Put your feet down firmly and push them with all your strength. Dig your elbow down and squeeze them to a side. No, we are not bracing you up for a Game of Thrones battle; we are just giving you tips to find your way inside a public bus. That is, if you don’t fancy hanging from the footboard, flaunting your non-existent martial arts skills.
Bus rides in Hyderabad are not just about four wheels and 40 commuters. They are also about 400 stories. “I travel to and from office by bus, often during peak hours. The rush is unbearable and I often footboard with the guys. You should see the look on the face of the aunties inside the bus,” says Harini Shibaraya, resident of Yousufguda. According to her, regular commuters gradually bond and become friends. “Once there was this drunkard in the bus who tried to misbehave with me, and these same aunties who used to give me weird looks came to my rescue. They pulled me towards them, asked the conductor to stop the bus and made sure the drunkard was kicked out,” she adds.
Khadeeja Amena, an alumni of the University of Hyderabad, remembers how settling in the city was easier only because of her co-passengers. “I had newly moved to the city with my bunch of friends then. One day, as I had to get groceries, I asked a co-passenger if there were any bazars around. She patiently explained to me where to find the best vegetables at the cheapest price, and soon others too joined in and gave me tips,” she says.
But Shailendra Purankar, a techie and another regular passenger, feels the bonding happens only with women. “Men rarely pass a smile while I see women talk and become friends. Men and women rarely bond with each other. It’s very partial in a way,” he laughs.