A BMTC(local) bus ride!
It had been many, many, days since I took a BMTC* bus ride. Not that one doesn’t want to. It’s just that there never seems to be the right combination of available time, a suitable bus route, or leisure that one can find. It just seems so much easier to hop into an auto (and now that Ubers are here, even more so), than wait and take the trouble to get into a bus. It came as a welcome change, when there was the chance to go to Richmond road, which very conveniently , is served by multiple buses on the arterial old airport road.
And so, it was the BMTC bus I got into. Not the fancy – airconditioned Vajras, but the regular BMTC ones . The ones that get washed perhaps, once a year. Or maybe its gross exaggeration- more likely to be washed once a month. And having got in, and secured a precious seat ( it was off peak time on Saturday), it was an experience certainly worth its while.
For starters, the ride was smooth. No jarring music, no loud mobile phone conversations. Simple folks, looking out of the window, as would be expected in a bus ride. As it used to be, in the olden days, before the mobiles took over almost every minute of precious existence. I sat there and looked too. And that was what made the bus ride so much more worth the while. I must have travelled along the old airport road at least a thousand times before, but, it was only this time, that I saw it anew, with the luxury of the heightened seats that only a bus affords. The view of the army camp, unobscured by the ubiquitious compound walls, was what I got. So much worth the while. The beauty of the Army land- churches seen for the first time, old buildings, perhaps built during the British Raj, swathes of green- lush trees, and a langour that one can dream of, almost like someone had painted the entire stretch of the camp with a broad, stillwater brush.
And along the way, some more interesting experiences. A girl got in, wearing a white school uniform. Seemed like a regular schoolgirl, nothing much to note there. But, soon after, at the next stop, a set of five boys got in too- wearing similar uniforms, and sat next to the girl. It was then that the journey changed gears completely. From a slow, relaxed second gear movement, it suddenly skipped into the 4th , maybe the 5th gear. And how? The group of six school kids now started chatting. Completely throwing my imagination out of whack. They chatted in sign language. The girl talking the most, with her rapid sleight of the hands- occasionally interjected by a comment from one of her friends. She talked, almost non-stop through the ride. Fascinatingly so, for I never knew of the speed with which the signs could be used, seeming to surpass the human voice by leaps and bounds. It was a moment of revelation, a moment of happiness too. For, when I saw the children, enjoying their banter- so differently, the bus ride became so much more enjoyable for me too.
And then the stop arrived.. as they always do. But life goes on, peppered by the taste of an unusual, joyful BMTC bus ride.
- Bangalore Municipal transport corporation