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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Of Dreams Desires and Delhi

So many things I have not done in life rather failed to do in life..list is long .. dancing ,driving I guess tops the list. What,s with this D word.. I wonder. This city of D..one cannot survive here without sitting beneath the wheel and without shaking a leg..and I have hopelessly failed in both D,s many times. The office I work in is generous enough and most of the girls and guys working here and even the fresh ones have a car and.. how much I whine and howl..most of them drive. I have somehow managed to take free rides and be the ' passive partner' for car pooling all these years. In fact I have even offered my husband,s old Maruti 800 to the guys to drive and though they cursed and sweared under their breath while driving in the blazing afternoon ( of course the car had and still has an AC !!) .. they did drive home our car. Now that I am back after my one year hiatus..and there is actually no one to take me along to office!!! So putting up a brave front... I set course for duty by public transport. Public transport in this city of D...with the airport Metro closing down options are too less and sometimes too bad. First hurdle.. hurdle number one.. I don,t know since when I began to feel shy about using public transport..when I reached bus stop for the first morning duty.. only people  I could identify was one of the cleaning ladies in office ..and another man equivalent to her rank.. na , na... I am not being sarkari casteist... Group D and all.. I was plain happy to see them ..after so many days .. what I have to do is just follow them.. where to get down and where to catch the next bus..
As flurry of cars zoom into the office gate..I sneak in through the little side gate for pedestrians.. shyness creeps in again..and me being an old stuff now..most of the older stuff do not fail to remark.. ' Madam aap bus se..' as I paste the smile in my face without replying and several retorts stumble inside. some more generous comments... ' Arey yeh sab to hum logo ke liye.. aap jaise ofsar..'  Yes yes I am supposed to have a car and drive that too..and I can,t .. and that is that.
So coming back to public transport ..first day i boarded the bus to office..first thing which felt so Delhi like was the voice of  Lata Mangeshkar.. ' Ajeeb daastan hain yeh'..the melody pouring in though from a worn out pair of speakers and I realised this was something I missed back there in Shillong..familiar radio stations and familiar music from familiar voices. But then public transport in this city specially in this sweltering heat is nowhere near being just about adequate..let alone be fun. Nearest to fun being a ride in the ladies compartment of Delhi Metro. Just looking at the chics you know what you have missed out..whether coloured flip flops or stilettos, capris or hot pants, kurtis or tunics, sleek bags or colourful jholas, bright nail paints or nude ones, latest fashion statements.. and at once you realise lot to catch up on fashion front..and if you wonder from exactly where to begin..take a look at these chics closely..and dont forget to keep your ears open...' Agla station ... Doors will open to the left..please mind the gap.'  We don,t mind really, the AC and the comfort..the traffic less , red light less ride..but closing down of the Airport Metro leaves no option..but newspapers tells me Government has given 3 month time for the problems to be fixed..
Newspapers also told me there,s a dearth of buses for the commuters in Delhi.. only I didn,t need newspapers telling me that.. most of the days after sweating, puffing in the sultry weather..waiting more than 30 minutes.. i,m bargaining with the autowalahs and dishing out 100 rupee note to reach office and that too no auto would drive to our office, I have to catch bus from a  point.Since the new airport emerged out of the barren lands.. our office stands sidelined from the main airport and hence all public ransport deserted it. Shift timings changed too..upto 8;30 in the evening from earlier 7:30..but who complains.. all car owners and an extra day off to compensate for.
But at least some buses run in that road.. allowing me to sneak in unnoticed .. carless..careless.. trying to be a true citizen taking pride in our public transport system..yes credit goes to my (un)driving skills but I am waiting to join the bandwagon get a car and drive... till then..the road , autos, buses and me...