Monday, 28 May 2012

2005 - life in AC bus of Mumbai

Mumbai possesses a heart of stone. This is the perception of Mumbai embedded in common man's mind and it is justifiable to an extent. Stress and strain at work front have dehumanized people that interpersonal relationships are on the fringes of partition.  Verbal exchange of feelings brings two people close naturally.  When one is deprive of than strain offshoots from there. And in this scenario of chaos in and out AC buses are proving to be manna in hot desert.
On condition of anonymity a couple discloses the reason to choose this vehicle over others "Here we bought tickets to buy privacy. From dawn to dusk life keeps us apart and on toes and household jobs take toll over weekends. In lack of communication I noticed a chasm developing between us so I decided to choose this bus that gives us plenty of time to get in touch with each other."   This getting in touch is accompanied with smooches and cuddles that draw attention of many. "We know they are watching us but where else we channelize our aggression, in those dingy flats that brings in feelings of hatred over love."
Ashok Kadam a conductor (popularly known as Masters)  on witnessing such scenes that troubled an orthodox Maharashtrain in him, approached top officials but they overruled his objection stating that it is not causing any physical harm to anybody and restricts him to take care of passengers' comfort and convenience only. "I haven't seen any couple stepping beyond boundaries while expressing their love in form of hugs, whispers and smooches". He is now getting well along with this considering it as part and parcel of Mumbai life where interference is prohibited in such private affairs.
"We were akin to them in our green salad days why to make fuss out of it" justifies Patrachari CEO of a logistics company and worked abroad who chose this bus over his car and explaining the cause he quotes "I was spending some 20,000 on car and its maintenance with driver's salary per month. So the expenditure was not justifying the convenience. Now the decision has just doubled up the satisfaction while cost has trimmed down to one third of what I was spending. This satisfaction is not merely coming out of saving cash but also I am proud to say that I am adding value to save fuel campaign. More use of this bus by people like me would have its merit in terms that it could alleviate roads of traffic problem as number of cars is expected to go down." He further elaborates on merits of traveling "I have made two three travel companions and we discuss topics ranging from sports to economics, politics and business."
But Aradhana Takhtani an editor with business magazine of fame keeps herself apart from chatting. That seat is her private space where she is assured of private moments. "Amidst flurry of activities from managing kids, house and work place it becomes hectic. while traveling I catch up with self after finishing puja and this recoup pumps in freshness and when mind wish to get out of this indulgence I lend ears to muttering of old ladies in particular who have some problems with their young daughter in laws. She is among very few passengers who love to observe things in and out. Biswas, a teacher by profession is close to many passengers as a friend. "When co passenger comes to know about my profession they become open to discuss learning problems of their kids. and I play a role of advisor without intruding into personal details of intricacies of their life." says Biswas who adores the courteous behavior of Masters and to express his attitude of gratitude he makes it a point to carry change and hand over to Master whenever he run short of it. He prefers this bus over train or cab as he is sensitive to heat and dust. And this is not only reason but also that kind nature of Masters and drivers drive many to take this option for traveling. "We lend special favors like stopping bus for old and disabled people and this favor extends to our regular customers. we give them tickets directly as we know that where he wishes to get down in case of change in his itinerary he says 'who roz wala nahi'" explains Kadam his relationship that his colleague Ganpat Patil also enjoys giving an instance "From lokhandwala a disabled boy aboard bus and his father request for special attention on mobile and I make it sure that he lands safely at Opera house. We find long absence of our regular passenger very disturbing and when we come back from long leave they promptly ask about our well being and whereabouts." For passengers this toting and froing daily amidst chaos is pleasure and same pervading problem of traffic for car owners is proving a nightmare experience. "Driving on Mumbai road is akin to punishment for me. decision of spending on fare offset expenses that I was incurring in car." justify 75 year Abdullah Pitalwallah who is business man by profession dealing in hardware "my wife is avid fan as she finds more comfortable than First class compartment and far from jostling crowd" says this arthritis patient who have made just one or two companion of his age group. On back benchers lovers he comments with a grin "it is their cozy corner that brings them close mentally strengthening bonds". In cubby hole flat with plethora of people sharing space and office is like second home, this bus is doing task of bringing people close to each other. Here they get chance to talk to strangers, caring and sharing is at its bloom reflecting in small favors, help, greetings and pouring of thoughts. Here they discuss something they love and hate. They know each other over years but strange fact is that they are completely unaware of name of each other. And here this thought by a philosopher holds true that love inspects the heart not the face and once the tunes matches than what is there in name?

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