to hit the roof. The journey back home was more pleasurable. All games left half way during the recess time were saved to be finished in this journey. If there was no unfinished businesses then we invented new games that could be played sitting accross the seats. Antakshari to Rapid Fire, punja to statue..all games were efficiently managed within the confined space of the bus.

More often, bus was the place to do things restricted in school. Playing holi was one of it. None of us used to fail to fill full our water bottels a day before Holi. Splashing water all over the bus and applying colours was never stopped by our very own Ram Kaka. On the contrary exam time used to be the exact contrast. It was time to revise(i wonder how i managed to study the whole syllabus because never after that i have managed to do it), to discuss so called "important" questions, to mug up last minute answers and to pray to God for a descent paper.

As I moved to college, the city bus was used as a mode of travel. I had a couple of freinds who accompanied me to my classes. The talks were varied..drifting from college gossips ..to Bollywood...to career goals..Although according to us it was a hush-hush affair, most of the times we were often given strange looks from the commuters who objected on the decible levels of our chats that we conviniently ignored. I was amazed at how the conductor would remember which passenger had taken a ticket and who hadnt and the high level of skills that he used to make his way in the over crowded bus.

Years later in my corporate life, bus again become an inseparable part of my life. We had the best buses in town running every day and night on perfect time. But sadly, as the saying goes...we have more channels of communication but we care less to keep in touch...All ears hooked up on radios , ipods or mp3s and all eyes either shut or focussed on some games. We seldom knew or bothered to know who the person sitting next to us was. Like zombies we used to get in and get out.

As kids we never once about old dusty buses running on potholed roads. Today even an air conditioned bus is not good enough. We used to sit crammed 4-5 of us on a three seater so as to play in a better way but now even a complete seat is uncomfortable ...I wonder sometimes if we see life better as kids....



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