29 Rabi ul Awwal 1425

The way I climb (clamber?) upon a bus is a bit of a marvel and a daily miracle. A throng of educated office goes gathers near the location where a buses door will present itself at not so frequent intervals. As soon as a bus stops slows down to a reasonable speed there is an organic push from the crowd towards the open orifice. This push will enable a large number of lucky gentlemen onto the bus and a small number of unlucky gentlemen in other more unpromising situations. The basic tactic is to grab a hold of any one of the main metallic railings attached to the door area so you cannot be shaken off by the violent bus driving and to get a firm foot hold on any of the metallic platforms so you dont have a dangle around on your hands.

On the bus I realize a few things daily. Why can't people behave themselves? Why can't they leave their chair in the bus for the women or elderly? Why can't people have the basic decency to put their hands on their mouths when they cough? Why can't people learn not to pick their nose in public? Why can't people just behave in public and specially on buses? Why can people not discuss with each other how music is the satan's work when I am singing or bobbing my head to my walkman?

While all this, and a lot of shouting by a lot of people, is going on around me. I try to read a book. Usually something with exceptionally large print to cater to all the jerks bestowed upon our ride by Pakistans wonderfully smooth roads and the impeccable road manners and driving skills of its citizens. Apart from that it is also easy to read for the three to four people trying to read it behind your back (if somehow by a sudden failure of the laws of physics regarding mass and volume more people could fit in this number would increase to the highest possible value attainable).

Getting off a bus is usually another enterprise of skill, dexterity, animal passion and depth of voice. You have to stand besides the door for a speedy exit (there are no other kinds of exits possible without dying in the process). Then you have to tell the conductor to stop at your designated stop. Then since the conductor will not tell the driver about this you will have to shout at the top of your lungs and thump the back door as hard as you can to get the attention of the bus driver. It is always better if you make yourself seem violent. That will stop them faster. And again stopping is not stopping. It is a mere slowing down. With formally dressed men jumping onto the roads (out of the sky and into the date tree kind of analogy should be envisioned here) from moving vehicles.

Ah the wonders of public transport that are the bussing system of Karachi.


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