tales from the bus: the casually cool conductor.

back story:

a few years ago, i published a post about riding the bus in bangalore. it was both cathartic for me as well as entertaining for my friends. after years of riding around the city with the bmtc, i have seen my fair share of funny sights, asshole riders, and ridiculous shenanigans. so today i decided that rather than writing one long post about my bus riding adventures, i would just write a short little something every time i had something to share. and thus launches ‘tales from the bus’. i hope you enjoy it.

today’s story:

i have long waged a war against men on the bus in regards to the ladies’ seats at the front. there are clearly marked signs in both kannada and english that say things like ‘ladies’, ‘elderly ladies’, and ‘physically challenged’ – and are accompanied by pictures of ladies – but for many men on the bus, these rules do not apply to them. back when i was working at the boys’ home, i would shout at such men and get them to get out of the ladies’ seats and go to the back of the bus on a weekly basis. many women won’t stand up for themselves in such circumstances, so the men take advantage. technically it is part of the conductor’s role to deal with such situations, but often they do not intervene until someone – usually me – asks them to.

until today, that is.

during my ride from majestic to adugodi, the bus was quite crowded, more so by men than by women. all the ladies’ seats were taken, so i found a spot near the front to stand and put down my backpack, but the back of the bus was packed full and many of the standing men were overflowing into the front half of the bus.

about 5 minutes after we left majestic, i noticed that the number of men around me was dwindling, even though i hadn’t seen any of them get off the bus. when i began paying more attention, i saw that the conductor was calmly and quietly making all of the men move back toward the rear of the bus. i was floored. i had seen shouting matches and i had seen conductors refuse to help me make men move out of ladies’ seats, but never before had i seen such a calm and smooth process.

it was pretty amazing. all of my former interns out in the world will know exactly why i was so impressed.


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