This is how your semester shouldn’t begin!

Was supposed to be posted on 17/11/08… didnt get time to finish and edit until now .

College reopened today (unofficially). The official reopening day was 13th Thursday, but as we hardly had any classes, I decided to join only today.

Since last night Ma has been reminding me. “Get up early ok, its not like how you slept till 10 all these days.” How I hate waking up early , especially in winter its almost impossible . I dont have a choice, do I? By 7 I dragged myself out of the bed. God, please why can’t I have an extended vacation. I know I already had a 3 day extended vacation but still..

After playing another version of Ishan Avasti’s horrible mornings in TZP, I gulped down the hot-coffee, burnt my tongue and damn! my bag .Where did I dump it after exams? After fishing it out from the junk in my cup-board and Ma’s repeated ” When will you learn to keep your things properly?” I rushed out of home.

By 8 a.m I reached the bus-stop. I was running 20 minutes late. The bus-stop seemed crowded like never before. Waiting at the bus-stop is entertaining. Especially when it happens to be in front of the top-most private educational institutions in Bangalore. “Bade baap ke bigde aulaad” The antics these kids resort to in the name of money … Oh my!( Guess I’ll blog about it later)

Today, I was in no mood for entertainment. Everyone had a grim expression of Monday-morning blues written on their faces and the delayed buses did no good to people’s nerves. The crowd extended almost mid-way through the road. Several vehicles passed by and there was no sight of a bus. One bus zipped past without stopping. Time was 8.30 now. I couldn’t find a single unoccupied auto. I was sure to miss the first hour. Finally at 8.45 I managed to run behind a bus which stopped miles away from the bus-stop and pushed my way through the crowd into the bus.

I reached college by 9.20 and didn’t want spoil to Ms.AN’s mood with my late entry. So, I headed to the library instead. Well, that is a record of sorts. Usually, I never enter the library till the end of the semester when exams make it inevitable.The whole place was being cleaned up. I picked up a newspaper and settled down in a corner. That was when I discovered the reason for the reduction in number of buses. Old man and son had some rally in the city and BMTC had rented around 1000 buses for the people who came to take part in the rally. Damn our newspaper guy. He’s back but doesnt turn up before 10.

Public inconvenience for the sake of public nuisance. Little did I know there was much more in store.

I entered class during the second hour and that was Stats. The subject drives me crazy but the lecturer seemed to be annoyed too. She imagines problems and that meant calculations dealing with numbers that read like mobile numbers. I forgot to take the calculator. The lecturer showered me with reprimands for the same. Now isn’t it my fate that day, that I had to hear so much from a lecturer just for the sake of a calculator? C’mmon had it been some serious mistake I’d never have minded. But, forgetting a silly calculator didn’t deserve so much.

The next hour was AN’s again. I was praying to god, please let her not ask why I bunked… please at least let this hour pass without any casualties. Guess what happened! She was trapped in the lift. Luckily she had her phone with her or else god knows what would have happened in the 2 hour long power cut and the back-up system that never works. She managed to call up one of us and we managed to get help on time. Maybe, she was a bit too disturbed, she really didn’t care if I bunked or not. It was the first hour of the sem which passed without any mishaps.

Lunch hour and we headed to the canteen which seems to be the only sought after place in the college. A huge board was displayed with the increased rates. An aloo paratha which cost only 15 bucks was now priced 20. Inflation… everyone was discussing.. but just lass Friday, news flashed all over the channels that inflation moderated to 8. something percent. Ah whatever… Our FM and PM talk only non-sense these days.

Final two hours and the hangover of my siesta during vacations seemed to manifest itself on my heavy eyelids and the mouth which refused to stop yawning. A terribly boring micro class could be sleep-inducing. Struggling hard, messaging, playing games and almost exhausting the charge in my cell-phone, I sat in that class for 2 hours.

4 p.m I reached the bus-stop. I never get a direct bus for return so, I travel to Majestic and then back home. I got a bus to Majestic on time which was one of the few good things that happened to me today. The crowd at my platform in Majestic , from where I was supposed to changeover startled me. How am I gonna get back home today for heaven’s sake?

I waited for almost an hour, watching the varied human forms and their characteristics in a crowd. Observing people in such crowds is my favorite passtime. The movements, the actions, the quirks, observing people for an hour gives you an idea as to what kinda person he/she is. (Now puh-leeze dont say I’m being judgemental without you being judgemental ok?)

My legs were aching… why on earth did I wear those shoes, thanks to the floater’s straps that were bitten and torn by our neighbour’s dog. I hate that creature.grrr

Finally a bus arrived. I knew the crowd would turn wild to enter that bus. Well, to pass on a little secret, always try sneaking through the sides. You get lucky most of the times. At least I do :). I resorted to my age-old tactic and nudged the girl in front of me. Sorry, in such a situation you can’t expect me to be all nice and miss.goody two shoes. She extended her hand to hold the bar at the door and block me when I put my foot on the first step. I had lifted my other leg and this chic had no intentions of moving her hand. Come what may, I just pushed her hand away and the funky bracelet scraped through my neck. It hardly hurt compared to the joy on finding an empty seat. The girl sat next to me and muttered,”Ivalde okke ahankaram” Oh yeah baby…

People were still scrambling to get in when I heard a loud shout. A middle-aged woman was shouting,”How dare you push me like that.I’ll complain to the police wait and watch” She was shouting at a lady who was very old and was being pushed by the unruly crowd. This was one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve heard in recent times ( ignore the press statements and aaj tak news) The oldlady couldn’t even stand properly. It was not only me who was having a bad day! A young chap got up from his seat and offerred it to the old lady.

Half-way through, the bus slowed down and remained static for half an hour or so. I was wondering … don’t tell me this was all happening coz of that rally. My uncle called and asked me about my whereabouts. He said it’d be better if I walked back home, because the traffic ahead in our area was stuck for almost 5 hours and there was no chance the bus would move that side. I spoke to him in Malayalam and heard the girl let out a gasp. She threw a dirty look at me and I threw daggers at her. In a game of survival shit happens and I was not in the best of my moods that day.

I rose from my seat and the girl wouldn’t budge. I said, ” excuse me” in a meanly-polite 😉 manner. She pretended as if she didn’t hear. “Please onnu kaal maattuo” I raised my voice. Sensing danger, that I may wring her neck next, the girl obliged. That’s when I noticed her record book which indicated the name of her college. Oh God! No wonder… I had already learnt to put up with this species in 3 years. Can’t really blame her for that attitude.

I alighted, said all the prayers I could remember and managed to cross the busy junction where vehicles seemed to come from all directions. The rally participants and their buses added on to the chaos. Vehicles unsure whether to take a left-turn or a right-turn or a U-turn were all making a traffic kichdi. You could never predict in which direction a vehicle would start moving.

I crossed the stretch with a gang of girls and slowly the intensity and intentions of Old man and his son’s doings started unfurling.

Two air-hostesses and a steward were walking down the footpath as their cab was completely stuck and there was no way they would get to the airport on time. The airport was at least 35 kms away. There were many people walking along the stretch and you know… how during crisis strangers turn into acquaintances. The cabin crew were on their way to the airport and had no clue how were they going to get there. I wanted to enquire ‘ what’s the point in walking this distance’ but I preferred to keep my questions to myself. The footpath in front of IISc which is otherwise clean, was reeking of pee. Paper-plates with chicken bones and leftover biriyani were strewn all over the place and on the roads which made it difficult to walk. The traffic was still at this point and you could easily walk through the middle of the road. The men who had come to attend the rally to extend their support were loitering all over the place and ogling at the air-hostesses in front of me. Controlling their temper and frustration, they walked on. Soon, I had to take a turn and bade them good-bye. That’s when I heard someone shout” Excuse me, how long will it take”? A kid in a DPS school bus which was stuck in the traffic was asking me. I was in front of a traffic police station where policemen were not visible anywhere in the vicinity. I said it’ll at least take 20 minutes more as I didn’t want the child to despair. Little did I know these kids were stuck there from 2 p.m. and it was almost 6.30 p.m now.

I continued walking, skipping and hopping my way through paper plates, shit, pee, beetle juice and men. The bloody shoe was hurting my feet. Parents of the kids stuck in the school buses had come down and were taking their children back but they didn’t know how to head back. All routes were blocked and there was no choice but to wait. “I think K.S is venting his frustration on his defeat” One of the parents complained.

I walked and walked, feeling extremely sorry for the schoolchildren. 45 minutes later I dragged my feet home, nearly 1/16th of the speed with which I rushed out in the morning. Flung my shoes across the room and Ma understood my frustration. Finally, I was home. A journey that usually takes just 20 minutes max now took 2 and half hours.

Had a hot bath and sipping a hot cup of coffee I stood in the balcony of our house which is on the first floor. There was no sign of movement. The road could only be seen in traces. One of the kids in a school bus parked in front of our house spotted me and screamed, ” how long will it take”. My mom said they were stuck since 2 p.m. Poor kids apart from a never-so-likeable-monday in school had to go through this torture! I have no idea how many times I sweared at the Old man and son that day. In the whole stretch which is laden with trees, buses were parked in the shade and drivers were missing. There was no way to trace them when the convention was being held 5 kms away in Place Grounds.

As I sit down to type this post, the time is 10 p.m and the traffic has started moving slowly. Yet, the movement happens hardly for a few minutes and the stationary vehicles and blaring horns continue. My head is throbbing and I am drained of my last bit of energy. Its just sheer frustration that I’m blogging about this. My eyes are burning and I guess I should get some sleep.

Can’t stop without this,”Dear old man and son, you might have conducted this rally to show your strength and the support extended to you by the people this state, but you have earned the wrath of many Bangaloreans. Our politicians never learn. Traffic policemen were nowhere to be seen( maybe they were busy monitoring your main venue) or rather didn’t know how to handle this situation! School-kids left stranded in buses for hours together, worried parents, people who missed their flights, people who had to walk long-distances, people who were stuck in the middle of the roads in despair… people like you make democracy a mockery! The so-called supporters came for the free ragi-muddhe and biriyani. Given a chance the same people would attend your rivals’ rally too. But, what choice do we citizens have other than to grumble about it?” its you or some other crook every other day.

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5 responses to “This is how your semester shouldn’t begin!

  • Hari

    Awesome narrative! Couldn't help reading it twice. 🙂 Wish I could write a day's happenings in such a way…

    The old man & his son must be flogged to death!! Such traffic jams happen in B'lore? Gawd!! I had no idea.

    I love Trivandrum!! 🙂

  • The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം

    You are turning to be a killer these days!!!

  • Dhanya

    I also heard about the blocks. Luckily didn’t get stuck that day..
    But somehow the first part of ur blog was very nostalgic. It took me back to my college days.. Thank you 🙂

  • jj

    @Hari
    Thanks 🙂
    A traffic jam of this magnitude was unprecedented coz no prior arrangements were made that day except for few parking regulations. Guess, the authorities didnt give much seriousness to it coz it was the opposition.

    I miss Trivandrum 😦

    @ Jose
    Yeah Right,, the serial-killer would know better 😛

    @Dhanya
    :). Your college days were ‘jinxed’ like mine?? ;).

  • The Layman

    Whatay post!!!!!
    hats off to your narrative!!!

    I continued walking, skipping and hopping my way through paper plates, shit, pee, beetle juice and men.
    My my
    😀

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