Public transport is the cheapest and has therefore, always been popular with the masses. The rise in the number of commuters has led to overcrowding in buses on busy routes. A journey in an overcrowded bus can be a harrowing experience, as I recently found out to my great dismay. It was the rush hour with people returning from their offices or places of work, I somehow managed to push and jostle my way into the bus inside, people were packed like sardines and the searing heat made the atmosphere unbearable. Twice the number of the people seated on the benches was standing wherever they could. Their hands were firmly holding the long steel rod or some other thing for support. It was difficult to move, to stretch one’s limbs or to take out money from the pocket to buy the ticket.
But the conductor seemed to be an expert and sold tickets by moving through the crowd with amazing agility and skill. All were badly perspiring, children were crying inconsolably and women were shouting loudly. Even in this suffocating atmosphere a few passengers couldn’t resist smoking. One child vomited right on his seat. Somebody’s toes were trodden upon and he began to utter curses. Noisy arguments began to be heard in all comers, but the jam-packed bus didn’t allow the people to come to blows. A few pockets were picked but, ironically, the pickpocket was unable to get down and was caught almost immediately. It was a miracle that the passengers were managing to get down at their respective stops, but more passengers were getting into the bus at each stop. I missed my stop and when I finally got down, I heaved a sigh of relief.