Friday, August 28, 2015

We're celebrating onam. You better fend for yourself!

After lunch and siesta, it's time for me to kick off for Ernakulam to be in time for Priya's wedding tomorrow at a church near Pala.

Accordingly, around 1630h soon after tea, I was off to the private bus stand. Soon after, the bus for Ernakulam was brought out of the bay and parked at the take off point with the guy emphasising that its departure time was 1730h. Because of the oppressive heat, a few of the passengers kept waiting out in the bus shelter while I was one among the few who decided to clamour in despite the discomfort and thank god, I did, because at 5, a guy in civvies and who appeared to be the 'kili' or the cleaner, got into the driver's seat and drove away. He was driving crazily and was rude to many of the passengers who asked as to why he'd begun the journey much before the announced time but he didn't care even to answer. At Chavakkad, the designated driver and the conductor had replaced the guy and we continued with the journey. Was left mulling over three doubts which were:-

    (a) What gave him the freedom to drive the vehicle and play with our lives with his rash driving,
          he being an accomplished driver, notwithstanding!
    (b) How does the owner endorse the boarding of the bus by the driver and the conductor from the
    (c) What about those poor passengers stranded at the starting point who were smug with the fact
          that the vehicle would start only at 1730h?

Soon, these doubts were forgotten as the bus hurtled towards its destination and around 2000h, I'd
gotten off at the Vyttila bus stand. The situation was another strange one out there. The guy at the pre-paid autorickshaw counter advised me to catch a connecting city service private bus to go to my final destination and for it, I'd to walk across to the main road outside the 'hub', almost a km away!
The hub was created with a lot of fanfare, connecting the various RTC services along with the city bus and water transport services intended to help passengers on a long haul to choose their modes of transportation - in a harmonious, seamless mode without hassles - to help them reach their destinations!

But, today was onam and everything had gone for a toss! Most of the autorickshaws were off the road and the ones that were, chose their passengers on two counts:-

       (a) the fare they quoted had to be complied with, there was no question of complaining about
            the unrealistic figures and
       (b) your destination had to suit them or else, they just scooted off without even giving you a


I was lucky in that I was able to get a city service bus and Timothios' rick on disembarkation! Shall repeat my statement that I made exactly a year earlier, "We're Malayalees and we're celebrating onam. Everything comes to a standstill. You'd better fend for yourself!"   

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