Friday, November 12, 2010

Journey worth remembering

Caution: This is the longest post I have ever written!!

I travel quite often from Hyderabad to Bangalore, mostly on weekends. These journeys are generally mundane. But last time I had enough of experiences in just one time, which has negated all my boring yet comfortable journeys.

I usually take late night bus on Fridays so as to get some time for my packing and stuff after my office hours. So as usual I booked for 9.45 bus. This was the weekend before Diwali so I didn’t get tickets in any other bus but in the worst bus service ever (which obviously I got to know later)

So here it goes… It was all fine till I got my tickets delivered to me in afternoon on the day of my journey. It all started with me getting late for my bus. I left my office by 6 in evening. And God knows why I thought I have all time in this world to do my packing, meet my friends and then catch my bus on time! So after office I went to meet my friends and obviously I got late. It was past 9 and I was still looking for an auto (for which I almost walked 1 km!). At last I got the auto and reached the boarding point by exactly 9.45 pm. Quite relaxed I was to see fellow passengers waiting for the bus.

Till 10.15 I was waiting for my bus to arrive. Only bus which came and picked almost all the passengers was a Volvo one. I had the ticket of non-ac coach so I didn’t even bothered going near the bus. After some time, I got little worried so when a bus for Mumbai came, I went and asked the conductor about my bus. And to my greatest shock, he informed me that the bus has already left!! We were supposed to get into the Volvo bus it seems.

After hearing this I reacted in the most usual way I could- that is screaming at the man in front of me. “How on earth will I know that you people have changed the buses?” was my reaction and asked him to arrange for something then and there. So he called up the person in Bangalore bus and asked them to stop wherever they were. The Mumbai bus dropped me at a particular point and I boarded my Bangalore bus.

Bus was full and I couldn’t see my seat number anywhere. So I screamed again – first for making changes and not informing passengers (me in particular!). So embarrassed (or may be scared of my screaming) he was that he asked me to take any of the seats. I went and sat next to a girl who later told me that she is going to Chennai! What!!- was the only word I could utter. I gradually got to know that in my bus there were passengers for Vijaywada, Chennai and Bangalore- all in the same bus! And we were supposed to get down and catch another one after some time! As if this was not enough she told me all the strange things she has heard about that particular bus service.

To confirm this, I called my friend who also said the same thing and was quite shocked that I took this bus and didn’t even bother consulting anyone. My friend even suggested me to stay awake as much as I can as there are chances of losing my luggage too!! In the meantime bus stopped and we were asked to go to respective buses, which was also quite chaotic. By the time I got onto my bus going to Bangalore it was almost 12 in night.

With all this information overload and strange experiences, I was trying to relax and then suddenly a fight broke up between passengers and the conductor. The number of passengers surpassed the number of seats. So as expected there was a huge fight. At last a group of friends decided to get down form the bus and take another mode of transport (lucky they were to do that).

By 2 it was all calm in the bus with just one annoying factor- one person sleeping just next to my feet! All this didn’t end here…my bus also got 5 hours late. Instead of reaching at 8 in morning, I reached at 1 in afternoon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kids or media –which one would you prefer?

When it comes to handling, I would definitely prefer the later. Why?
Here I am managing media at an event. Event is one of the largest kids’ competitions, with over 80,000 students. Media is yet to arrive so I don’t have anything but to observe these children, most of whom have grown too old for their age. Or may be it is the generation gap which has made me believe so (God I feel old).

One girl, expert in seducing tricks from such a young age (will definitely be helpful in near future). She stopped the guy, asked for help and gave a close-up smile- perfect!! And here is this guy, totally smitten by her CHARM (probably, he is imagining himself as one of those heroes of Karan Johar movies), more than eager to help her. So he gave her his bottle of Horlicks with all sincerity. Yes, this was the help. She asked him for Horlicks! (I guess, in spite of their efforts and almost perfect copying, they still need to grow up).

Second scene is of two ladies, most probably teachers, empathizing with children - “bacche on the spot kya think karenge”. They forgot the competition is all about thinking on the “spot” though!

Total contrast to these over empathetic teachers, is another zombie one- kids came to inform that they scored 3rd position in singing competition and she very interestingly said- Hmm!!

Sitting and observing is not the only thing you do at an event like this. You are also supposed to entertain all kinds of questions (these are small kids, how can you be rude to them is the reaction you will attract otherwise). What is media? What is press release? Why are you carrying it with you? Can I see the folders? Can I take one? Can I take one more for my mother? These are just few, you are bombarded with many of the same kind.

There are also few “older guys”- 14-16 years old- dying to grow old. These are the “confident ones” who come in style and stand in front of you. And then ask whether you are on facebook or not, pretending to be very casual and as if the best thing in this world is to be on “FACEBOOK”.

And this is not the even the end, the list goes on…but in spite of all these, their innocence, their smile, their curiosity to know about you and your work is worth all the trouble.
Hmm…I might reconsider my first choice now…