Saturday, October 22, 2011

My love affair with Chennai buses



There are different ways of seeing a city’s ‘crowd’ :
If you are in Delhi ,I suggest you take a walk down the ‘university area’ or ‘chandini chowk’ or just hop into a metro ..
If you are in Hamara Lucknow .. go ‘ganjing’ in the evening or drive over to Tundae Kababs ( or if u need real ENTERTAINMENT …SaharaGanj ;-) )

But if you are in Chennai …you can Go over to Marina and Besant nagar beaches /  Mylapore temples / Kalakshetra / get lsot I nthe aroma of a hot filter coffee / go catch a first day show of Thala’s movie / go shopping down Ranganathan street
OR , you can take your ipod and hop into a bus :-D

See, I was raised as a ‘delicate darling’ .
So , the only time I traveled in buses/tempo was when I was escorted by an ‘adult’ .And by the time I grew up , my activa and I had a roaring affair going on .
Or , there was always someone’s car to jump onto .
The result ?
 I realized that if I don’t travel in buses while I am in college .. I’ll never do it !

So , after 3 years of jostling/getting trampled on/running like a maniac behind buses/screaming/passing tickets/carefully evading tamil ‘mamis’ in the buses …
 I realized that I am in love with them ( not the mamis sickos … the buses ) :)

The sheer plethora of people you come about ..
The ‘macha’ with full volume ‘otha sollala’ ringtone .
The paathi carrying her big shopping bag or dozing off near the window .
The random beautiful ‘salvar kameez’ clad girl with the flowers in her hair .
The old veshti clad grandfather holding his tattered cloth bag close to him .
The “IT” guy whispering into the phone to his girl phraand ..
The construction worker/vegetable seller looking uncertainly at the bus before getting in ..wondering if she should take a “lesser priced” bus
The rare bihari/northie guy bitching full on in hindi ( ahh … music to the ears ) :D
The ‘gold laden’ tamil mami shrewdly finding seats for her entire family !
( as Achyut rightly said “They are so short , you’ll never notice them coming .only a BUM will hit you on the leg and suddenly you’ll be pushed )
The group of giggling , noisy , spectacled school girls .
And the quiet housewife checking her watch again and again .

The scene outside the window is another story in itself .
It’s like someone is playing a live movie outside and you are being given the free seat ..there is no beginning … no end  .
Just the same movie again and again  with a myriad of characters .
Early morning Chennai … the temples alive with sounds . Big cars and aged scooters and testosterone pumped bikes roaring about ( I guess that’s the typical scene anywhere .. but the smell , the effect is unique to every city )
People driving all day .Some in a hurry , some just dozing off on their steering wheels . Some running to cross the streets .
The street hawkers resting .. the nighttime closing of shops … the chaos of everyday life and the sublime tranquility beneath it all :)


There is a certain magic about being in a bus .. you are surrounded by a crowd . And yet all alone .
Fights happen .. kindness appears out of nowhere .. everyone around is lost In their own world . Trapped in something that they love .. and yet despise .
People get in ..get out .. and the bus keeps moving .
Sometimes shaky , sometimes it breaks down and has to be repaired .
But it keeps moving … and somehow , isn’t that what life is all about ? :)



8 comments:

  1. I like this, good stuff. You've got an eye for detail.

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  2. brilliant, brilliant imagery and ekdum aapke characteristic best-est ishtyle mein;-)

    chennai should pay you for this:-)

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  3. hahahah ... u r the second person who said this :D

    n thanks kaber :)

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  4. Huh.........look who speaks, you LUCK NO guy!!!

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  5. You are one observant guy!
    Really liked the way you have noted them in the most surreal way!
    Ever thought about writing for some daily?If not plz do...

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  6. " There is a certain magic about being in a bus .. you are surrounded by a crowd . And yet all alone . "

    -----------Great Lines , Dude .

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