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Three Hours at the Bus Station...
by Anil D'Souza - Chennai

April 19, 2009

A person, when asked about the toughest job he has ever done, may reply anything ranging from his first night, first date, to his tenth and twelfth STD board papers. But if the reply is “waiting “then one has to understand the agony he has undergone waiting for his loved ones or something else. In this article I will narrate my harrowing experience waiting for the KSRTC bus and that too in a government bus stand in Chennai. Smart people may be thinking “What is he speaking about. KSRTC busses stop only in government bus stands”. Am I right?

To clarify a bit on my waiting episode. I was traveling from Chennai to Bangalore and the day was Friday. As you all know in cities especially on Friday evenings, one takes two to three hours just to travel a distance of 5 kms.I remember the last time I traveled to Bangalore, it took me 2 and half hours to reach the bus stand which on any other day would have taken only 40 minutes. My bus was to start at 22:30 and I reached late by 10 minutes and to my utter shock I was the first passenger from our bus to have made it to the stand. This time I took no chances. Even though my bus was at 22:55, I reached the bus stand at 20 30.Full 3 hours and 30 minutes early. And wonders of wonders, there was absolutely no traffic and I took less than 40 minutes to reach the bus stand. God has his own wonderful ways to teach us mortals a lesson or two right?

I had a book called “Jesus Lived in India” and it was a good book to read to wane away my time. But being a Good Friday, I thought at least this day I should do something good. I am, just like most people, a strict follower of Sankata Bandaaga Venkataramana and right now my days were going on quite allright, but still I was afraid of not being religious. So I turned my attention to INDIA TODAY.Election-2009 was everywhere, starting from the cover page to the advertisement in the last page and 30 min into the book I was bored. Every major party was digging the past, Babri Masjid, Kandahar, 26/11, weak PM, Foreign origin etc. No one was even speaking about future development. Dirty Politics. When I was wondering what to do, I saw a couple sipping Maaza and I too was tempted and could not resist. Mangoes are tempting .No doubt they rule the kingdom of fruits. Sipping Mazaa I thought about observing people around me. What better places than a bus stand to observe people? Isn’t it?


The bus stand (I don’t want to name it) is the largest bus terminus in Chennai and unlike Majestic in Bangalore is less crowded. I always used to tell my Tamil friends “What a waste. Your government has wasted money building such a huge busstand.Who comes here huh?”Anyways I was back to my plan of observing people and obvious my first preference was to look at girls. After 2 to 3 minutes of night vision scan I found none. Would you believe it? The place where I sat was in one corner and around 10 meters from it there were 50 -60 people fast asleep without a care of the world, not even bothered about mosquitoes. We cannot sleep without rubbing Odomos, but here were people who were happily asleep.NDA’s election slogan for the last general election “INDIA SHINING” just crossed my mind, UPA’s “AAM AADMI “crossed my mind too.

The reason behind telling this is 50% of people who were sleeping were not travelers; they were laborers and beggars who had no roof over their head. When the government has built such a huge bus stand and put fans, why not use them. True. I realized this when a n elderly couple came walking ,stood next to me, and surveyed for their spot for the night. After a minute they seemed to have come to a conclusion and headed straight there, put down their small bag and were fast asleep after 5 minutes. Just 20 meters from this place there was a huge board “DOMITARY A/C Rs 258, Semi Deluxe – Rs 180”. These things happen only in India right?

My time was passing smoothly now, I was enjoying my new experiment of observing people. There were 4 kids playing with the luggage carrier. Kids were poor .Their clothing made it known to the entire world. But what difference it made .Even well educated so called modern people don’t wear so much clothesJ. Couple of couples were discussing about their future, I think, or maybe about their weekend. I never asked them. Among all these people, a man caught my attention. He was well dressed.

He was checking everyone who was sleeping. He came to each person, peeped and had a closer look at their face and then went away irritated. I had no idea what he was doing. Maybe there was a robbery. Maybe there was a bomb threat and maybe the guy was a policeman and he was tipped off by someone. Thousand thoughts were playing kabaddi inside my mind. To make kabaddi more interesting, suddenly 5 policemen came and started waking up the sleepers. They began to hit people with their big bamboo sticks. Real Bamboo sticks. No one was spared. They were considerate to women though. Why only men had their punishment for doing the same thing the women too did, took me by a little surprise.

Well there was only half an hour remaining for me now and I really enjoyed the drama that was unfolding around me .The policemen who were fast asleep till now were wide awake and were doing their duty. I asked one of the policemen “What’s wrong Sir?” He replied “Idiots, what do they think of themselves. Have we have built such a huge place for them to sleep”. I didn’t do much .but nod. The bus stand was now empty. Till now I was praying to god that if at all thee was a bomb planted let it take off after my bus leaves. What a selfish thought? I realized this later only after my bus left. I was ashamed of myself only when I was a safe distance from the bus stand.

I started toward my bus, after a delightful wait. The queue in front of the ATM was never ending and so were the people pouring into the terminus. My time was almost over. On my way to the bus, I should not have been surprised to see the same policeman who was hitting the people, now sleeping in a comfortable chair and around him were the same people who were hit just an hour ago. Now I know why other parties can’t poke their noses into TamilNadu Politics. People pay back the government for letting them sleep in the bus stand. Even though I had to wait for 3 hours, I consider it worth the wait.

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

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Comments on this article
Naveen Rao, Chennai/MangalreTuesday, April 21, 2009

I do stay in Chennai for last 3 years to be precise in Vadapalani , which is near CMBT.I have traveled many times to Bangalore from CMBT. It is very well organised bus stand where you know exactly where the Bus is Stationed.

I feel KSTRC BUS service is very efficient Chennai-Bangalore route, at any instance I Have not faced the situation as narrated.. Boarding bus from Majestic to Chennai was hell, but things have changes a bit after shifting to Shanthi Nagar.I ask the Mr Anil to narrate the stories about smell and garbage of Chennai City.

Comment on this message     

Vinesha D''Mello, Atlanta, USATuesday, April 21, 2009
Hey Anil, Very well written.. You have the gift to think so creatively in frustrating situations, like waiting for a bus.. Kudos to you man!! Keep writing..
Comment on this message     

Ajith D''costa, Halealve/OmanMonday, April 20, 2009
Keep writing Mr.Anil,but articles should be short so all can read word by word, as you said in this busy schedule that to infront of monitor........pls ok take care
Comment on this message     

kusuma, ItalyMonday, April 20, 2009
Hi Anil it was a good article and we people are always busy without looking at world arround this is an eye opener to all who read your article and give some time atleast to look at the world and do something for the world then our life will be worth living.thanks Anil
Comment on this message     

Anil Dsouza Chennai , KundapurMonday, April 20, 2009
Mr Prakash, I have cleary mentioned that i was waiting for the KSRTC bus, in a govt bus stand. I have not mentioned the name too and certainly did not mention it as " KSRTC OR ANYTHING".The name of the bus stand is CMBT as u said and it s a nice place. I have not ridiculed the place anywhere in the write up.Anyways if you wre hurt I AM SORRY
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Vijay, BangaloreMonday, April 20, 2009
Nice article. Usually I''m impatient to read more text, but Anil''s articles was simple to read and understand. Thanks Anil.
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Joy p, BangaloreMonday, April 20, 2009
It''s good watch.  I am travelling almost 20 years all over India.. thousands of events stored in my memories.. If you want to  discover yourself... you have to spare time like this.. so discover your own land.. .. keep it up.
Comment on this message     

Melwin Pais, MloreMonday, April 20, 2009
Nice article! I know the circumstances are less than ideal, but this ain't Nottingham right? We're the same and we just can't stand it. We got the same brilliant mind, the same natural-born leader tendencies, the same one-in-a-million charisma. I'm sick of jumping through hoops to keep our system in a bubble!
Comment on this message     

Ravi Lobo, Kinnigoli/ WisconsinMonday, April 20, 2009
This is a good article. I liked it better than your earlier ones avoid rhetoric questions and clichés. Keep writing.
Comment on this message     

Prakash Harischandra, Mangalore/GalvestonSunday, April 19, 2009
The Place he describes , is not as worse he mentioned it is much well organised , and is far superior for the amount of traffic it handles than Singapore or any other asian bus stop. its name is Koyambeed Moffusil Terminus and Not KSRTC or anything , its a Interstate bus terminal. has 350 plus Bus Bays , the only Bus stop which 100 % disabled firendly. Please get your facts right before ridiculing anything. Even though there is corruption there is a sincere effort by the TN Govt to built a decent busstop. Not many states have not even tried that.
Comment on this message     

davood abdul latheef, mangalore/dubaiSunday, April 19, 2009
very good article
Comment on this message     

IMRAN, JUBAILMonday, April 20, 2009
Yes anil you have seen it in chennai, it happens many places in india? this is what called "INDIA SHINING" OR "AAM AADMI" I am sad to read following sentence in your article, hope you will not pray anymore as u prayed on that spot. Till now I was praying to god that if at all there was a bomb planted let it take off after my bus leaves. What a selfish thought?
Comment on this message     

Fr.Thomas Baretto, Navilur/AustriaSunday, April 19, 2009
Dear Mr. Anil! Hearty thanks for your humorous and pictorial narration of your experience at the KSRTC Bustand at Chennai. I liked it very much because I too am having the habit of seeing things in the same way and it keeps me amused for a long time. Believe me or not, I laughed and enjoyed a lot when I read your article. It makes a lot of naked facts of our daily life in India vivid. I wish that many more people read your article and each one makes his own reflections over it. It serves as food for thought. Write many more such things!
Comment on this message     

fr. joseph vas svd, uppinakote/brahmavar/indoreSunday, April 19, 2009
Hi anil! you have spent your Good Friday night really waking with the Lord. congrats for the three hours wait at the bus stop in Chennai. yours ever in the divine word, fr,juze vaz svd
Comment on this message     

ashfakkadr, mangalore/jeddahSunday, April 19, 2009
A person, when asked about the toughest job he has ever done, may reply anything ranging from his first night, first date, to his tenth and twelfth STD board papers. But if the reply is “waiting “then one has to understand the agony he has undergone waiting for his loved ones or something else. In this article I will narrate my harrowing experience waiting for the KSRTC bus and that too in a government bus stand in Chennai. Smart people may be thinking “What is he speaking about. KSRTC busses stop only in government bus stands”. Am I right?
Comment on this message     

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