I reached Chennai early in the morning on one fine Monday after a long weekend at home. I got off at CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus). I had to take metropolitan transport Bus No 570, a popular one among the residents off the OMR to reach my home in Kelambakkam. I was waiting patiently among the huge young crowd gathered there waiting for the same bus as well.
After few minutes, 570 arrived. A Volvo 8400 from Anna Nagar depot with a digital screen displaying 570 Kelambakkam smoothly moved into the bus bay like a butterfly touching down on a fresh blossomed flower in a misty morning. I could see the bus driver and conductor neatly groomed and they seemed fresh and energetic to embark their morning shift.
That beautiful ambience surrounding me disappeared in a moment when the driver opened the door. Young IT professionals, who were waiting desperately till then for the angelic 570 rushed through the front and rear doors by pushing each other with shoulders. I could see them thronging and running inside the bus to grab a seat for journey which lasts for more than an hour. To get into the bus at that particular tedious moment, you definitely have to possess a martial art expertise. You could hit at the face of a person behind you with your backpack and trample upon others feet and you are allowed to do whatever you want. Finally, an apology with a sincere countenance is generously accepted.
In this fierce battle among the citizens whose ultimate aim is to grab a seat in the bus and to rest their butts upon it, there is neither a difference between nor a preference for men and women. They have to battle it. After all, everyone is equal before the eyes of MTC Chennai and Volvo 8400.
Volvo 8400 is an air conditioned bus. There are no windows and a transparent glass replaces the windows. I wondered how these educated professionals working in multinational corporations would have behaved if it was a conventional Indian bus with windows. They would have thrown their bags, hand kerchiefs, towels, mobile chargers and in few unfortunate hysterical situations, they would not hesitate to throw themselves through the window just to prove to the world that they have reserved the seat officially. Even IRCTC website would laugh at this mode of typical Indian bus reservation system.
Vexed by looking at the behavior of these literate citizens, I decided to take the next bus. But to my embarrassment, the scene repeated again. Finally, I decided to make a break journey. I boarded three buses (Velachery, SRP and Kelambakkam) and reached home happily and safely which took me 20 minutes more to travel and 32 bucks less than that of an air conditioned 570. I felt this break journey was more calm, comfortable and lovely when I sat beside a window enjoying the cool and early morning natural breeze from the Bay of Bengal.
Feature image by Ashwin Kumar, CC BY SA-2.0