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 ? :)