A city bursting at the seams! A former cantonment that’s now the subcontinent’s most ‘desired city to live in’ , thanks to a study by a global consulting major that doesn’t mean much to its ordinary denizens as it much as it does to real-estate hawks. A growing agglomeration of prosperity-seeking elements, than of patrons of high culture. And a business hub where IT expands effortlessly to Information Technology than it does to Income Tax. Welcome to Bengaluru, the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India.
In this metropolis whose growth seems set to break the sound barrier, the dreaded word for everyone is ‘traffic’. Stepping out to do business at the other end of the town is nothing short of a harrowing experience. The best option would then be to leave your motorcycle or car in your garage, and look for a public carrier. Not the three-wheeled cabs please. Auto rickshaw drivers are, by a stroke of ill luck, out on the roads. We would have done well to have them rule our city, and witnessed a multi-fold growth and development and equality and the whole lot of measures of well being. The arrogance with which they go about their business. We’re going to reserve a separate blog post to rail against them.
That leaves us with the good old BMTC buses. Did someone say Namma Metro? We shall cross the bridge (er, tracks) when we come to it! BMTC buses, the spririt of Bangalore! They turned Blue at the turn of the millennium. And introduced us to more of their ilk. Of varied colors. And the prettier looking of the lot are red again. Air conditioned, multi axle and so many more comfort generators.
If asked, I would say they are good fun to ride in. All these buses. And the crowd in them – A sight to behold. Some weather beaten faces, some battle-ready postures, some hawk-eyed gentlemen whose sole aim is to beat the crowd to the first available seat, some champions of appropriate conduct who can only look patronizingly at everyone but the conductor, some high school kids who seem to be set to narrate the script of the next romance, in between craning their fragile necks hard to get a better view of the female lot of passengers, and some first wave-rs who appear to be the sole carriers of all their farm’s produce. The conductors wage a relentless struggle in issuing tickets speaking Kannada, while there are some who appear to be in tune with the city’s western leaning. They talk passable English, yes. As for my Kannada compatriots, its never an uncommon sight to have them cajole passengers to learn a bit of the local language and do themselves some good.
The BMTC bus ride is fun in it’s own way. Its not going to get you to your destination any quicker. But it sure won’t be the most strenuous ride, if you have the weest bit of interest in your fellow commuters.