The Thursday

It was festive season in Bangalore. It was Vinayaka Chathurthi and something else. And it was raining lightly. As usual I carried my umbrella all the previous 4 days and it dint rain. That day as expected I dint have my umbrella and it started pouring as I got out of my office at 7:50 pm. Man I am Lucky.
Friday was a holiday for many, not for me though.
I got fully drenched as I got to Shri Krishna Sagar.

OK dude, its raining, let me eat something and then try to catch a bus. I ordered a Roti-Curry. It came, I gulped it down.

The rain dint stop. Somehow I managed to get into a bus. I was fully wet by then. I was wearing a shirt and another t-shirt inside. I removed my shirt and squeezed it which gave way to a tributary and a few stares.

The bus reached NIMHANS. I am supposed to get down here. But it was still raining. If I get down here I will have to walk a bit and cross the road to get to the next bus stop where I gotta catch the next bus. I don't want to drench.
So I had a master-plan, man that stupid decision that I took- I will stay in this bus till Shanthinagar. That is a kind of a Bus depot, which is fully covered and so I can catch my second bus from there without getting wet.
Don't you feel I am a smart ? eh ?
Indeed I am.
I went to the conductor and asked how much more should I give him so that I can get down at Shanthinagar. He was courteous and told me it is a pittance, its ok.
So I sat down and waited for my depot.
But it never came.
Man this is a Market Bus.
It doesn't go to the depot!!
It went to Minerva circle, J.C. Road and every other road in Bangalore, but not the Depot :(
And I don't want to go to K.R. Market at this time of the day!
Thats the only place I am scared of in Bangalore.
And taking a bus from K.R. Market to anywhere in Bangalore is a challenge for a newbie in Bangalore. There are no platforms and everything there is disorganized.
So I had another master-plan - 2.

I will get down at Town-hall and get a bus to Majestic.
Man I love Majestic!
Such an organized place it is.

So at the town-hall stop I got a bus to majestic. It was jam packed. I squeezed in. In my Bangalore maps back home I have seen that K.R. Market is "very" close to Majestic. So I thought ok man will be in Majestic in 5 minutes.

The conductor, a very friendly fellow came-by and I asked for a ticket to Majestic. It was Rs6. I was surprised. Is it that far ?

Anyways got the ticket and waited, hanging from the bars, squeezing and pushing. We reached K.G Road, I was very happy to see all those Bank building, ok we are going to make it to majestic, I thought.
But wait.
The traffic came to a halt.
Why, what was the reason ? I asked a couple of people. Nobody knew.
The bus was inching little by little then the frustrated driver switched off the engine.
Some people started getting down from the bus and heading towards the BMTC bus depot.
I was lazy to do that. SO I waited in the bus, hanging.
My mother's call came, I attended and told her I am in the second bus, there is a terrible traffic jam etc.
By the by the rain had stopped. So I master planned to walk the rest of it till BMTC depot.

Man! There are lot of people walking. Moreover there were lot of people carrying a lot of luggage.

Only now did it strike. Man if tomorrow is a Friday and its a holiday for many and its festive season- we will have loads of people heading to their hometowns. I could see men and women carrying luggage and babies literally running towards majestic. They are on their way to catch their buses. I could hear a guy telling his wife
"Come quickly, the bus will leave in 10 minutes." And she was dragging herself to keep in pace with him.
I walked and reached a circle, I think this was the KG circle. This is the circle where you will see a traffic police standing in the middle and shouting into a microphone. From here I could see that all the four roads leading to this place was jam-packed. The vehicle owners were so greedy that they wouldn't even give you a inch of place for you to cross the road. The vehicles are placed one behind the other in such a manner that I had to jump over the front wheels of a few two-wheelers to get across the circle.
Then I walked and walked and walked.
I reached the depot.
Man I did it.

When I entered the Majestic depot I saw a scene which was hitherto never seen and I hope will never have to see again.

The bus-stop where I have always seen a lot of buses, whether it be 5:00 am or 11:00 pm had not even a single bus inside it. And there were 10 times the Persian army strength in "300" as passengers here. Once in 5 minutes one bus would manage to enter the depot and people would attack the bus, the mob would swallow the bus. It would get packed in fractions of seconds and is ready to leave.

I went and stood near platform No.14. By now my thoughts had already charted as what I would do if I had to spend this night in Majestic ?

After waiting for about 12-15 minutes a bus came - the coveted 171, yes I can get till NIMHANS in this one. Now starts the drama.
I was petty sure that there will be a fight between the people who are getting down and the people who are boarding the bus. And it did happen.
8 times the capacity of the bus wanted to board the bus. Boarding a bus or train and getting a seat for myself in such a highly competitive situation is like a challenge for me. I was trained in this skill at my school days whilst I used to travel to Thrissur on Sundays in a train ironically named "Push-Pull"!.

So thus I got in and made myself comfortable in a side seat, which turned to be a bad decision. The bus was leaking and my right hand was completely wet.
Through my window I could see people hanging from the footpath risking their life. The bus was densely packed.

People standing were having a tough time. I thanked P. C. Thomas for not opening a franchise office in Ernakulam, I used to curse him for not doing so during my school days. The bus moved very slowly eventhough there was no big traffic. So at last we reached NIMHANS. I managed to get out. I should have been here about 2 hours ago if not for my master plan-1!

A few buses came by, but none in my route. I was getting tensed as the time was 11 p.m. So I decided to do something, that I always detested. Catching a Auto-rickshaw.
Somehow I have a feeling that only weak people catch an Auto-rickshaw. So I went ahead and waved my hand.
And Surprise! Surprise! He accepted the offer of going to BTM 2nd Stage at 1.5 times the meter charge!
Wah, how lucky I am. I thought "yes, this is the end of today's great Bangalore experience", relaxed and happy. :)

Dude, wait, not yet.
We just went half a kilometer and stopped. Why ? I turned back and saw that another Auto-rickshaw was damaged. The front tyre part had completely collapsed. And this vehicle was right in the middle of the road. The poor machine must have toiled a lot as roads were in pathetic condition as it had rained.
So the humble and highly "friendly" auto-driver whom I hired or rather I got hired, had to stop his vehicle right in the middle of the road and go and help his friend in distress. So 10- 15 minutes there in getting that broken machine to the roadside. I could see a Muslim woman in all black inside that patient machine. Poor female, hope she reached her destination. Then we went ahead and started having a smooth ride. The meter was rising smoothly to Rs30-Rs40 etc.
And then Boom, Traffic Jam at 11 pm at Jayadeva near Bannerghatta circle.
What more can I ask for ?
My auto Manipulator waited for quite some time in the traffic and allowed the meter to gain some Rs for waiting charges. Then he broke the traffic rules and took a U-Turn and drove through the ring road and thus I was at home after that great mission.
I gave the auto-driver a brand new 100 rupee note.
I pressed the door bell. Nair opened.
"Why so late?"
"Lot of work at office, da"


Neha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neha said...

Thanks Pranjeesh for stopping by !