The bus ride to and from work can be anything from a breeze to a soul-crushing odyssey, depending on traffic. Also, a lot of your mental health during the ride depends on the bus-driver's choice of radio station. Mostly, it's that station where the RJ insists on talking at a speed of 4000 words a minute, because, as she keeps saying, it's music for the 'fatafat' generation. Much worse is on some mornings when there is a particular lady who answers interview questions and then picks THE worst songs written in the history of Kannada films. These er....songs...are enough to make me want to hurl myself out of the thick glass windows, or failing that, at least bang my head against them several times until I fall, senseless, to the floor. Fortunately, owing to an attack of conscience, the newspaper boy now brings the paper really early and on most mornings I can hide in my copy of the Times.
Then there are the conductors. There is one lady, who with her sweetly bobbed hair and girlish smile, bowls you over. But, mind it, she's a terror. "Tickettsoo!!" she trumpets, galumphing like a matriach elephant charging down the Serengeti... she even hangs out of the door and yells at the traffic cop for doing a poor job of controlling the pedestrians! And then there is the one who charges me 25 instead of the usual 30 for my route. We have a secret understanding. Sometimes he won't make eye contact and says, deadpan, "30 rupees please." I, shattered at this fall from grace, hand him a 100. Then he hands me back 75 in change and gives me a quick, conspiratorial grin, seen by no-one else, and all is right in the world again.
But the worst scourge of all on this earth are the gropers. Fortunately, they don't exist on my regular bus. But once or twice when it gets really crowded, it does happen- or tries to, at least. There was this recent incident where I said, loudly, to the creep who was inching closer and closer, "Move BACK please. Don't TOUCH me." And, miraculously after that, he suddenly found room to stand in a manner where we weren't in intimate physical contact. It also helped that every other woman on board turned around and gave him a nasty look. Ha, Take that, fool. Next time, it'll be an elbow in your face!