Wednesday, 3 June 2015

This Seat is Reserved - Five ways to grab seats in a public bus

In India, public transport is cheap as it is want to be and there is a lot of public to use this transportation as is evident from the population of this country. There is always a mad rush to get into these buses, especially by people who travel to other cities to work. Added to this force are irregulars who just want to go to the other city. The resulting crowd goes so berserk at the site of a us that the people are pushed aside, pushed, pulled, shoved and crammed into a vehicle 10 years past its decommissioning date.

Almost... there... aaahhh...
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So we Indians, as usual, have a jugaad for this not-getting-seat problem too. Our ingenuity truly is visible only in such times of desperation. Here are things people do to get a seat on public transport:

The Bag Throwers

People going to work tend to carry bags but people here sometimes carry bags just to throw them through the windows into empty seats. These people then take their own time climbing into the bus since they’ve assured their seat on it. They will then ascend as the bus starts to move, push past the other bewildered and mumbling passengers to pick up their bag and enjoy the seat they reserved not by being first in the queue but first to an empty window seat.

It looks so innocent... just lying there
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The Handkerchief People

Now that you know about the ‘Baggies’, we now move on to the ‘Hankies’. These people are too lazy to carry a bag so they use what is essentially a necessary product for everyday life – a handkerchief – to reserve their seats. The technique is the same as above but instead of big and marginally heavy bags; they use a piece of cotton cloth that passes as a ticket in public transport. And, it is completely valid as long s the conductor doesn’t interfere.

The ‘Taken’ Neighbours

No, these are not people whom Liam Neeson has saved from foreign gangsters. These are people who ask other to reserve their seats for them if they manage to climb up before them. The regular travellers develop a kind of bonding that happens when you spend a lot of time smelling each other’s armpits and borrowing newspapers to read on the commute. This, in turn helps them save places for each other so they can discuss which character did what horrible thing to another character on some television show.

Sorry, Occupado!
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The Regulars

As mentioned earlier, the people who commute are the majority on these buses and over time, they sort of start respecting each other’s places like what usually happens in school or college. But even then, there is always some smartass newbie who thinks he/she can sit wherever they want. These people are scorned and the seats reclaimed even if that person get up to adjust their bag in the overhead holding deck. And the others, they just nod their approval in sadistic satisfaction.

Get off my seat... NOW!
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The Legitimates

Well, these people don’t bother with the rush and the long lines and the pushing and shoving; they already have a ticket. For those who don’t know, people in public transport buses can buy tickets before or after climbing into buses. The ‘Legitimates’ are the only group of people who seem to have mastered the art of being wholly cool and buying their ticket at the counter. They stand round, saunter in and take their place reserved with an ‘X’. If there is an unreserved passenger sitting there, they will be reprimanded for their transgression with the show of a ticket. Fights often erupt because of their cocky nature.

Yeah, that's right. Yes, I do have a ticket.
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