Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Evil Bus Driver

It was a pleasantly cool Monday morning. I walked to my bus stop with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. I had downloaded some good songs on my I-pod didn’t have much work in office today. As I walked, I passed across people in sweatshirts jogging and doing exercises. Dogs some leashed, some unleashed took their owners for a walk. Kids were playing football in the playground. I glanced at my watch and slowed down a little. I still had five minutes to go. The bus was to come at seven thirty in the morning. The driver’s watch was 15 min late and he didn’t know how to change it, because he always came at seven forty five. It was seven twenty eight and I would still have quite some time to listen to songs in the relatively calm bus stop, without the default traffic remix the bus provided. I came to my bus stop and said the customary hi to my bus-mates (if that’s a word).

I was in the middle of my third song when a bus-mate got a phone call from a friend. It appeared that the bus had already left. Amidst groans and boos, all of us began to form groups of two or three. We had to now travel to the nearest bus stop in auto, about 2 km away. The morning was not pleasantly cool anymore. It was chilly.

I got up earlier than usual the next day. I hurriedly had cornflakes and milk, forgoing the one decent home-cooked meal I would otherwise have. Having ironed my clothes last night itself, I was left with ten minutes to spare before it was seven twenty, the usual time I left home. I didn’t spend the ten minutes at home. I grabbed a book and my iPod and left for the bus stop with a song in my heart but no spring in my step, more with a hurried scuttle across crisp black asphalt. I reached the bus stop at seven seventeen and only then could I heave a sigh of relief. I knew I had at least fifteen minutes to spend in the bus stop. Over the next few minutes some more of my bus-mates joined me at the bus stop, all hoping they hadn’t missed the bus. We waited, mostly patiently.

Seven thirty.

Seven thirty two. No bus at the horizon.

At seven thirty six we finally saw a Pushpak bus weaving its way through small obstacles like cars, bullock carts and potholes. As it came closer, groans and boos resounded again. It was not an ITPL bus.

It would have been interesting to watch how people react to irritation and anxiety, had I not been in the same situation myself. Some stress busting techniques I noticed were quite quirky. A started cleaning his ears compulsively, using up up to six ear buds. B was having an argument with her husband. From what I made out the kind hubby wanted to wait till B got into the bus physically, but B was bothered by this for some strange reason and kept shooing him away without success. C seemed to be unprepared for an important meeting and after several minutes of deliberation, decided to open up his laptop and start working on his ppt. Seeing street urchins seeing him, his face reddened and he hurriedly closed the laptop before the urchins could have a good glimpse at the laptop. I, for my part had taken to straining my neck and glancing up and down the read much like I would probably do in a tennis match. This was because our bus stop was such that the bus could arrive from either side of the road. I’m not kidding.

There was a brief period of time when we all decided that the bus would come at the usual Indian standard time of seven forty five and we relaxed. I say brief because just a few moments later seven forty five passed us. Without the bus.
Till now all had kept mostly to themselves. By seven fifty however, there were signs of group protest. Most people probably thought” So its seven fifty now. The bus is officially late. I can speak ill of the driver with a free conscience... ”. A whispered murmuring broke out followed by heated gossip which then culminated in intermittent outbursts of raucous laughter aimed at the driver. All jobless people at the bus stop almost had a very good time with the attention their jokes got.

One or two people decided to take a rickshaw to the nearest bus stop. Finally the bus came at seven fifty. We got in, each of up competing with the other to give an evil stare at the bus driver. We reached office forty minutes late. The timing of our trip was perfect; we didn’t miss a single traffic jam that could have been possible on our 28km journey to ITPL.


  1. did the bus come at 7 50 or 8 50 ????

  2. @ankith,
    good catch man, corrected this... so a verification expert now eh..?