A little introduction is in order for this post I belive. Remember about a week and a half ago I wrote this? If you're too lazy to click through it's that post about the idiots on my bus. Well one of the comments on that post was all like:
And then I was all like:
And then it was like:
And she really did! I didn't think it would actually happen but she did! :) This made my week and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Her writing is like poetry! So, without further adieu, allow me to introduce ... Soumashree's bus experience!
I live in Kolkata. Or Calcutta as it was known earlier. It probably leads the list of the most populated cities of the world and is officially the rich West's charity outpost. No, I dont always talk like this. Heh heh.
So, bus rides, eh?
Buses are THE transport here. Everyone uses them. If you're out n the road and happen to be sticking your arm out, be warned a bus will stop in front of you. Which brings me to the most important bus phenomenon here... though there are a million designated bus stop and though bus drivers are fined if they stop outside the stations, buses will stop anywhere and everywhere in this city. Which brightens the situation for those needing a bus but makes it horrible for those on the bus who cherish the desire to reach somewhere.
Second, we're always standing. Buses actually have more standing space than seats and owing to the man count of this subcontinent, there are even people hanging out of gates during the peak office hours.
Sometimes, while I am jostling in the middle of one man who wants nothing as much as to brush his arm against by right breast and another who is artfully aligning himself so he can peep into my cleavage, I hear and see things which make all this worthwhile. Topping the list are people who speak over the phone. They don't need to. They speak loud enough for the other person to hear them without a phone. The lies they speak are quite entertaining. They're at meetings, at hospitals, or (and this is the crowd favourite) just five minutes away from a place which is actually no less than an hour away.
Endless battles ensue between endless hoards of men and women. Some people find a backpack very offensive, since it takes up extra space. I've even heard stories where men have been asked to take off jackets for the same reason. But these instances are more and less far between in case of the Great Indian Railway and buses are exempted, thankfully.
Of course, if a driver is stopping every minute to pick up every stray passenger from the road, an old man or two are bound to call the bus (loud enough for said driver to hear) a 'bull drawn cart with headlights'. Of course, the vernacular for this does not sound as ridiculous. It's short and swift but as bizarre.
Just the other day, I was speaking with a friend who had called from London. I asked him to call me later because speaking in a bus is plain impossible. A lady who overheard me was quick to ask how I met someone in London, whether I intend to live there and get married to him, etc.
C'est la vie.
You can find Soumashree's blog here. I'm so happy she allowed me to post her e-mail for all to see!
If any of you out there have any bus tales to share (i.e. horror stories or general awfulness) please please email me along with a couple pictures of yourself and I will include you in my global bus hatred club. What does that mean? I do not know.