Monday, May 24, 2010

Atithi Devo Bhava – it ain’t quite literally

Traveling in a bus is always fun. And if the bus zips through the city, it’s always a special ride. One can feel the sense of “National Integration” while traveling in a city bus. Yes obviously, one may think of the people from different states traveling together. But there is a different aspect to it as well. Go to any city and travel in its fleet of city buses: DTC (Delhi), BMTC (Bangalore), BEST (Mumbai), PMPML (Pune), Mini Buses (Kolkata), one can distinctly see the similarity of the experience:
• No matter how vacant the bus is, one can still find commuters cramping up the entrance.
• Exit: What does that mean?
• A polite request to move further up the aisle and you will be met with eyeballs which even Shoaib Akhtar would vie for.
• The virtual stampede that takes place the moment a seat is made available.
• And if you are the lucky one to get that seat, you will be made to feel that you have superseded a senior for a promotion.
• The stubbornness that accompanies in occupying seats meant for women and an equally unrelenting attitude to make way for them, even if it is not meant for them.
• The ever rude conductors – wonder what makes them rude? Is it the duty hours, or is it the meager salaries that they draw?
• The drivers who so often stop at all places other than the bus stops.
• And yes how could I forget this – The ever so redolent commuters: blame it on the Indian climate or on the daylight bewadas.

A few netizens may argue over some of the points, which even I must confess is different from one city to another, for eg, the ever helpful Kolkatan commuters, or the ever so strict Chandigarh Administration buses. Well these are just one of those things that no one can explain. But it surely is flash in the pan if we as Indians are serious about Atithi Devo Bhava!

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