Friday, September 7, 2007

Troubled waters

Voice from an elven realm: I am all over his blog...(laughs)

Another embellishment. Another trophy. Another day soon enough?

And I took the long route...

I took the bus for a long route, after a long time. I remember making my way through the BEST and the EMU and then again the BEST to school. By the time I was in the 3rd grade, Ma preferred me going to the school by public transport and struck my name off the school bus list.

Yesterday I took the BEST again. I was travelling to work from Versova to Worli. I took the empty bus and found myself by an empty window with a not-so-empty mind. This mode of transport has been long since obliterated from my rules books. Apprehensive and a bit daft, I tried to find my voice when the ticket conductor threw a questioning glance at me. The empty bus rolled out of Yari Road Bus Depot and I was by now pretty pleased of my rationale which worked this way.

"Everyday I do three modes of transport to reach work, and that takes me approximately an hour's time door-to-door not ignoring the lag time in watching people pounce on my cabbie, and plunge into the local trains and yet again pounce on rickshaws. I have seen people beg and bow with hands joined in sincere earnestness towards the rickshaw driver/ cabbie to take them into the joyride to their respective dogmatick heavens. I am but a silent spectator over the sheep trying to be orderly in this chaos. I just sight the nearest traffick cop stand and speak a little local slang to impress them and that takes care of me getting a cab or a rickshaw without all the customary haggling - All this and more in one hours time, between home and office.

However with the new gameplan, I would take only a single mode of transport – BEST. Throw in half an hour more of road travel, I would be succoured of all the pains of changing vehicles and all the gymnasticks behind it. So there I was in the bus, book in hand, and the throb of the engine underneath my seat, chugging towards my place of work. (BESTs actually chug!)”

I passed the Versova fishing village, Yari road sea front, then Versova Road Seaside, then the route was pretty boring after that, not worth mentioning. I am tired of describing the route and the mechanism of a great masterminded move. Sorry to break the non-existent momentum, however when I passed through the scourges of sea facing shanties and the people around, unlike Shantaram who found them smiling and happy – for me this was the underbelly of Mumbai. Crime, murk, garbage, naked kids with rickets, gold laden fisherfolk, in general people living in their own shit and who don’t give a shit to anything. There is this place when the bus turned towards called “Khar Danda” which I had seen on signboards but had no clue of. Now this place was more evil than what I had gone through the task of a journey till now. Khar Danda had all the above mentioned iniquities coupled with more weather beaten gruesome-looking seamen laden with more gold all over their ears, and neck and hands and shanks. Even the sea here, reminded me of the abominable shoreline footage from “The Ring”. Scraggy and rugged full of rocks, the view changed into an approaching Carter Road and Jogger’s Park. There was an absolute metamorphosis of ambience within a span of a couple of meters. There were machines cleaning mud off the road, municipal sweepers trimming and hacking the ornamental hedges for the divider. ‘No speeding’ signboards further claimed that this zone is prone to the urbane vanities of super-adrenaline-driven-road-blazer. There were homes neat and lavish in view opposite to the mangrove lines and though the place still smelt of dead fish, there were adolescents and adults trying to be at their adolescent-best flaunting assets of their own layered upon with the world’s best designer labels. By now I was absolutely unconvinced by the starkness of the pictures which were a few meters back. I don’t want to get into chauvinistic talks of rich and the poor, the haves and the haven’ts.

I am just dazed by the rude contrasts of urban life.
The bus took me 3 hours to reach work, a stipulated 2 hours overboard of my masterminded move towards commuting comfort.