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 ? :)


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

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

    chennai should pay you for this:-)

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

    n thanks kaber :)

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

  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...

  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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