Waiting for the blueline at the bus stop was an excellent opportunity to revise my lessons and keep a look out for the brand new cars and bikes. Even the bus journey up to and back from Sarvapriya Vihar was a time(and a very long one at that) to relish. The arguments with the blueline conductors, the tapping of the glass windows with a coin to set the bus in motion, the peep over to the ladies' seats every now and then, the jokes that were made on the way, the regular cursing of the government for the traffic arrangements(and the lack of it), the dismay at the sight of the ever under-construction flyovers, the constant gaze out of the window to check for milestones and the application of Newton's first law while getting off the bus are things that I reflect upon when my palms play curtain to my eyes these days. The overcrowded buses were never a cause for concern! These were excellent opportunities to hand on to the rear door and escape the torture of being amidst seventy humans in a narrow aisle meant to accommodate only twenty. And if we had the rub of the green, it even meant escaping the scrutinizing stares of the conductor, and traveling without a ticket all the way to the destination. The tussle with the conductor over the fare was in the itinerary of every day's trip. The conversation had these usual dialogues, "Bhaiya hum roz aate hain 5 rupay mein", followed by his taunt "to mat aya karre roz". The conductor's call to buy the ticket; "ticket bol" was always taken literally and preceded three different voices saying "ticket" one after the other which itself preceded a round of high-fives and guffaws.
The bus service was 764 and the years was 2008.
The bus service is 729, and the year is 2011.
729 has always been the busiest bus route of the cluster. It has the most DTC buses on a single route(afaik). There's a bus to Mori Gate every three minutes. Bus every bus is still crowded, overflowing with passengers and overladen with the luggage that they carry. But this is 2011!
Traveling in these new DTC buses isn't very exciting. Infact traveling in a DTC bus has never been exciting. What's the point in traveling in a bus when the driver and the conductor know that they'll still get 15 grands a month irrespective of the number of passengers that they carry? And what's the point in traveling in a us that runs only when its doors are hydraulically sealed? Its the bluelines that I miss the most!
I miss the thrill, the shiver and the goosebumps that I got when I just about missed the all-important lectures even after leaving my home well in advance. I miss the ECGs on the speedometer when the bus accelerated and decelerated in rapid succession. I miss the incredible "space" that used to exist in the middle of the buses as both the front and the rear conductors asserted fellow passengers to move towards the end farther from theirs. I miss the hard turns that the pilot(read driver) took on the acute chicanes(read bends). I miss the races that the bus had with other buses. I miss the literal definition of "standing on your own feet" that the bluelines taught me. I miss the horror and terror on my STD and ISD friends' face who learned that I traveled in bluelines. I miss the surprised looks on my LOCAL friends' face who realized that I traveled and survived the bluelines. I miss the debates and government bashing that used to happen everyday. I miss those new faces that i got to see everyday.
I miss those magnificent men!! But more than that I miss their blue-green flying machines!!