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.
DTCs are never on time.
They claim to have a schedule.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. Every day, hundreds of people are robbed of their phone and wallets on DTCs.
Everyday, thousands of people are groped.
Women get to raise havoc over innocent nudges.
Men have to remain stoic, in face of, erm, cupping.
After a point of time, protecting these three things come naturally to you. So much so, you punch your friend even if his hand even grazes your thigh.
4. Grabbing opportunities:
Life is a race. Life is a bumpy ride. Life is a struggle.
You have to get out of your comfort-zone, to achieve something.
Things I realized, at the Munirka bus-stop every time.
An overcrowded bus arrives an hour late at a bus-stop already teeming with people.
Everyone is impatient.
Everyone is frustrated.
Everyone wants to get on that bus.
The bus stops.
THIS IS SPARTAAAA!
You can’t wait for the next one, because even God doesn’t know, when that one is coming.
You need to get on this one. Maintain a firm grasp on someone’s shoulder.
Ensure sure footing. And do all this in about 2 seconds.
This is how you learn to make the best of every opportunity. How not to give up, in sight of difficulty.
Also, you might (rarely) luckily find the love of your life while traveling in a bus!
5. Realizing, that life is unfair:
DTCs have actually taken it upon themselves to advertise Murphy’s Law.
The bus you need, just won’t arrive.
The bus you needed yesterday and made you wait for hours, is more frequent today, than the bowel movements of diarrhoeic guy.
This will prove to be most efficacious, in your future life, in dealing with the promotion you’ve been waiting for, and most rightly deserve, but won’t get.
So, next time, when you are running late, and its hot, and you are annoyed with your existence, play life on the “Bring ‘em on” mode.
Wait for a DTC.