Saturday, September 22, 2012

Long bus ride within a city after years...

Today I had a long commute in a BEST Bus (BEST is Mumbai's city transport system), - a ride of about 1-1/4hours. Thane to Andheri to be specific. I have done shorter rides like office to home, but a long ride like this has been after ages.

During my student days in Chennai, I was an authority on the bus-systems of the city. I simply loved the "freedom" of being able to go wherever I wanted to, thanks to what used to be an awesome public transport system, if you did not count the peak hours that were something like 8.30 am - 10 am and then again 5 pm  - 7 pm. (In the recent years I believe things have changed there too, and almost all hours of the day seem like peak hours!). Apart from my college trips, I would go visiting uncles / aunts / cousins / friends, and then my trips to the British Council Library, American Centre Library etc. Movies were a rarity for two reasons - a) Money (or the lack of it) and b) Permissions :>.  Yes, in the 1970s it was quite a task to get permission to go for a movie!

Back to bus rides, the best thing was that one almost had a vehicle at one's disposal, sans the task of maintaining it! And since I knew the frequencies and timings of most buses that I took, commuting was never a tough thing.

Today I had the advantage of getting into the bus at the starting point. And it was a Saturday. I had a choice of window seats to pick. The bus had reasonable crowds for part of the ride, but for most of it, it was pretty empty. Oh and the bus brought me pretty close to home too. If it were evening I would have walked back, but because it was noon, and a rickshaw driver actually agreed to come short distance, I grabbed that.

But in the end, the best part of today was - "reliving the sense of freedom". It seems almost silly. I am one of the lucky humans who has tons of freedom in my life. And I did not exactly have that during my student days, with a reasonably strict, orthodox grandmom at home :). And yet - the bus ride reminded me of the "special freedom" of those days. Fond memories :)

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