Thursday, June 15, 2006

The burning ambition

I had a burning ambition. The thought of it had been eating into me for quite a while now. Finally I achieved it.

What could this ambition be, you naturally wonder. Let me not keep you in the dark for longer than is necessary. Simply put, it was to travel in those cool new Volvo buses on Bangalore roads. Ah, I can hear you say, "What a lame 'burning ambition'". No comments.

I had had no occasion to use these buses before. We use company transport, and I very rarely use buses to commute elsewhere within Bangalore. But each time I saw those gleaming red buses with electronic route display, those wide doors and huge scrubbed windows, those plush blue seats and the yellow handrails and the sophisticated grey interiors, my eyeballs would follow the bus until it turned a corner.

I finally got to travel in one this week. I left office early, and took one of these volvo buses (which have an additional advantage that they stop right at the office gate). As the doors softly slid apart, I entered the cool interiors, and selected a nice window seat. The polite and smiling conductor issued me a ticket with that ticket-vending machine they hang around their necks. The volvo noiselessly made its way through the clean and green streets of Electronic city. With the soft strains of a song from the radio, sitting in the cool comfort of the bus, gazing out at the glass buildings on either side of the road, it was like being cocooned in a different world altogether.

The bus is, naturally, well-equipped and high-tech. A rear-view screen for the driver. A microphone, into which the driver talks to his passengers and announces bus stops. Well, you know, the works.

It was interesting to watch first-time passengers. A family of four got in. The youngest girl was extremely delighted. She was giggling and jumping around, thoroughly excited to be on this bus. Her older sister was as excited, but she tried very hard to maintain her dignity. But ever so often, her face creased into a smile and she let out a joyous laugh, and then looked up shyly at her mother. The mother, supposedly busy telling her younger daughter to keep quiet and sit down, couldn't get the expression of awe off her face. There was suppressed thrill in each action. And then, of course, the father. Exulting in the reactions of his family, his face was a picture of pride and importance as he peeled off notes from his wallet and paid the conductor.

The conductor, ever smiling, stood near the door, and at each stop, as passengers got in, he appraised them coolly. If he suspected that a passenger was getting in without being aware of the high fares of the bus, he would lean close, and ask, "Yellige, sir?" [Where to, sir?] When the passenger told the conductor his intended destination, the conductor would lean even closer, and softly mouth what was obviously the bus fare. Then a shocked look would come over the passenger's face, and he would back off, and stumble out of the bus, while the bus driver waited patiently. It was uncanny, the way the conductor homed in correctly on what he thought was a passenger who couldn't afford to pay his way in the Volvo. It was somehow saddening too. Yes, I know that it is a special bus, and there are many more ordinary buses along the way, yet, it is depressing that the majority cannot enjoy the comfort of the Volvo. Anyway, let me not dwell upon that.

It wasn't that I haven't been in such buses before. It is just that I hadn't been in such buses in India. And they look even more gleaming and inviting in contrast to the other vehicles. Like a shiny new coin in a bunch of old coins. All a matter of perception, huh? Anyway, I finally did get to travel in the BMTC Volvo, and I enjoyed the comfortable ride. More so, because I had at last achieved my "burning ambition". Again, no comments.

35 comments:

Harsha said...

*GOLD*

I have that ambition too....to travel in a BMTC Volvo... Infact I am yet to get on one ..it always seems to elude me... and yeah we software enggs are the only ones who can afford to pay those kinda bus fares, others just get a vehicle instead dont they? :D

Suresh said...

Hey, It's been my "burning ambition" too....to travel in the BMTC Volvo when I'm in Bangalore.
Traveling on a rainy evening with some great music around the clean green streets of Bangalore(minus the traffic :P)..one of the best things...
And..the description of the first-time passengers was really good...

Good Post :)

Avinash said...

Nice one, :-)
I too have this ambition, now I feel like I have to fulfill this ambition soon...

Anonymous said...

Hey even I had this burning ambition of travelling in this BUS, since we had company bus, I could not. Once I missed the company bus (or was it deliberate), and eventally had to travel to the office by this bus. It was good. yeah, it is disheartening to see the fares so high, but then as you say, no comments.

Shruthi said...

Wonderful! 4 people already, who share my "ambition" :D

Bev: Heh heh :D
Btw I did see a lot of non-software people travelling on it too. And not just for pleasure :D

Suresh: Thanks :)
Ahaaa you make it sound even better :D

Avinash: Go ahead, look for a reason, and do travel in it :D

Anon: Aha I know now, it must have been deliberate :)
Btw, are you any of the Anons I know??

Viky said...

Amazing how you can make a common thing as a commute so vivid.

Volvo is something I wanted to check out when I come to Bangalore next. After this, I definitely will.

Maverick said...

Mannnnnnn u make it sound so good tht i wanna come bangalore just for being on this bus.

Inder said...

Volvo buses in Bangalore? That sounds so very pleasant. I hope MTC gets some of them on the roads of Madras. I am so very tired of travelling in MTC buses with a hand and leg inside the bus and the rest of me hanging out. Also, I am getting old... I don't know how long I would be able to perform these daredevil stunts.

Raj said...

If I miss my company shuttle, a Volvo bus comes to my rescue. Traveliing from whitefield to mg road can take long and be frusrating but if u r in a volvo, u dont even mind the marathahalli jam :)

These buses are the best thing to happen to Blr in a long time.

Shruthi said...

Viky: :) Oh yeah you should! Just go to Majestic, take some bus and go some distance, and then come back :D

Maverick: Good :) There are, of course, many more things for which you should come to Bangalore ;)

Inder: I have a theory. A commute is like life. The more difficult the commute, the better the person is equipped for the big bad world :D
Philosophy apart, I hope Chennai gets them to ;)

Raj: Yeah! I have heard lots of people say that they don't mind traffic jams any more, thanks to Volvo!

travel plaza said...

I travelled to different city by the volvo bus one time. Didn't know they run within the city too! Must travel by it within the city next time I come to B'lore. My kids keep asking to ride the bus there. This will be good for them too:) Great read once again Shruthi.

Anonymous said...

no comment about ur blog, but u simply *must* blog about the various anons that haunt your place! it's simply hilarious the way you keep trying to find out who the anons really are! :))

ano (not anon!)

Supremus said...

Mmmh! I missed out on this one in my trip :d - have always hated buses. But will try them when I am there next - though it looks remote hehe.

anoop said...

didn't know about this new development in Bangalore, will be on the look out for the bus suiting your description. Me having a bike for daily commute, never got a chance. sometime back, i was so fed up with my daily routine, tried walking to office for 3 kms and took bus for the rest 4 kms, I'm pretty sure there was no Volvo bus then.

Stalingam said...

Lal Salaam Shruti !

You are a genuine blogger
Your posts come from your heart.

Nirwa said...

Oh my!! I have had such weird ambitions. I always wanted to see how it feels to put your feet in those pokes in cycle tyres when you're driving it. I once did, and I broke a few pokes and had pain in my toes for a few days.

Then one day, I wanted to see how it feels to be in driver's seat of a rickshaw. Two months back, I sat in the seat and felt like I'm on top of the world. Hmm.. must write a post on my ambitions! :D

Nirwa

chitra said...

You know what? It was my 'ambition' too :) :)! And glad to say that I acheived it :) !

Shruthi said...

Travel Plaza: Thank you! Yeah that's a good idea for an outing ;)

Ano: Ha ha ha!!! That's a great idea :D - Seriously all these anons... phew!!

Suyog: I did not like buses too, especially to travel between cities... but there are really good buses nowadays.. and volvos of course, between cities - are very comfy. No complaints any longer!

Anoop: Oh yeah these Volvos have been introduced pretty recently. Good option when you get bored ;)

Stalingam: A very colourful salaam to you too! :D And thank you so much!

Nirwa: Your snaps are getting scarier! Oh, I forgot, I am not supposed to comment on them :D
You really ARE weird, you know :D Your ambitions post will surely be a laughter riot :D

Chitra: Heh heh, it's fun, allva? :D

angada said...

I 'left' Bangalore about 7 years ago. Ever time I visit Bangalore, it holds a new surprise for me. Yes, the city is changing fast, but the lastest development - Volvo city buses - was extremely surprising!

Well, it was not surprising to know from you that your 'burning ambition' was to board such a bus, 'coz of your previous post - Wierdness Quotient-High!

angada said...

Actually I am quite surprised that there are lot many people who actually have a 'burning ambition' to board a BMTC Volvo!!
Well, as one of my close friends had said, "Most people have parallel life stories" - it is possible to have this ambition.

Also, working in software industry and traveling for long hours in the mind-boggling traffic day-in and day-out can take its toll on any person. Now I understand why Volvo travel in the city can be a pleasurable experience.

Swathi said...

been hearing 'bout these new buses n now 'am waiting for my next visit to B'lore

Mukund said...

i did achieve this ambition while i was in b'lore last month!! nice blog, by the way :)

Shruthi said...

Angada: Met you before on Chitra's blog :D
Yeah I am also surprised that so many ppl have had this ambition... see? I am not the only weird one :D
And yes, it is a comfort in the midst of Bangalore traffic!

Swathi: One more item in the list of Bangalore sightseeing, huh? :D

Mukund: Thank you :)
It's fun, isn't it??

RK said...

Somehow feel nothing can match the thrill of travelling on footboards in BTS.

Shruthi, by the way, sorry to go off the mark, read in a chemistry journal last week that a chemical name for the tryptophan synthetase A protein has 1,913-letters. Now you know there is a word longer than "Floccinau...."

methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylleucylphenylalanylalanylglutaminyll eucyllysylglutamylarginyllysylglutamylglycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenylal anylvalylthreonylleucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylseryl leucyllysylisoleucylaspartylthreonylleucylisoleucylglutamylalanylglycylalanylaspa rtylalanylleucylglutamylleucylglycylisoleucylprolylphenylalanylserylaspartylproly lleucylalanylaspartylglycylprolylthreonylisoleucylglutaminylasparaginylalanylthre onylleucylarginylalanylphenylalanylalanylalanylglycylvalylthreonylprolylalanylglu taminylcysteinylphenylalanylglutamylmethionylleucylalanylleucylisoleucylarginylgl utaminyllysylhistidylprolylthreonylisoleucylprolylisoleucylglycylleucylleucylmeth ionyltyrosylalanylasparaginylleucylvalylphenylalanylasparaginyllysylglycylisoleuc ylaspartylglutamylphenylalanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamyllysylvalylg lycylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalylprolylvalylglutaminylgl utamylserylalanylprolylphenylalanylarginylglutaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhist idylasparaginylvalylalanylprolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinylprolylprol ylaspartylalanylaspartylaspartylaspartylleucylleucylarginylglutaminylisoleucylala nylseryltyrosylglycylarginylglycyltyrosylthreonyltyrosylleucylleucylserylarginyla lanylglycylvalylthreonylglycylalanylglutamylasparaginylarginylalanylalanylleucylp rolylleucylasparaginylhistidylleucylvalylalanyllysylleucyllysylglutamyltyrosylasp araginylalanylalanylprolylprolylleucylglutaminylglycylphenylalanylglycylisoleucyl serylalanylprolylaspartylglutaminylvalyllysylalanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalanylg lycylalanylalanylglycylalanylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanylisoleucylvalyllysylis oleucylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylhistidylasparaginylisoleucylglutamylprolylgluta myllysylmethionylleucylalanylalanylleucyllysylvalylphenylalanylvalylglutaminylpro
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Manasi said...

Wow! Volvo buses for daily transport!!
With the kind of buses we have in Pune, i prefer walking even to the other end of the town!!! How I hope someday even we will have such nice buses with such good drivers and conductors! Sigh!

ashu said...

I have seen some red ones.. but sadly they arent' on my route. But I too have a burning desire to board one and just go around bangalore :)

Mridula said...

When I am in Bangalore ... I will follow in your footstpes into a Volvo :)

Madhooo said...

I am first timer on your blog and I must honestly say that I just love it. Abt the volvo buses, yes, even i am waiting for a chance to get on them.;)

Sandesh said...

Nanginnu aa bhaagya sikkilla! Aadashtu bega volvodalli hogtheeni!

Nice post! keep bloggin!

Shruthi said...

RK: Oh man!! Where do you get such info from?? !! Just LOOK at that word! :D I don't even have the guts to read it!

Manasi: Hope they are introduced soon in Pune too :) If not anything else, they are goodlooking ;)

Ashu: Go on, think up a reason to get on one :D

Mridula: :)) Oh yeah do come over! :)

Madhoo: Welcome!! And thank you so much :)

Sandesh: I'll take you ;)

sathish said...

the Volvo bus was first introduced in Mumbai and luckily I was there in Mumbai around that time and managed to travel in that.
Good to see that in Bangalore, these days more crowd is getting into the Volvo buses..
hope that the metro rail would come soon to get over all these traffic jams.. but the construction time would be a nightmare..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

hi.
I do not know you. Your blog url was referred by my cousin Sandesh at his blog.

I read many of your post, verymuch interesting. I'm a kannadigaa but operating from chennai. Long time since i visited B'lore. Have to check out volvo city bus, new FM radio and the new site seeing double decker bus (I read in todays Vijaya Karnataka)

I can see that you've a great number of readers and fanfare... excellent.

ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾದರೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೂ ಬರೆಯಿರಿ.

Best wishes,
Shrinidhi.

If interested and time permits have a look at my blog.

Best wishes.

Shruthi said...

Shrinidhi Thank you! What is the url of your cousin's blog??
I do intend to write in Kannada too. I might start a Kannada blog sometime!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi.
My cousin's blog URL is http://kannadigaa.blogspot.com
(Sandesh Karanth)

Best wishes.

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