Bangalore is filled with compressed-air powered red buses. I love these buses. Unlike the old blue buses, these red buses look a lot like Volvo and yet they are “common-man“ friendly and hold a lot of space inside the bus for travelers to stand comfortably during rush hour. But not all of these buses get good bus drivers. I've had near fall out experiences once or twice while I was travelling in one of these huge buses.
Compressed air-power buses have a lot of power in terms of speed as well as brakes. Sudden braking makes the bus going at any speed to come to a halt within seconds. But the full impact of it is shown inside the bus. Passengers sitting don’t have to endure much problem. But the one’s standing gets its full impact.
I was lucky the other day. I was standing near the pole. Both my hands were busy holding my wallet and in the process of taking out money to pay the bus conductor. Suddenly the driver hit the brake and the bus moving at 80, came to a sudden halt. My whole body was thrown forward but my sudden instincts directed my hands to hold fast the pole and with a backward twist, I got the required support and saved myself from falling down head first on the floor. I was so angry at the driver, but since I hadn’t fallen I didn’t feel the need to go and start a boring quarrel with him. Minutes later I got the seat and I happily settled down with ear phones and music. My friend, who was sitting behind my seat tapped my shoulder and said loudly with a snigger, “Neha, when did you learn to pole dance? You are pretty good!!” I turned back to retaliate and saw that her words had carried to the men’s section and many guys were nodding in mock approval. “I’ll get you for this girl!!” I growled at her laughing face and turned back to see the driver, who was happily singing and hitting the brakes roughly at unnecessary junctions.
The bus was getting more and more crowded at every stop. All the ladies were standing precariously. Poor women, they had no idea that they had just mounted a bus that was being driven by a moronic driver. And then it happened. Another one of bus driver’s signature “sudden brakes”. Two ladies standing beside my seat toppled onto one another, causing the third lady to fall down on the bus floor. This was followed by loud shrieks and a high pitched quarrel could be heard loud and clear even through the loud music from my ear phones. The ladies were blaming each other for falling. They should scold the driver who is the root cause for causing this catastrophe. I thought angrily. But I caught the driver, happily waving to a fellow bus driver and totally oblivious to what was happening on the bus behind him. Was he really oblivious or was he showcasing “jaana kividu” (a Kannada phrase which means, “smart deafness”) to the din that was taking place behind him?? I had half a mind to get up and hit him in the head and then smugly apologize by telling the “brakes” had caused me to “accidently” hit him!!
Thankfully my stop arrived and I was the first to literally jump out of the bus with relief. As I saw the red bus making its way through the narrow crowded road showcasing its power speed and power brakes, I almost felt like I had just gotten off the knight bus from the Harry Potter movie. It happens only in India!!