thats kannada for BMTC. the city transport system. otherwise known until recent past as rattling tin cans. yeah, they have changed over time now. not all are rattling tin cans anymore. some have graduated to coffins on wheels. kidding. they've got some decently comfy pushpaks and some a/c buses too. have you seen them? nope. sorry! all the IT companies have leased them out!
now this whole thing about experimenting with the bmtc spawned from my cousin's wild idea of making me travel to his place from office. that evening i did wonder why i had the privilege of leaving office early. banashankari to kamannahalli. if my geography serves me right, its like somewhere in south of bangalore to the north east. on the map it looks quite a reasonable distance. but there's that minor issue called "scale" that makes it all so unreasonable! i get the first inkling of distance when i see the ticket. Rs.11. wow! some distance. (strangers note, bus travel in b'lore is quite cheap. so Rs.11 on a ticket means FAAAAR.)
there's an interesting thing one should note about b'lore buses. winning a jackpot in vegas is easier than finding the routes written in english. yes, they do have numbers on them, in english. at times at three different places on the bus; and quite possible, all three different numbers. a flash of ingenuity made them put the number behind the bus. (BEST in mumbai has it in the front and by the door) whats the big idea in putting it behind the bus!? hey dude! this is the bus you just missed! was it the one you were looking for? too bad! there are bus shelters, but not one will you find that tell you the routes that come there. why? search me! but thats a consolation. until a few years back the best way to look for a bus stop was to find a tree with people huddled around it. a chipko movement of sorts :)
anyway, so started my journey spanning the city. you are told the journey time is 45mins. the unit of measurement also varies. what we commonly know as 1 second, lasts for 2 here.
then the passengers too are quite an enthusiastic crowd. bmtc buses dont have a bell. so the conductor needs to whistle (using a whistle or his fingers or just the avian mating call shriek) and the driver gets his cue. so you will find those who've mastered the art of miming the conductor's whistle :) rest is history. of course, there are also those random cases where drunkards wriggle their way in and get thrown out just as religiously!
i am given a landmark to lookout for. a huge watertank. "get off at the stop after the signal once you see this tank" i am told. i spot the tank but in my excitement of finally making it there, forget the other detail. that makes for a healthy evening walk. one that guarantees to work up an enviable appetite.
there's that thing about bangalore neighbourhoods too. almost all lanes & by lanes look alike. i thought i knew my cousin's locality. i see this ad sign "CMR Institutions" and am doubly sure now that i am in his area. the fact that CMR could have a very strong marketing team behind it skips my mind. only to realise that the ad signs appear on more than one road in that area :) i eventually resort to something my chromosome combination forbids me.... ask for directions. what do i do!? i carry a screwed up compass in my head! knocking it doesnt tilt the needle in any which way! and guess what, asking directions does help :)
why didnt i call my cousin? well, i have this thing with cell phone batteries you know... :)