As a teenager, I'd always be chided by my mom and aunts for my aversion towards travelling by public transport buses.
Of course, the older generation was a strong advocate of the public transport BTS bus, thanks to all the money it saved, in comparison to an autorickshaw.
During outings, while my mom would still be deciding between a BTS bus and an autorickshaw , I’d jump into the first autorick I’d spotted, leaving my mom much displeased about her spoilt daughter’s ways! Unlike my mom, it was an easy choice for me. Why the drudgery of a crowded bus when travelling is a breeze with an autorick? One of my aunts even gave me the nick “Auto Rani” as a tribute to my fancy for the three wheeler!
Apparently, my behaviour did not go down very well with the Bus Gods. And I was cursed.
When my husband and I,(who work for the same company) returned to India last year from the US, we found out that our office had shifted base to a tech. park more than 20 km away from our home. The traffic during peak hours in Namma Bengaluru can take the wind out of your sails on any given day. And I wasn’t gonna let my husband, G, brave the crazy traffic everyday by driving to work!
Much to my dismay, I learned that, the most pragmatic mode of transport was – yes, you guessed it – The Bus!
And so, the journey began. Literally and otherwise.
Initially, I’d get all riled up with the unrelenting traffic jams. A good hour and a half spent each way ate up the better part of our weekday hours outside office. Here I was, spending all my evenings in a stupid bus, instead of, at home, with my family or with friends.A nagging lower backache cropped up. The sheer boredom of having to sit through the unending commute was killing me, day in and day out. All in all it just made me want to pull all my hair and scream "Bus Karo!"
But as the cliche goes- every cloud has a silver lining. And did I find mine? You bet!
-I discovered the FM Radio- my steadfast travel companion. Nothing better than starting your day with music,they say, and what's better, I even get to end mine, the same way! The RJs on Radio City, Mirchi,Radio One et al,albeit a little annoying at times, are great company.
-Sometimes,people seated close to me drive me nuts with loud conversations on their cellphone,specially when my fave song's on.But then, when I turn off the radio, turns out their conversations are a lot more fun! Once there was a guy seated behind me, who was having a telephonic brawl with his wife. He was screaming his lungs out at her when the journey started. I was so worried that I might not get to know who won in the end ,if I had to get off the bus before him. But then, much to mine and everybody else's (every single soul in the bus could hear him) relief, he made up with her on the phone itself(!) in the end, cooing little "I love you"s furtively, in end! Awww..:)
-The "cold war" between me and this pretty young thing in the bus stop. It all began, one day when the bus pulled in to the stop, and as I started my ascent up the stairs, Ms.PYT came running. Pushing me aside rudely, she made her way into the bus. As I stood there, apalled by this boorish act, she turned around and smiled at me. Hello? I was kinda expecting a s-o-r-r-y?. And what was this hurry for? She wanted to make sure she found a seat in the bus next to her best bus friend! :-o So, when I see her in the stop, I somehow get into the bus before she does and promptly help myself to a seat adjacent to her best bus buddy. Hah!
-The apartment complex of my dreams, that's still under construction, falls on the way. I peer outside the window to catch a glimpse everyday. I've been kinda tracking the progress keenly everyday,not once thinking about the astronomical real estate prices! And if G's also traveling with me that day, I nudge him and say "Look Look,they've started building the second wing" and he replies without even looking at it and with a reassuring smile- "Oh yes baby, I promise we'll have a house there someday". Makes my day!:)
-When I spot two hundred people squeezed into a public transport BTS bus, travelling alongside ours on the Bangalore roads. Sitting pretty in our exclusive tech park bus, where a crowd is almost unheard of, I feel compelled to thank my stars.
-When G falls asleep on my shoulder during the commute, at the end of a tiring day in office. They say its a priceless feeling to have your baby fall asleep in your arms.I don't have a baby yet,but I'm pretty sure, what I feel at that moment is kinda close.
-The long conversations with G, if we're on the same bus. Our dialogue ranges from bitching about colleagues to discussing our college crushes.Its probably 'coz we have nothing else and nobody else to distract us during those 90 minutes!:) But then, isn't that a lot of quality time spent with each other? I know it is, specially when you are a working couple and live with your extended family.
And then things were never the same!
Sure, long commutes are not what you'd call exciting. Traffic still sucks. The lower back still hurts. The zero-social-weekdays still bother me.But I am glad about one thing – I’d learnt to make lemonade out of the proverbial lemons that life gave me. True to the spirit of the quintessential Bangalore catchphrase "Solpa Adjust Maadi" (Please adjust a little) - I'd learnt to do just that- adjust. The journey has taught me to appreciate the little joys that cross your path so quietly, and be grateful for them. It has made me realise that throwing a fit and cribbing endlessly take you nowhere. It's taught me that a little patience is all it takes.
Now, only if the Bus Gods smile upon me and my office shifts base again to closer home!:)