Thursday, 1 November 2012

A journey to remember

With the things fast changing around me, things which are evolving around me, it is imperative that I should need to adapt for the changes around me. It may not be applicable to each and everything in me. However, I need to if at all the changes are in sync or cohesion with my line of thought, belief and conviction. Sometimes, the changes around me may not directly affect me; however, if it is affecting directly or indirectly society, I should be part of it, nurture it and accept it finally. It would be grossly unfair if I do not mention the fact that changes in me may not actually be the reflection of societal changes always! Sometimes, they can be self-motivated as well. During this phase of adaptation or transformation, I may need to learn new things; need to unlearn few; need to polish few; finally, I may not need to change few of them at all. During this phase of adaptation, some of the skills within me which are active can potentially become “dormant” within me – meaning I may not use them like I used to. The “skills” that I am talking to me are nothing but the actions/practices we do every day and every time. They are called skills if they keep changing with time. Otherwise, they would be branded as “habits”. I always use to think what happens to those skills which keep changing and have become dormant because of the change. Do they die within me? I think they are not. The saying “Habits do not die overnight” is applicable even to skills that I possess. They may not be used frequently; but they are dormant within me. Also, it is important to note that, certain skills may not be changed once they reach a point. This can be due to various reasons. I think those skills can be termed as habits!

If I can give an example for the above thesis – I could consider the newspaper reading! For a kid, it can be a nice thing to have. However, for grown up, it would be a habit. But, this skill had undergone many changes before it could be termed as habit. When I was a kid, it was not possible for me to read to newspaper in hand. I was spreading the newspaper on the floor and read it. Slowly but surely, I developed the art of reading it in hand sitting on chair, moved to read it by sleeping on the bed. With the advent of e-papers, I picked up the art of reading news dailies on the computer; now on the tablets as well. So, it has become a habit. However, my uncle may not be able to change himself to read a newspaper in computer or a table for that matter but for him it is still a habit as he stopped to change himself.

I am telling all these things because I happened to commute to office in public transportation system one of these days. I’ve stopped using public transportation ever since company started to provide its transportation service and once I changed the company I switched to personal transportation. It was almost two years ago. It was a testing time to see whether I could manage to handle the crowd and the long journey from home to office. It was testing time for my “dormant” skill which I acquired.

To reach my office from my current living place, I have to travel close to 25KM. To do this in bus, I’ve to make a stopover at Kempegowda Bus Stand and then make another change at Kormangala-Sarjpur Road junction or at Marathahalli. 

I think it was a Wednesday. I got up at 6:00AM and switch on the heater. I finished the nature calls and was out of home by 7:10 AM. I head straight into a darshini nearby and hand couple of idlis with chutney NO sambhar! After that I started to walk on the usual road which takes me to bus stand. This was the beginning. This is something like streams joining the rivers. The scene had not changed at all like it used to be couple of years ago. The senior citizens were heading back from their morning walk and were stopping at milk parlours to get the milk packets. Some of the college goers (I suppose) were at the coffee shop having coffee or tea and sharing cigarettes. Some were cleaning their yards and putting rangolis. I diligently walked on the road without walking on the rangolis and reached the bus stop. One noticeable change was there were no dogs – stray or pet dogs. Earlier people were taking their dogs for morning walk. At that time, I was thinking who is taking whom for walk – dog taking its owner or owner taking the dog!?

From my house to KBS is not far. This is easier part of the journey as number of commuters will be less at the time I used to commute. I got into the bus and asked for a ticket. Conductor issued me the ticket. I could see smile in his face as I tendered the exact amount. It was my practice to carry 1 ten rupee note, 2 two rupee coins, 1 one rupee coin and 1 five rupee coin. With this combination, I could make any number b/w 1 to 20! I needed to do this if I don’t use pass! If I gave 100 rupees, I would get ticket plus and conductor would yell at me! Paisa bhi do aur gaali bhi khao! Not acceptable for me! Bus pass reminds one more thing with the conductor. It was always a victory for pass holders (especially for me) to produce the pass on the first day of the new month with conductor. If I could pull of this and if conductor gives a constipation-like look, then it is mini victory for me! I would have loved to do this every month. This is because conductor gives the impression that the pass holders are travelling for free if we show him the pass! But he tends to forget the fact that we’ve paid the money in advance. Coming back to the commute – this is smooth since it is not a long commute and fewer crowds. But this journey made to bring in some change in me from the usual. In this route, I lost my mobile. So, this made me to remain careful from carefree and made me to think of a way to protect my items. I started to keep all valuable items in my bag and backpack bag became an integral part of me ever since! 

Within 15 minutes, I reached KBS. This is an ocean of madness. I can see all walks of people like – kids, college students, working class, senior citizens, patients and importantly floating population. This can be entropy for randomness! One common thing I can think among all is – everybody is running against the time machine. This part of the commute is always challenging, scary and sometimes injurious as well. I’d to be smart, rude, ruthless, bullying and finally patient. Once I get down from bus here, I could reach the platform from I used to get connecting bus. I should be smart enough to understand by looking at the people around me in the platform. If I could see more people, it was evident that some of the buses had not made it to the bus stand on time. If I could see some faces still waiting, then I should be able to sense that my bus had not yet arrived! Those faces are known faces but they were still alien to me and vice versa as we never talked each other. We form a group on the fly and group is valid for few minutes and gets dismantled once we get into the bus. This is nicely depicted in the movie “A Wednesday” as well! 

Once the bus comes to the platform, I would make sure that I stand on the left side of the door as people inside the bus would get down from the bus from their left side. The rest is simple. Others would push me into the bus and my job was to find a seat! I always preferred right side seats over the left side (reason explained further down). If I could not make it to the door, leave the bus and wait for the next one to arrive! Once I seated first thing is to check the belongings. Once the bus gets filled with people, I could see people who were frustrated for not getting seats, who were happy as they got their seats and some were devastated because after such a struggle they got into wrong bus! I’d undergone all these emotions! With experience, I learned to adapt to the art of tranquility. I never felt happy if I got the seat; at the same time never felt bad because I could not get a seat. However, I never let the attitude to struggle for the seat. In the hindsight, if I think now – this attitude drove me every day. Once the dust settles inside the bus, some of the seat holders would be beaming as if they won a battle! The frustrated souls would be finding for a reason to burst out. If they managed to find one, then the volcano would be erupted. It could be petty exchange of words; fully blown quarrels; some time physical as well. People would enjoy this as long as it continues. If it does not end, the conductor or some pacifier will do the role of devil’s advocate and pacify the parties in action! I never gave importance to all these. In fact, I never used to start conversation with anybody in the bus and almost felt like disturbing if some unknown person talked to me! 

From here, the journey is quite long. It takes almost an hour to reach my old office. For my current office, I need one and half hour. I would be on iPod or novel. Prior to iPod days, I would be on FM or songs on my phone. I would sleep if I had come back from my native on that day. I prefer right side seats, because during Koramangala days, I had to pass thru lots of chicken shops on the left hand side and could not see butchery of butcher. Also, on the right hand side, we’ve Christ University (previously Christ College). The time at which I used to reach there was the time at which I could see lots of girls. The only high point of the journey is not to miss this phase at any cost. Many time, while reading I did miss! After the commerce and management grads, I had the privilege to see girls in aprons – they could be doctors, pharmacists, nurses! It did not make much difference that they were to me as all are girls! Then comes the school – it would be fun to observe the school during the month of June. New kids who are getting admitted into the school for first time would be crying and the mixed feeling of excitement and concern in the faces of parents were always nice to cherish and remember. If it were an old office, I should have got down by this time. Once I got down, the relationship is over with that bus and the co-travellers and a new one would get formed once I board the bus next time! 

I did all these this time as well instinctively! Like I said earlier, this proved me that skills which I acquired over last 6 years won’t die in me because I’ve changed to different life style and I’ve undergone the process of adaptation! They are just dormant and will come out instinctively when required!

1 comment:

Giridhara said...

Very true. Applicable in lots of realtime situations.

I just wanted to share my observation and experience with these kinds of habits or practices.

Once we are adapted to the new life style going back to the olden days may not be as easy as before (even for a single day). One day of your BMTC Bus journey would have made you so tiered. But the same journey you would have made for couple of years.
I am finding hard to travel in KSRTC to my home town after started going by a car for many times. May be I have adapted to the luxury. Remember the days we used to walk for a long distance to get the soda in sivmurthy circle, Shimoga. Now it will be hard to walk even for half a km also.