Friday 14 March 2008

Life in JNU: Buses, bus drivers and me

Another old JNU post, written on 22nd March 2005, rediscovered today, no frankly yesterday.
Here is goes...
Few days back something very funny happened. i was traveling by this DTC bus route number 620, apparently the driver was new and after Munirka he claimed he didn’t know the route to JNU. Now these special 620 buses do not go the usual route taken by bus number 615. They go through Ber Sarai. Very few JNU students get up in these buses since the service is so infrequent. There were some men till Ber Sarai, after that there was only a guy and me left, both JNU bound. The conductor was snoring away to glory in the back and the driver was too busy talking and was driving rather precariously for my comfort. This other guy was a stranger to JNU and he looked really nervous. When he discovered that I would get down at the first stop and he kept asking me how much more did he have to go inside the campus and all. The driver also seemed sad that I was getting down at the first stop, he even invited me to tea at the depot and looked really crestfallen when I declined. This was my first tea invitation from a bus driver. I didn’t know Indian men had become so smart to offhandedly ask women out for tea. These are the times when I wish I were a man. Then I could have accepted his invitation without any taboos.
People usually keep saying Delhi bus wallas (drivers and conductors) are pretty rude. So far (touch wood) they have been very nice to me. I remember after I had just joined JNU I missed my school’s bus stop. Soon after that the bus enters into a forestry road (whole of JNU is forestry but this is pretty isolated and to me then looked pretty scary and alien since it was the first time I have ventured that way). Thankfully the bus didn’t stop at the depot instead immediately set forth for the next round. All the while the conductor was assuring me that he would drop me at the right stop on the way back. After the right stop was discovered and I got down the driver waited to see if that was indeed the right stop.Another time I fell down from the bus steps. I mean right from the first down onto the ground. (Now I fall a lot, according to my brother this is because my center of gravity is displaced, everyone keeps me teasing about this, specially my father. My falling down is no big deal for my friends and family, no one pays any attention to it, rather teases me some and forgets all about it. Forget any consolation. I have a classic record fallen down from the steps of Presidency College to Tihar Jail!) Anyways at that time after recovering from my fall I went my way. On my return trip (JNU has this bus which plows all the time and is filled with students all the time) the conductor got hold of me and gave me a stern lecture on how I should wear proper shoes and not wear shades and be more careful while getting down from the bus. It was so very sweet of him, he need not have bothered.

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