Travelling in Chennai buses is as hard as getting a cat to tell about its day while flossing its teeth*. No, I don’t mean the ticket rates here (although they keep fluctuating at crazy levels).
I am talking about something else altogether.
If you had ever travelled in a white board (or green board, or blue board, or any board for that matter) bus somewhere between 8 and 9 AM in the morning of a weekday, you probably should have understood what I am talking about. And you probably should be yearning to scroll down the page now.
And if you haven’t yet travelled, then let this be an instruction manual to you.
India is a diverse country with a variety of cultures and people. And so are Chennai buses. The kind of people you encounter in a normal bus inspires you NOT to board a bus again in your life. There are different kinds of people travelling. And I thought I could do some social service by arranging them in a few categories and enlightening you with the effects and side effects you will have to go through if, by chance, you rub your shoulders with them.
The Ambitious guys
‘Ambitious’ is definitely not a proper word to define this kind of people. As of now, my miniature vocabulary doesn’t leave me with a better option. (If you have a better word, do suggest)
These people form the topmost strata of the most irritating human beings on earth. Their actions are great motivators to right-on-the-face smacks and five-fingered slaps. Their main aim is to bag a seat, and they don’t mind barging into a bus (whether it’s moving or stationary) even through it’s windows. Their weaponry consists of handkerchiefs, handbags etc., and sometimes even their own chappals, (Yes, you read that right), which are violently placed on the seat. And once that is done, they radiate a grin of accomplishment. (If bagging seats in local buses is considered an accomplishment, then we should be a highly developed nation by now)
I had this experience once.
I boarded a crammed bus on the way to college. Bought the ticket and stood in the crowd. A couple of stops later, an old man from a nearby seat vacated. As I sliced in to sit, another guy stopped me.
‘I have been standing here from even before you came.’ He said.
Seriously, a two year old kid with his lollipop taken away would put up a much matured fight. Sigh.
Not all from this category wear the ‘Mr. Annoying’ badge. Some are really pleasant and dignified. But there are some individuals whose levels of annoyance make your adrenaline shoot over your head. And the reason? Yes, I am getting there.
These people just cannot live without their smartphones. Even they might somehow manage without a heart or a liver, but gadgets? They are a must. Neck coiled around with wires, hands carrying phones and tablets bigger than them, and ninety percent of their brains engrossed in touching and tapping (The rest ten percent doesn’t really exist, I suppose). They are so terribly victimized by technological slavery, that the conductor should be from Arnab Goswami’s lineage in order to make them hear him asking the money for tickets.
Techies are of two types : Type A and Type B
These are the decent and tolerable ones. Well dressed, neatly groomed and modest. And bearable enough to mind their own businesses.
I presume you are rolling up your shirt sleeves or busting your fists now, as these guys sometimes surpass the ‘ambitious’ guys in terms of irritability. These are the ones with a shabby hair standing out in a thousand different directions, and insanely coloured (their hairs have more colours than the official business colour palette of Asian Paints). Sometimes you feel it is not hair that they have got, but the murky end of a floor mop that has been inverted over their heads.
Wait, the worst is yet to come.
Their under garments are placed way below their hips, and their pants are stuck even below. (Well, I am not interested in telling where). The most disgusting part is their interest in showing off their innerwears to each and every passenger in the bus. How they think that everyone would quit what they are doing and gaze at their underwears with microscopic eyes, I fail to understand.
Okay, now let’s move on to the next category.
The mmm mouthed guys
These people feel they are carrying seventy percent (sometimes hundred) of the world’s problems on their heads. Their is this perpetual frown on their face and their lips are impeccably horizontal; as if someone has driven a nail through their jaws.
And yes, they are insanely hostile. You ask them time, they give you a look as if you had asked them a part of their fortune. You hand them your bag if you are standing, they stare at you as if you are a most-wanted terrorist who needs to be thrown in jail. Sometimes it feels as if they had left their brains at home in a hurry. Seriously.
You sit beside them, you are doomed. You let them sit beside you, you are double-doomed. ‘Triple-doomed’ happens if they open their mouths to ask you something. Half of India’s garbage bins reside in their gums. Their teeth suggest you that they had had tar and charcoal for breakfast. Their hair would be a heavenly abode to the insect kingdom. So to say, it appears as if they had been boozing, and remained bath-less since ten years. (And if you continue to sit beside them, you will end up having required to take bath continuously for ten years)
This category consists of one of the ‘bravest’ souls of our motherland. If you ask me, they should be conferred with some ‘bravery’ award for the courageous display of their skills (hanging from the bus like lunatics, yelling like maniacs, jumping like retards, etc). This kind of people have two brains. One is gone and the other is out searching for it. They believe they are the descendants of Superman or Krrish. They stand when the bus is standing, and jump into it when it starts moving. Feet sometimes on the foot-board, and sometimes in the air, and their hands tightly clutched around the window bars. A slight slip would reduce them into a crimson pulp in between the fat tyres of the bus.
(But then, forget not to ‘salute’ their ‘bravado’)
The Sacrificial Lambs
Contrary to the types of people mentioned above, sacrificial lambs are the innocent ones. They generally are found stuck near the ladies’ side (where the conductor sits), and it seems that every passenger who is standing wants to get the ticket through him. Sometimes the frequency and intensity of ticket-transactions become so taxing that they feel terrible for having boarded the bus in the first place. (From my very own experience)
*Conditions Apply. Conditions include the bus being jam-packed, the weather being sunny and the traffic being at its peak.
So yes, in my three years of bus-travelling experience on Chennai roads, these are the major types of people I had encountered. You think their exists any other type also? Comment right away!