It was close to 7 PM as I got down from the bus at Nagarbhavi circle. This was much later than usual. I love it when it is close to 6:15 or 6:45, when there are options that take me directly to a bus stop close to home. Taking 2 buses after a long day at work followed by a long commute is not an option I look forward to.
I climbed up to the bus stop to take a seat. The 2 dogs there were friendly and restless. A woman walked by, with a bag and the dogs got excited, wagging their tails vigorously. She reached into the bag and came up with 2 plastic bags and laid them out, one for each canine. One of them set about with gusto while the other tasted it, didn’t seem too impressed and let it be to try out later.
Nagarbhavi circle is not one of the most talked about places in Bangalore and definitely not something that’s there on any map barring the Google one. All it can boast of is one bus stop, in one direction, while BMTC forgot to install something in the other, making people walk a good 100m to reach this when doing a transit.
At any point in time you have people waiting in droves, but never like Banashankari or even University quarters. Buses come crowded or empty and depart the same, the balance is always maintained – the same number get in who get out. An equal number seem to start a journey or end it here and there are many like me who transit. Buses are frequent, almost once every minute ensuring that no faces become familiar over time. Some end there, most end up at AIT, some go towards Kengeri(left on ORR) and a few turn right at ORR which I usually wait for. People are different, the IT crowd heading home after a weary day, and the normal workers heading to the more rural areas near Kengeri.
But then, there are always two kinds of people waiting at the bus stop which is the same as the two kinds of people waiting at any bus stop, or walking on any street in Bangalore (the footpaths went extinct a long time back) – those who spit and those who don’t. It has always amazed me how people have so much to spit all the time. Some tell me it’s the paan or Gutka they chew all the time. But for some I guess they just have to spit, just like those who have to smoke. This usually results in the evenings seeing a bunch of people standing at the stop, some looking at the direction their bus would come from, others just going “thoo, thoo……thoo, thoo”. The bus stop turns into a playground for hit the spittoon with no spittoon to save the rest of the crowd from the disgust – a disgusting “spit-fest”.
The mornings are different. The paans have not yet been chewed, which reduces the spitting crowd to those with a cold, and the ground only shows frequent spots of dried spits, turning the stop into a “spit-field”. The stop is filled with auto drivers and students. Rides are offered for ‘College’ (Ambedkar Instt of Tech) for as low as Rs 5 per person (of course, you have to wait for him to fill it up or pay by meter), students wait for the BMTC bus to AIT, usually accompanied by vigilant fathers in case of girls. Then there is the IT crowd waiting for the 500K, the sole Volvo which takes a different direction after that stop. BMWs and other small cars jostle for space, honking away as kids are dropped off to be picked up by school buses. Everything about the stop screams out the start of a brand new day and the restart of the grind! Some days you get to see people like the poor vendor on a cycle feeding a crowd of street dogs with a pack of biscuits, seriously scolding those which can’t wait their turn.
The traffic flows, but then the police decided to install signal lights which usually causes a long pile up towards Chandra Layout, especially in the evenings. The cops then accumulate in droves managing traffic wearing their stress on their sleeves, sometimes swooping down on the enterprising biker who wants to flaunt his mane, with the helmet dangling by the handle bar.
Like every place in Bangalore, it faces it’s own pangs of growth and grapples with issues that plague or define every other part of the city. In the meanwhile, the bus comes, sometimes on time, sometimes early, sometimes late as BMTC buses always do and I get on, to start a brand new day or end another weary one.