How DTC Buses can be the Greatest Teachers!

Well, with the Delhi Metro expanding its web, the number of people commuting by bus may only have reduced. But, there are still many places that the metro hasn’t reached yet. It is the humble DTC that many people still rely on.

Despite the convenience and ease of Metro travel, I still always prefer a DTC bus when there’s a choice. Call it attachment. Metro may be unique in its own way but it’s the buses that actually pulsate through the Indian life in the capital.

From biased drivers, sleeping beauties, yakking heavyweight aunties and drunk creeps to boastful elderly sitting comfortably in the seat while you struggle to find a place to stand properly and breathe at the same time and hoards of students, every single thing characterized is heartwarming in its own sort of way.

A public outcry is a common affair in the DTCs where everyone joins in the argument as if waiting for the moment since ages to vent out their frustrations.

The government, the traffic jams, the weather…anything and everything can trigger it and then only your headphones can be your saviour.

The sole source of entertainment for almost all the people standing is passing the money from passengers in the front to the conductor and then the ticket back to the passenger. It is not rare when the tickets get all mixed up and the three people who passed Rs 5 each for their ticket end up having to tear the one Rs 15 ticket they got instead, into three equal parts for themselves. Its our own version of the game of (Indian) Chinese-whispers.

And while travelling, you’ll always find ticket checkers moving through the bus like underworld mafias.

They move through passenger by passenger, meticulously checking every ticket until they find the culprit travelling without ticket. They show no mercy, with a cold killer like demeanour, take the culprit in custody, ignoring all pleads.

The bus moves on while all passengers look back wondering about the fate of the wrong-doer.

Since my family doesn’t have a car or any two wheeler other than a bicycle that I have outgrown, I have spent almost all of my locomoting part of childhood in buses. Back and forth to school and tuition everyday and hanging around Delhi, here is what I learnt from the DTC Buses.
1. Patience:

DTCs are never on time.

They claim to have a schedule.

They don’t. 

The drivers are the masters of their universe.

They come and go, at will.

You wait in the sun for 45 minutes for a particular bus and find a crowded one, you feel like punching the guy next to you.

You face that every day, you’ll soon find Nirvana.

2. Responsibility:

The ticket guy, on DTCs never come to you for the tickets. You have to go to him, for one.

He’ll be there, beside the door, on his Iron Throne, with a nonchalant attitude that would shame even Joffrey Baratheon. Now you might think, like one of my friend does, “I will not take the ticket, no one will get to know, I would also save money. Zyada sutte kharid ke piunga ab!”. 

But that is a classic rookie mistake. Randomly the bus is stopped by ticket checkers and BAM! The lazy opportunists have a fine of Rs 200 in front of them. Yeah. Been there. So, one learns that they must do, what is needed, otherwise, consequences exist.

Yeah. Been there. So, one learns that they must do, what is needed, otherwise, consequences exist.

3. Self-Preservation:

Imagine the number of people at a Led Zepplin concert.

Now Imagine that many people fitted inside a bus.

It is a challenge getting aboard a bus like that. It is more of a challenge, surviving that journey in one piece.

A crowded bus is a cesspool of pickpockets and perverts.

So one must learn to protect the Holy Trinity. Phone. Wallet.

And testicles.

Yes. Every day, hundreds of people are robbed of their phone and wallets on DTCs. Read More »

Tolerant Atheist?

Why must atheists tolerate religious people? Doesn’t that go against their core beliefs?

Atheists could of course be intolerant towards the religious people, and I am pretty sure the religious people would return the favour too. But this isn’t mathematics. Two negatives don’t make a positive. Intolerance does not cancel out intolerance. If they both become intolerant, they won’t be able to engage at all. They will only end up building walls around themselves.

Now they may truly believe that the walls are locking the others out, but if they think about it more rationally, they will realise that these same walls also lock them inside. Who wants to be locked in?

As an atheist, I think it’s always better to engage and debate with religious people. That way, I am keeping the doors open for the exchange of ideas. And often, I end up learning a lot too.

Let’s stop the hatred, can we?

The Right to be Degrading?

I spent my evening glued to my laptop.

Offended. Disgusted. Amused.

I watched the AIB Knockout right to the finish. This roast was the talk of the town.

Over the last week, social media has been flooded with an outrage on the negative feedback that the AIB Roast received. Rants on how the views of our politicians are regressive. How everyone just needs to “chill”. How it is a clear violation of our freedom of speech.

Now, I like to believe that I’m a liberal person, with liberal views and outlooks. My issues with the roast have nothing to do with it “being sexual” or “not in line with Indian culture”.

However, I believe that there are real, negative impacts that this roast could have on the masses. And that many of us are conveniently choosing not to see them.

I sense eyes rolling already.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how this post is going to be received. Especially since now, this roast has become a battle between “young, liberal” vs “lame, old, regressive”.
So, at the risk of being categorised among the likes of the fossilised politician who declared the roast a “porn show” (lol), I have to say that while it is indeed, liberating that the roast touched societal ‘taboos’ like casual sex and drug use with candid indifference. The show also involved content that I believe could be unhealthy for the masses.

Now before I begin, I’d like to say that I don’t have a solution. Only a point of view.

I am not implying that the roast should never have gone live. Or that it should be censored. Or that those who filed complaints against AIB were right in doing so.

But simply that we acknowledge that there are two sides to the coin.

That a lot of the jokes, though intended in good humour, could have deeper consequences on a society that is highly diverse. And hence, fragile. That these consequences are real.

We come from a country where actors are considered gods. Where an overwhelming number of men from the 80s sported Amitabh Bachchan’s haircut in Deewar. Where Obama flooded our home pages for saying 1/3rd of a dialogue from a movie that released a decade ago. I think it’s safe to say that Bollywood has a deep impact on India.

But we can of course, debate the influence that celebrities have on the masses.

It’s unlikely that the references they made about snorting coke backstage, will influence the masses to snort coke.
However, unlike sex and drugs; fat jokes, homophobic jokes, jokes about one’s skin type, are a lot easier to adopt.

People are likely to direct similar jokes at people more aggressively, with a stronger sense of validation, because celebrities do it.

“Tanmay Bhatt is so fat…”, “Ashish Shakya is so black…”, “Aditi Mittal is only here so Ranveer Singh can have someone to jerk off to on stage”. These jokes might be perfectly acceptable within the context of a roast when directed at consenting individuals. But the truth is, it won’t stop there.

We need to acknowledge and accept that masses don’t live within the context of a roast.

That these jokes will find its way to non-consenting individuals.

That they will seep into classrooms, workplaces and homes. People will quote the same jokes, directed at the fat boy in class, the dark-skinned maid, the only woman on a panel discussion. And suddenly, the fat boy has lower self-esteem, the dark-skinned maid feels unattractive, being the only woman on the panel doesn’t feel empowering anymore.

And suddenly, the fat boy has lower self-esteem, the dark-skinned maid feels unattractive, being the only woman on the panel doesn’t feel empowering anymore.

We need to remember that while those who are offended can of course, choose not to watch it, they’re still going to be surrounded by people who have. People who now, have a stronger sense of validation in telling jokes about one’s sexual orientation, body type and skin colour.

And why not? Ranveer Singh does it. Arjun Kapoor does it. Karan Johar does it. India loved it.Read More »

Ideal Politician

With New Delhi engaged in the 2015 Re-Elections of the 2013 Elections, the city has been buzzing with heated arguments, dipped in political flavour, and streets brimming with activists and supporters. I indulge in political debates regularly and quite often have found myself among a bunch of ignorant enthusiasts with absolutely no idea about the jibberish they put up to support their neta. 

The past fortnight witnessed an unusual, meteoric rise in the interest in politics among the youth. Admittedly it is a good thing, but people should actually know what they are about to say before they say it. I have overheard so many bullshit conversations in public transit and while waiting for public transit, on why the party they support has the bunch of ideal politicians. Completely flawless, divine people who are destined to lead the plethora of our ignorant population.

My definition of an ideal politician goes as follows:

A Politician should be able to create a party, plan a conspiracy, butcher opposition, conn a government, design a communal formula.

Write an idealistic budget, balance scam figures, build an ally, set a broken ally, woo the voters, take orders from high command, give orders to workers, cooperate with allies, act on whims and fancies.

Solve electoral equations, invent a new problem, speak gibberish, program a voter’s mind, cook custom made socialism and secularism.

Ban internet freedom, fight critics, win every time. 

Much as anyone in the mainstream media would like to portray this as the ultimate battle of national ramifications between BJP and AAP, this election though is more about the fight of Congress for its own existence and survival.

I heard people talking on why they should vote for the party promising free WiFi for them. That’s equivalent to a beggar voting for the party that dropped him an underhand liquor bottle the night before polling.

Divided by opinions

United by Ignorance.

Indians.