…and using public transport, and in Bangalore. That’s the equation. My three weeks of pre-joining vacation were spent figuring out how to solve it and involved extensive use of google maps and bmtc’s own website. The result of this was that I came up with one bus route(500KC, a Volvo) which would go from my place all the way to my work place and left at 8 in the morning and there was only one bus per day. Surely something that leaves at 8 in the morning can’t really take that long.
To do a trial run, well almost a trial run, I landed at the bus stop at 8 in the morning to observe buses. After 15 minutes of not seeing a single red coloured Volvo bus I saw 2 hurrying along. They said 333T and 600KC, the former going to ITPL via Majestic and the other to electronic city via silk board. Both going disconcertingly close but not quite there. After waiting till 8:20 AM I returned home believing that my magic bus 500KC was no longer in service and had been canceled and most likely BMTC did not care to remove it from their website. That seemed pretty plausible. With that background, here is how the week unfolded…
I reached the bus stop at 8:00 AM. I knew there was no 500KC and would have to take 600KC and get down midway and switch. I waited till 8:25. A couple of 333Ts had gone by at 8AM itself. No 600KC came by. And then I saw the magic bus actually going in the opposite direction: 500KC. I decided to wait for it and let the 600KC go which was followed by another 333T. 500KC came along finally at 8:40. I asked the conductor how long it would take the bus to reach my destination. He said probably by 10 AM. That was very heartening. The bus sped along gamely and made it to Jayanagar, close to Jayadeva by 9:45 AM. Something told me it wasn’t going to make it by 10. I informed the HR that I won’t be able to make it by the reporting time of 10 AM.
Then came BTM layout. The traffic was now a sea of vehicles jostling for space and moving slowly inch by inch, not giving or taking an inch. Then came a huge signal where vehicles stretched out like an ocean into the horizon. It was almost like in a mass exodus from a major disaster. The bus stood there in the signal. And stood. And stood. After what seemed like an eternity when it was actually just over 5 minutes the signal showed green and the whole sea of vehicles honked at once, trying to find an escape from the heat, the pollution, the noise, the wait and everything else that was wrong with their lives forcing them into that signal on a Monday morning through the honk of the horn. The bus lurched along before being stopped by another bus which decided to stop right in front to accommodate someone getting in/out and conversing with the driver without realising that at least a few 1000s would feel unbridled ecstasy seeing his head chopped off at that instant. The honks said as much. The bus finally moved after the driver of mine almost sat on his horn letting out a huge long wail for the way. The next signal unfortunately caught us and made us wait for a few more minutes before relief was found and we saw ourselves caught in another slow funeral procession of vehicles making their way through BTM layout.
I resigned myself to being late and sat there wondering if the vehicle would ever pick up any speed to get me where I had to go. Suddenly Hosur road was seen and on crossing it, the traffic miraculously cleared out. The driver seemed to enjoy it as he sped through the road honking at anyone who dared to get in his way. I was almost egging him on and cursing anyone who had caused him to slow down. This seemed good and I figured I might reach by 10:15 at least.
But then came a flyover. Flyovers are supposed to be good, no? Well this one would be, when it gets completed, God knows when! My cousin told me it was to be finished by Dec 2010, but the pillars just stood there waiting for something to cover them up. All kinds of trucks were moving with mud and other construction material trying to get out and in. It was a vicious circle – the construction trucks holding up traffic which was holding the trucks up. Eventually the traffic would grow and stifle construction more which would be delayed further causing more pain to the traffic flow!! Times we live in..
After passing through that the vehicle picked up speed. I saw the other campus of my company and figured I should be there soon. Wrong. There was another flyover to be negotiated. Again, under construction. This one in a much earlier stage of it.
And then, finally I reached the bus stop at 10:40 AM. Close to 3 hours since I left home. I reached my workplace at 11 AM after having to look around for it. I wondered what could’ve been the case if the bus had been punctual.
Having not much to do on the first day, I left early. As early as 4:30. On getting out to the ring road I saw a bus going to Vijayanagar and got into it. by 5:45 the bus was at Mysore road and I was home at 6:15 PM. Pretty good I felt. So that was my first day. Considering that I travelled by an air-conditioned Volvo, with none of the crazy jumps at humps, it was a comfortable journey to my work place with the waiting not really getting to my head. So that was one thing that I figured was good. The next day I knew I had to change the plan a bit.
Rest of the days…to be continued.