How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bus behaviour

I have been shortchanged by the company bus. The Route 6 bus that is said to pass through
Royapettah (bang opposite where I stay) has not been sighted by me so far, in so many days. It seems to be as mythical as the river Saraswati at the Sangam in Allahabad :). People say it passes by here at 8.20am in the morning, but nobody's ever seen it.

So, I have to take recourse to the city bus to reach the office. Fortunately, there is one that takes me directly to (and from) the office. After travelling for a few days on the bus, I think I can safely comment on the bus behaviour of Chennai-ites. It is a strange mix of civility and uncouth. The entire left-hand row of seats in any bus is reserved for women, which I think is more than a little unfair. Also, men even have to stand on the right-hand side, not blocking the way of women prying for empty seats on the left. Women can also occupy any empty right-hand side seats, but the reverse is not generally true, except in a mostly empty bus.

Many people are somehow not comfortable with bus travel, it seems. I say this because of the general impatience shown by many people. Generally, when a bus stops, people from the bus alight first, and only then the people at the stop climb aboard. But I've seen impatient grandmas and others rushing inside and causing great trouble to people standing near the door and those trying to alight. If you are in the middle of a jampacked bus and want to alight, you will have to start early :). Many people are simply too stubborn and won't step aside for you to pass.

But by far the greatest impatience is shown in trying to grab an empty seat. As soon as a
seated person rises, the game starts. It is not always the person standing next to that seat who gets to sit. People standing three seats away from this seat on either side angle for the seat, as if fishing. They grab the seat rods, put one foot between the seat and any potential rival, or throw the bag that they were carrying right on to the seat. Thus the battle of the seat is won.

And so it goes, day in and day out. It's instructive to notice behaviour of people in public places. It tells you a lot about their character.


Blogger Samrat said...

whole side reserved for the ladies, that truly is gender equality :) . otherwise only a few seats are reserved.
May seem unfair at first, but atleast it gives the ladies some protection against the feeling/groping/leching lumpen indian male.

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Wolverine said...

Yes...Chennai is particularly notorious for groping, leching, and other such behaviour. I suppose u wud hav noticed it by now (considering u imply that u tend to observe people's behaviour in public places...). I shud think the protection is warranted. However, what Chennai really needs is a more liberal attitude.....then u won't need such protective measures....

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mallu land rules !!!

Ted, you could suggest the chennai Bus Corp. to reserve the first 3-4 seats (on both left and right side) for women. This practice is followed in Cochin and it is much easier for men to stand at the bach 60% of the bus.

Sahil Bablani.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Tadatmya Vaishnav said...

If you reserve one entire side for women, and hence women occupy half the bus, will leching stop? And BTW, I have somehow missed seeing any instance of depraved behaviour from males. Maybe I've chosen the wrong times of day (when men are not usually drunk, etc.)

Sahil (how are u?),
Reserving the first few seats for women is a practice followed in Karnataka also.

But basically, my contention is that the aim of such reservation should only be to provide a few assured seats to those who need them, rather than prevention of depraved behaviour, etc. Personal views only...

1:45 AM  

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