Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Bus Ride: A Good Family Entertainer

Emerging tired from the examination hall, I trudged towards the Jaya Nagar bus stand to catch a bus for Indira Nagar. I thought if I take the packed Bangalore city bus now approaching, I can avoid waiting in the equally crowded  bus stand. I then bulldozed my way into the bus, soon to realize that it was filled with long-distance commuters, I cursed my luck. Inside the bus, my attention was drawn to a Tamil family that consisted of a woman in her mid thirties, her elderly mother, a 10- year old daughter and, a seven - year old son. Except for the little boy in somebody else's lap, they were all just hanging on to straps, bars, other people's shirt-tails and shoulders.

The lady looked quite attractive and charming in a white salwar-kurta set, with a purple flowered dupatta  She was wearing shiny gold bangles; a pair of diamond studs adorned her earlobes. Around her neck was the typical (kodi) that married Tamilians wear.The glittering accouterments led me to believe that they maybe NRIs. I was soon undeceived,  for I heard them conversing in a fluent mixture of Tamil, Hindi and English. They must be from the North,  I thought.  For I had myself lived for a considerable length of time in UP,  and this was the precise mixture of languages we then used.  It brought back pleasant memories of my girlhood days,  before we moved to the South, and I got married,  erasing  this delightful form of communication from my repertoire.
 The lady looked smart and efficient----probably a housewife,  a working journalist,  a computer programmer or perhaps, all rolled into one. She certainly had the look of a well- organised person ---- a good home-maker,  a loving mother and a perfect wife (none of which I am).
 By now,  the bus had reached M.G.Road and the rush of humanity seeking the exit pushed me closer to the Tamil family. Near Ulsoor, the lady and her little daughter got to sit.  It was going to be a long halt to allow the innumerable people to get  in and get out of the bus.
     Sitting down, the lady, spotted an elderly woman known to her,  apparently waiting for another bus, just a little distance away from the active melee near our bus. The lady exclaimed excitedly, "Look, there is Juju patti!
Children say hello to Juju patti."  Equally excited , the children, on seeing the patti shouted  " Hello Juju patti, how are you"?
   The patti ( grandmother) was thrilled by this unexpected meeting . She dared not to come close to the bus and the seething crowd, but started gesticulating in a highly animated  fashion, insisting that they must visit  her house, she would not forgive them if they didn't. This was followed  by nodding of heads and waving of hands.
 Meanwhile, the children's grandmother joined in the pantomime, complementing patti on the beautiful sari she wore . In turn,  the patti with her excellent miming,  conveyed where the sari was bought, for what occasion, and who presented  it to her. Not a word had passed the lips of the actors in this delightful little drama.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entertaining tableau before me.
 My journey was nearing its end. Within less than an hour of our shared bus travel, I had come to know and like the family. I stepped off the foot board, disappointed to see that they were not getting down too. To this day, I least regret having caught that crowded bus.

(This was published as a "Middle" in Indian Express many years ago).

Whenever, I am travelling somewhere, or I am waiting in some clinic, watching people around me never fails to fascinate me. I never get bored or irritated of "people watching", for  it is so much fun and the entertainment and ideas for my blogs, that I get are absolutely free.
 I have got plenty of ideas just by travelling and watching people. I can never bring myself to read books while travelling, for I never like to miss the scenery or the people I come across during such journeys.
 I leave you  with some random travel pictures:

                                                Waiting inside the bus, and " people watching"


  1. Wow, what an experience! I totally relate to what you are saying because I just love watching people and "seeing" their stories instantly, great pics Rama!

  2. A nice travel experience and good photos.

    And that is one of the things i do too. while traveling I love watching people and sceneries. infact, it is my favorite past time at home too. many times i come over to the balcony to watch the scenew unrole down especially when the many school buses come in front of our condominium gate.

  3. I also like to travel by bus when it is nearly empty, sitting on the seat! Love to watch people too! Talking in mixed languages is common, nowadays!

    Keep writing often!

  4. Good travelling is observing. Isn't it?

  5. Hi Rama,

    Interesting anecdote. True, we get a good view of the humanity while travelling, be it in a bus or in a train. The animated conversations among fellow passengers, and expressions on faces of people travelling alone and lost in thought...

    I noticed a strange phenomenon once. In a bus, two people were arguing about something. I discovered in due course that it was about how luggage of one person was blocking the way. After 10 minutes, the two people, who had started the argument (the luggage belonged to one of them), called off their verbal duel. The luggage though remained in the same place.

    Interestingly, two other passengers, who were sitting a couple of seats behind, and were only following the points and counterpoints being made by the contestants, started arguing, about the issue. It was a strange because they had nothing to do with the issue at all.

    Soon the the guy who had got the luggage into the bus, got off. But those two continued to spar about where and how items of luggage should be kept in a bus.

    I got off in the next stop, and I don't know if the issue continued to be debated in the bus even afterwards.

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for these great photos. People watching is an entertainment. I like that.

  7. Nice post Rama, I miss the rush hour travel in BMTC buses :)Traveling always throws up interesting happenings, it makes us forget the irritable stuff like traffic jams etc.

  8. Nice and interesting post. I never liked traveling in a crowded bus(now it is medically not possible) The photographs arde awesome.

  9. This is so true. I can totally relate to it. These days I travel by office buses where I have the luxury of taking a nap but for more than a year I used to travel by the AC buses where Iwould try to stay awake during the journey. It is such a wonderful passtime, just watching and observing people without them knowing that. Almost like watching them be on their own without being very conscious of what they are doing. It's such a wonderful pass time :-)

    And yes, so many blog posts have been inspired by the many souls I come across. Thanks to them :-)

  10. Very elaborately said.Really interesting.I too love watching people and sometimes my imagination into their past and future.

    How can you rate yourself that you are none of the categories that woman belongs to.Writing like this itself speaks what you are

    Beautiful pictures.

  11. Thanks everybody. In this age of technology with all kinds of gadgets, there are still some people around who love to pass their time watching people, that is really something!

  12. I do that all the time , I like to see people and sometimes you find yourelf thinking what do they do , or how are they as person ..

    lovely pics mam


  13. Thanks for taking us on this bus ride, Rama! It is always fun to watch people:)

  14. yes bus ride can be fun or pain just depends

  15. It was as if I was on the journey with you, I could picture the family quite well :)

  16. Good story! Watching people is interesting for me, especially when I am in a foreign country. It helps me understand more about them.

    " a well- organised person ---- a good home-maker, a loving mother and a perfect wife (none of which I am)." I do not know you in person, rama, but it seems to me that you are quite these and more:)

  17. Thanks TH, for having such a nice opinion of me, I wish I could be like her, which i know i am not.
    Thanks for patiently reading my blogs and also commenting on them. you are indeed a true friend.