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Tuesday, August 8

23-C? 23-M? 29-K? WTF do I take?? - A guide to travelling by public buses in Chennai...

As the title clearly suggests, I'm going to use my vast experience and list interesting travel tips just so that your first bus journey in Chennai doesn't become your last... :P

Listed below are sequenced tips on how to deal with the ordeal in chronological order...

Travel Smart!

1. Before boarding any PTC bus that comes your way, just make sure there are not more than 200 people inside. If there are, rally up a few jobless college students on the road to clamber aboard the roof & sing and dance all the way to the nearest Police Station.

2. If you are blessed and all luck is on your side, you will probably live near a bus terminus. In which case, take all the time you need to inspect the bus thoroughly inside before taking enough time to choose where you'd like to sit and wait till the bus driver comes after half an hour. In this time, two other buses leaving for the same destination would've departed leaving you cursing the guy who told you 'this' bus would
be the next to leave.

3. While you stand in the bus stand, tired, sweaty and eyeing every single completely empty bus passing by with apprehension, DO NOT contemplate taking it even though you might land up in another part of the city. Wait for the bus you're supposed to take however dirty, dangerous or packed it might be. At least you'll be sure of heading home.

4. At the bus stand, try amusing yourself as you battle the sweltering sun & beggars. If anyone comes up to you with a helpless look on their face and asks you which bus to take to get to some place you hadn't even heard exists in the city, just remember... To him, you are God! Answer will full confidence, the three different buses to switch along the way and why he should rather consider taking an auto.
Also, try giving creative advice such as, "Watch out for the conductor on 23-C. He is very short-tempered" and "Oh! 5-B? That's a fantastic bus. I know because my cousin is a pickpocket on that bus."

5. If you are already partially deaf or wish to be so, you could sit near the bus driver and try involving him in a conversation about the traffic nowadays. And exclaim in horror every time a motorist or cyclist tries dodging past the bus. Surely enough, the bus driver would holler at that jerk through his permanently open window just to keep you in good spirits. In reality, they're truly nice people.

6. Never EVER clamber aboard a bus carrying just a 500 rupee note and wave it in the conductor's face. He would request the driver to stop the bus and ask you to get the fuck out. Wise decisions to take in case you are stuck with nothing but a 500 rupee note would be;

- Travel ticketless. Everybody does it at some point of time. Some more than others though.
- If you swear by righteousness and never disobey the law, try and beg for petty change at the bus stop. Just remember that your pleas of 'If you give me your address, I'll send you back your Re.1' sound incredibly stupid.

7. Always keep in mind. Pretty girls who travel in buses are nothing but a figment of your imagination and the next time anybody tells you he saw a hot chick on a bus, you'd know for sure he was bluffing. If somebody up there really loves you & you DO sight a pretty girl on the bus, just keep in mind that you'd never see her on a bus again.

8. Travelling by bus can be very boring at times. A
lways be wary of the contents in your pockets like your wallet, phone, mp3 player and the likes. If you are wearing cargos with a gazillion pockets, heaven help you! In case you are very bored & you look at that old man constantly staring at you like you stepped right out of a space craft, look him in the eye & motion him to stay absolutely still as you attempt to quietly open the bag of the person in front of you. (who is invariably your friend... But like the old fool knows!)
Watch as the old geezer's eyes pop wide after a while as you casually talk to your friend who you've known for a long time.

9. If at any point of time the bus starts lurching back & forth, don't panic. The driver is just attempting once again to shift gears without bothering to use the clutch. And in case, you hear a loud groan from the front which might sound like a c
amel being castrated, that's just the friendly clutch plate grinding as the driver keeps pulling at the weird knobbly gear shift. Notice everyone heave a sigh of relief as the bus slowly continues moving.

10. The best seats are at the very front, alongside the bus driver where you can chance upon everybody running helter-skelter to get out of the way of the big bumbling bus. This option is to be exercised only by those who don't mind going partially deaf, as the engine which is located right in the vicinity, sounds like an aeroplane droning right in your ear... Like hundreds of mosquitoes have chosen to sing their latest hits on a megaphone. And pardon me for I can't get more descriptive than that...

11. You probably haven't experienced half the thrill of travelling by a bus if you haven't ever stood on the footboard of a PTC bus. Risking your life is totally worth it, as most people I know would rather choose death, than be stuffed alongside a man who probably hasn't had a bath for eons or is someone who bathed in cheap whisky. This pretty much summarizes the kind of men who travel by government buses. Although the breeze feels like an elixir of life, at times boredom gets to you easily and there are ways to amuse yourself.
- At every stop, alight and keep sneering at the kid next to you who also is travelling by footboard. Give him challenging looks when the bus starts moving again just to let him know that he has competition for 'The Footboard Traveller of the Year' award.
- The best place is to be as forward as possible in
that tiny space provided for people to climb aboard the bus. This could at times lead you to get very territorial and anybody who chooses to step in your space is punishable under the 'Footboard Travel Laws' which are more of an unspoken agreement rather than anything else.
- When you are already settled on part of the footboard while someone is running as fast as the bus hoping to clamber aboard, give him space enough to get a toe in. Atleast then, he won't complain that you didn't move at all. Not that the dead men tell tales... Lol.
If you particularly are in a foul mood because somebody was a real bitch to you that day, make him run alongside and look at the contours on his face switch rapidly in quick succession as he sweats, struggles and strains to catch up with the
bus only to find there is absolutely no space to sneak a foot in. Don't let compassion overcome you at the very last minute!!

12. If you are a feminist or universally hate all men, please move on to tip number 13.

For the rest, I'm a member of the 'Union Against Women Empowerment on Buses', which deals with battling rights in buses to provide equal rights to both women and men. We are not complaining against the reservation of 'women only' seats in buses. Such thoughtful ideas are well appreciated. We are entirely against the women who'd choose to seat themselves comfortably in the side not specifically demarcated for women while there are plenty of empty seats in the women zone.
Moreover, we also admonish haughty women who raise a ruckus and create a scene every time the bus runs into a bump and as much as a guy's shirt touches their delicate skin. At times, I almost feel sorry for the men, because no man even in an inebriated state would remotely wish to rub shoulders with that scary looking woman. Women of these sorts in turn believe they've just been awarded modelling contracts from Elle and it is entirely blasphemous that a 'normal' man has touched them.
My suggestion is that they wear bubble-wrap the next time they wish to take a bus. Or even better... DON'T take a bus!

13. If you've finally gotten a seat after making your way through baskets of smelly fish, stinky armpits, unwashed & sweaty hands and hard-wood elbows, do not attempt to get up the moment you sight a feeble old man somewhere on the bus. Wait for someone else to do so. In case however, if the old man walks up to your seat and stands there giving you a forlorn, tired look, curse him all you want under your breath, but make sure you give him your seat.

14. While you are among the mighty chosen ones who've gotten seats, just keep in mind that sometimes, people who are standing, need use of bot
h their arms to balance on the bus and hence will drop whatever they carry in your arms. As personal experience suggests, if you ever do chance upon a college student's notebook, just skip randomly through the pages. You are bound to come across;
- Very shoddy and gay sounding tamil poetry that might just make headway as lyrics someday.
- Caricatures and artist's impressions of the nude female form. To figure out what the student likes best in a woman's body, just glance at which part has been drawn to exaggerated and 'detailed' specification.
- Silly games like 'Flames' among many others in between notes of zoology, computer science, advanced robotics and world history all crammed in one book.

15. In case you feel mild tremors, the ground starts rattling beneath your feet, the rod you are clutching starts vibrating and you're doing the tap dance with your teeth, just note that the driver has finally pushed the bus to a record breaking speed of 50 kmph. Don't fret though, as driver knows best. The worst that has happened while I was there was the rod falling off and in another incident, the axle connecting the wheels underneath the bus giving way. Just play safe and feign a twisted ankle or broken foot to avoid stepping out in the hot sun to aid the other men pushing the bus. In fact, in this time you could easily steal someone's seat.

16. The attitude of the driver, the age of the bus and it's running condition can all easily be estimated by just taking a good look at the bus. However, only by sitting lost somewhere in the back of the bus and smelling the acrid smoke billowing through the twisted exhaust pipe alongside the bus can you predict whether the bus has passed the 1975 emission tests or not.

17. If the person sitting next to you wishes to drift off (which is near impossible) and pretty soon plants his face on your shoulder, just jerk that shoulder all of a sudden even if it means breaking his jaw bone. You could always blame it on the bumpy ride or maniacal bus driver. In case you believe this is way too harsh, please feel free to sing him a lullaby and ro
am around for the rest of the day unmindful of that dried up drool stain on your shirt. You'd rather request him to bring a pillow the next time he chooses public transport.

Just make sure overall, that your bus journey doesn't seem anything like;


I have so much more information to delve out to you just to make sure your travel in Chennai is but a little more fun. But alas, I think I've run short of space...

So, that pretty much summarizes the interesting travel tips you should take into consideration when you choose to travel by a public bus in Chennai... Or NOT TO!

You'd rather just walk...
Or take an auto...

And please do drop by some other time to read through my 'Guide to travelling by autos in Chennai and why you should rather walk the distance...'




Blogger Da Rodent said...

ROFLMAO :) :) :)

Gawd., that was one hilarious post man.. The last picture was totally awesome :)

Agreed about NO hot-chicks in the bus :P. That is always a wish to kill your time in the bus which never gets granted. And, if at all someone remotely close to a chic gets in and you try something smart., you'll end up being called an assole :P

Once., in a packed bus i was standing behind this college girl. A bum behind me decides to grop her hips. She turns and stares at me and I think she was going to do the slapping act. Just in time my brain worked and i notioned her to look at both my hands holding on to the bars in the top :P. She gave one "too bad i cant slap you" look and turned away. Bah!

Screw giving a seat to old men. Dont ever do the "victorian chivalry" of giving up your seat for a babe (or even anything close to one). She wont even bother to say "thank you". Probably she'll go back to her college/school/* and tell her friends., "ah there was this despo in bus who was trying to impress me and gave me a seat and all" :P

Tue Aug 08, 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Parvathi said...

you didn't write about mothers dumping three kids on ur lap or women using your shoulders as a stand for their hand!

Wed Aug 09, 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Ram said...

hey dude.... that was totally hilarious.... n the pics... even better.... where did u get them from...???

amazing dude... but u cud have mentioned the mad bus driver on 5...!!! lol...

btw, u chucked orkut..???!!!

ciao.. rama...

Wed Aug 09, 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Sowmiya said...

I have finally read it ALL...Man! that was hillarious :)

(1) I disagree with hot chicks not having travelled on PTC buses (I take the bus always....lol!!)

(2) The front seats next to the driver are the worst due to the heat waves from that big 'Bus Grave' i call it...that whole thing below the gears...

(3) A whole family getting on in say Velankani stop and spreading their existence throughout the length and breadth of The Bus and hollering in one's ear "Inga yerangadha da naye!!! Adutha stoppu.....!!"

(4)If women have to wear bubble wrap men need to learn to keep hands and legs to themselves and especially EYES....(Thats the feminist in me talking!!)

(5) I love the fact that you can get from Besant Nagar Bus Terminus to Mt.Road in Rs.4.50 as opposed to haggling with insane auto-man over 60 bucs...

(6) Its soooo airy WHEN the bus is empty.....

Its an Interesting experience....

Wed Aug 09, 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Joe - Thanks... The credit to none of the pictures go to me.. They've all been pilfered from search results on google.. :)
& I'm not too sure bout this incident you related... Are you sure you didn't do the groping act? Coz most of the men act like they never did anything right after doing something.. Lol..
Hmmm.. Maybe she knew you from a previous experience.. A prospective 'She-4' maybe?? Hehe..

@ Suchi - Before all else, What in heaven's name did you do to those kids?? Are they alright? Are they still battling for life after their close call with mind-numbing boredom?? :P
or God's sake, I don't even know which woman in the right mind would've dumped three kids on your lap.. Lol.. Maybe you have this 'motherly' aura all around you.. Hyuk Hyuk!
And as for a stand, that's not just limit to 'women'.. There are also species such as 'Abhay' who needs to rest his hand on a shoulder while he talks on the phone with his lady love, unmindful of the physical strain on my face.. :P

Wed Aug 09, 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Rama - Thanks da.. The pics were all from search results on google.. :D
I didn't wanna mention any particular drivers or experiences.. I'd just like to thank them all for their inspiration.. :P I might've included an acknowledgement but unfortunately, I don't know their names.. Lol..
& Yes.. I quit orkut.. Plainly coz it was being added to my list of mundane activities & I needed a change.. I get tired of the same old things very easily.. Probably reason enough to not work or be in a relationship ever! Lol..

@ Sowmiya - Thanks!! :) & not just for the appreciation.. I was hoping someone would comment point-wise like I did in the post, so thanks for that.. Now if I may, I'll deal with one point at a time.. Lol..

(1) I again assert myself.. I said 'HOT' chicks.. Please go through my entry when ur not under the influence of alcohol or a few days after some blind guy called you a hottie.. :P

(2) Good point you made about the heat.. Its not like there's no heat outside anyway.. & ummm.. The 'bus grave'/the thing under the gears, as you call it, is known as the 'ENGINE'.. & once again, Thank God a guy wrote this post!

(3) Hehe.. True.. Have you ever tried shouting from one end of the bus to another though? Its quite a challenge!

(4) When I meant bubble wrap, I didn't intend for the ugly women to be naked underneath.. Now seriously! There'd just be genocide in the bloody bus then! Lol.. & Yes.. I know how those perverts behave & I just know they are all SICK SICK Bastards! & if you ever need a bodyguard when u travel by a bus, just gimme a call.. :)

(5) Lovely fact that is.. Plus, you get so many added perks thrown in.. Like drunk men, perverts, annoying little kids and plenty of exercise for all parts of the body.. Let me hit u with another interesting fact.. When you WALK, its free!! Lol... Girls are luckier though.. They'd showcase their legs & hitch a ride.. :P

(6) I liked in particular the way you emphasized the 'WHEN'... Coz 'WHEN' is an ephemeral feeling you get to enjoy just seconds before the bus reaches its final destination!! Lol..

I like the counter-arguments.. :P
If there are any more, bring 'em on!
Touche! ;)


Wed Aug 09, 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger farustar said...

almost absol perfect account of travellin by buses...must mention d curious strangers too...suddenly you get asked a million questions that leave you wonderin "why me?",,,neva answer em...

and there are those comments you get from other women like nice dress or yer pretty!...makes you feel so eewww....

Wed Aug 09, 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Neha said...


hey this was too good!! wat a description.. and i think it fits not just chennai but every place in this country!!

too funny really... though i noe its not funny when u hv to travel in these buses... iv done it too.. phew!!

and hey.. welcome to blogspot :D:D me's been here for quite some time now..

Wed Aug 09, 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Farah - Hehe... Did I forget to mention somewhere that the wisest thing to do is NOT involve strangers in conversations inside the bus.. Maybe you just attract attention Fraa.. ;)
& God only know what kinda buses you take! Coz no woman has ever complimented my clothes or called me 'pretty'.. :(

@ Neha - Thanks... I don't have much insight into the kinda buses all over the country, but the buses down here take the cake! They're a real test of stamina, skill, strength apart from so many others.. I believe they're even being considered for the IronMan challenge.. Lol..
& glad ur here.. Spaces was kinda getting on my nerves.. & ummm.. I kinda stopped blogging there since May.. I think..
I'll only face a slew of abuses now if I head back there.. Not that I liked it.. The layout here is cool!!

Thu Aug 10, 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Ram said...

@ Arvind: The point sow made abt ppl shouting from one end of the bus to the other..... remindss me of one of our "dearest" friends - Sunit...!!! :P

How we longed to board a bus wit him....!!!! nd make him sit next to a drunk aayaa and hurl abuses in hindi....!!! lol....!!!

Thu Aug 10, 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous mehnaz said...

ackkk you sinfully sadistical person you...you made me recall a painful trauma...it was not a chennai but a cimbatore one..but i ams ure they are the same anyways 10-c the bus was and the woman was a loud obnoxious...to come to think of it they are all loud and obnoxious ugghhhh and they wore orange flowers yucky orange flowers on unwashed dirty brown hair and red teeth with tht horrible smelling thing they chew and they open it wider and they raise their hands to hold th bar and finitoooooo even chanel,christion dior or yves saint laurent in your hanky cannot save you from the penetrating smell of the armpits...ackkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
now since i shared tht delightful titbit with you i feel much better,,,:)
although i must admiot i am suuu happpy your getting your senseof humour back arvindy pindy ...you had as i recall lost it in tutankhamens tomb...when i challenged you to a duel with a pair of rather tired chicken wing...
anyhuu the college book..yep thts exaclt wht you would find in it..hyuck hycuk...flames gawwwwwwwwwd i forgot the game...your guide was muchos grande entertainment looking forward to your future guide books "how to get slapped and enjoy it in chennai" "how to avoid the loo in chennai" "how to climb trees and throw rotten manoges in chennai"
your ardent fan

Sun Aug 13, 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous mehnaz said...

oh and i hve to protest the rather tacky throw at my english its not bad hmph...!! i just write slower than my brain so my poor fingers cant cope up with the torrential attack of my intellectual words..hmph..to think i made you weal in enlgish..bahhhh

Sun Aug 13, 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger rini said...

hey thanks for visiting my blog..as for urs bravo bravo!!nice blog..i commented on the previous post..coz well it was a poem :) as for this one loved the 13th one. will keep visiting..cheers!

Mon Aug 14, 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Amiya said...

Haha, hilarious post!! Loved it, and to make a special mention, points 5 & 11 were phenomenal! :D

Hm, Chennai buses sound scarier than Delhi's public transport, and that is something. And since I'm convinced that nothing beats the Delhi auto wallahs, I should definitely check out that auto-kaaran post of yours. (Yup, I know tiny, mutilated bits of Tamil. Is that word even correct, though?!)

Tue Aug 15, 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Da Rodent said...

@arvind: Duh!!! I swear BOTH my hands were clutching to the bars on the top. Duh!

And., well.. I'm definitely NOT doing the 'she-x' hunting on PTC busses. Nope.. never. :D

Tue Aug 15, 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Mehnaz:
errr.. I'm still in awe of that nonsensical babble.. Are you still under the effect of 'X' which you might've tried a few months back?? & as for my other guide books.. I think I'm going to charge a small fee.. After all, it is going to help you right?? :D

Tue Aug 15, 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Rini - Thanks!! :)
I rarely get poetic.. & when I DO, it's more or less bearable.. Lol..
Thanks for dropping by & laeving a comment.. Do visit again..

@ Amiya - Thanks!! I was laughing hysterically while writing it too.. :P
& well well.. Congrats.. Your few mutilated words of tamil are far better than that some ppl I know who've lived all their life in Chennai.. Lol..
& I'll consider the auto-'kaaran' post alright.. It will be out shortly.. :P

Tue Aug 15, 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Joe - Yeah right...
I still don't believe you.. I'll bet you had a ball in Kodai..
Sigh.. I wonder how many she-X's ur going to be blogging about now..
I mean.. The cold, the beer, the loneliness in Kodai is all bound to get to you.. LMAO!!

Tue Aug 15, 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Da Rodent said...

@arvind: i sure had a ball in kodai :) No she-Xs at this trip :P Well., I was too busy with the bisons, leeches, slush and hills. :D and of course., whiskey and beer :P.

Tue Aug 15, 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Anki said...

u just saved me from writing a similar travel advisory for Delhi DTC buses! If it wasn't for our Public transport system, how else will Delhites and Chennai-ites(i dunno wat they r called) feel like they belong to a unified India and share a common culture.

Wed Sep 27, 10:10:00 PM  

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