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Travel Tales

05 Dec '23
4 min read


Contrary to the comforts of travel in an auto to work , in my later years , the initial years were a mixed bag , the start , a walk down the stairs in a new city , thanks to my generous maternal family who let me stay with them . Bangalore to Mumbai was a huge transformation . Bangalore , thirty years ago was quieter , and relaxed , an exact opposite of fast paced Maya Nagari Mumbai , where I was fortunate to get a posting just two floors  below my maternal grandfather' s home . Yet travel , I did, on the local trains  when away over the weekend  at aunt' s or cousin' s homes .

It took  me a while to learn the nuances of the entry and exit in the local trains of Mumbai . The jostling to get in and get out was a challenge , sometimes all I had to do was stand , the crowd , around pushed me in or out as required ! The stomping of feet when  one of the busy stations arrived , was heart pounding initially , then  the immunity grew . The wonder , too at how people grab more than forty winks without missing their destinations , was replaced by sheer mimicry of grabbing the winks myself and not missing the right station to get off . The swaying train most certainly lullingbits passengers to a well deserved nap .

Getting to Bangalore after 6 years at Maya Nagari , travelling , by bus to work seemed so different from the travel by bus in Mumbai . In Mumbai , I got accustomed to standing near the exit door a stop before mine arrived, for fear of not being able to get off before the conductor sounded the bell for the bus to move  , in Bangalore I had the bus  conductor ask me what's the hurry , the contrasts were stark, here the conductor waiting for quite a while before calling out " right" for the driver to know he can start moving  .

My brother learning to ride the scooter found great practice sessions in dropping me off to office before we moved to a place from where bus was the only affordable mode of transport to office .

I had one bus very early to reach office well ahead of time , the next would get me late , the frequency of the buses not very convenient  . My brother dropped me off at the bus stop , a few minutes late one day , I saw the bus moving away in a matter of seconds before I could reach  , tears welling up my eyes that the next  one would get me late to office  . 
My brother asked me to get onto the scooter chased the bus and stopped across the bus  at the next stop , letting the driver  have no choice but  to wait . When I got home in the evening , my lil brother was laughing over the incident , amused that his sister cries over a missed bus.

There were days when a colleague of mine and I travelled by mini buses to a certain point , the mini buses living up to the name , I had to stand with my neck bent, a place to sit was almost an impossible dream  . Getting off at the  destination ,  I most certainly walked like our forefathers from the  neanderthal age !

Getting into the bus and occupying the window seat was another challenge , missing it would mean the crowd , leaning against you , the quiet morning ride broken by cacophony of girls chatter , sometimes jarring on the nerves .

Certain days on the way back home , saw us waiting at the bus stop craning our necks , knowing the wait was for nearly an hour , trying to decipher  the make of the bus from afar from the way it looked . Those days when mobiles didn't occupy our brains and  we found joy in guessing the make of the buses that passed by . Simple days ....seem so distant now .

Life has been a travel tale , agonising at times , funny at others , struggle at times , a walkover at others , interesting at times , routine and run of the mill at others , yet , good enough to give me something to write about three decades later .



Category : Personal Experience


Written by Poornima Nalkoor