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Standing Ovation for a Bus Driver

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Have you ever given a standing ovation to a bus driver?

    The question may seem strange. Bus drivers normally are not the types who deserve a standing ovation. They are the guys who swear at anyone trying to overtake them and cast aspersions on their relationship with their mothers and sisters in colourful language.Occasionally they are also guys who lean out of the driver's seat to send tob tobaacco juice squirting from their mouths to hit unsuspecting passers-by with an accurate aim that would put Abhinav Bindra and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the grip of a green-eyed monster called jealousy..

    Standing ovations are usually reserved for tour de force musical, theatrical performances or even orations by politicians (The last one mostly initiated by the toadies of top netas and followed sheeplike by rest of the audience). Bus drivers don't give tour de force performances. Yet one of them did. and got a standing ovation. It was a grand performance in driving.

    It had happened few years ago when we had gone to Ooty on vacation.. It was mid October and we ignored warnings by friends who said it was the wrong time as we would face the full fury of the northeast monsoon in the hills. We shrugged off people speculating on the possibility of us getting marooned in a landslide and worse getting caught under one.

    There were few drizzles and nothing really serious until then. And on a day when the sky was 100% clear and the Sun didn't look like a veiled lady, the resort where we were staying organised a trip to the nearby Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary.

    The weather was pleasant and about 20 something vacationers reached the sanctuary unhindered. The area was a Project Tiger sanctuary and we hoped to catch sight of Our Striped Friends.

    The van provided by the sanctuary was making a real racket, groaning and grunting all the time in an apparent protest against travelling in a jungle terrain. Tiger? The wild animals we saw were hardly wild . A couple of buffaloes showed their backsides to us. And the only elephants we saw were domesticated ones whose USP was performing puja to Lord Ganesha and breaking coconuts. But to be fair, the kind of racket our vehicle was making would have sent any self-respecting wildlife into hiding not only in Mudimalai but the nearby Bandipore sanctuary in Karnataka as well.

    \\The only dramatic incident was one of the monkeys that pester the visitor for eats (favourite snack, peanuts) getting into a rage after my thoughtless daughter lured one near her pretending to have something to eat and showed it her empty hand. . The growling simian that was quickly getting into a battle mode had to be shooed of by a whole bunch of its homo sapiens cousins.

    But our return to Ooty was marked by enough drama and suspense to compensate for the dull trip to Mudumalai.

    The sky was clear in the plains but once our vehicle started ascending the hills, rumbles were heard from the sky as dark clouds gathered. The driver speeded up a bit so that we were not caught in a downpour. but his efforts were in vain.

    It began as a drizzile and quickly became a torrent. On the one side were hills and on the other an abyss and one wrong step we would all be in the news next day.. And the hilly roads tend to be slippery.

    To complicate matters the downpour was accompanied by a thick fog, probably a phenomenon found only in hills and the visibility was near zero. My daughter and some terrified kids started crying. Some one was calling for divine help. And a lady sitting in the seat in front of us was chanting under her breath , most certainly a prayer.

    There were sharp turns galore and one wrong step by the driver, I wouldn't have written this.

    .And how tactless people can get!. One passenger remarked that on the same road a bus fell down the hill killing about 40 passengers just a couple of weeks before. The prayers stopped, chantings halted and everyone was giving a murderous look to that guy. It was as if a lynch mob was at a nascent stage among us.

    Luckily before anything untoward could happen to my foolish fellow vacationer, we saw the lights of our resort as the vehicle swept past the gates.

    As soon as it halted, everyone stood up spontaneously and clapped. It was as if a star was born that day..
     
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  2. ganges

    ganges Gold IL'ite

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    Dear friend,
    Beautiful writing. We felt as if we were there with you that time. The dark clouds, lighting, thunder , fog, faded valleys , sharp bends, the co passengers, their tension etc etc . We salute the driver for his brave effort. Deffinitely they are god if they feel the responsibility of the passengers life. And this particular driver deserved the standing ovation.


    ganges
     
  3. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    hi Balajee,

    an awesome narration of your trip.:thumbsup .OHHH and i could especially relate to the para re the wild animals or lack of it that made me LOL.
    and the tactless people who know of the exact time and place to tell you a frightening story hahhah.
    yes, the bus driver did deserve a standing ovation.
    my mother has a similar story to tell re her trip to kedarnath (or bhadrinath i am not sure ).she came back praising the bus driver :) for having saved all their lives.
     
  4. iyerviji

    iyerviji Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Balajee

    The bus driver really needs a standing ovation as he saved so many people.

    viji
     
  5. Tubelight

    Tubelight Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi
    So true that Bus Drivers are not the most favoured candidates for receiving ovation of any kind, standing or sitting. At least I have never applauded any of that ilk. But actually, if we spare a thought to their routine work, we can see what a taxing responsibility they shoulder everytime they start the engine ; having to deliver some 50+ lives safely to destination point.Huge responsibility ! Whether they growl or grimace, most of the times they deliver. Certainly not a S.O worthy feat, but at least deserving of a small, quick thanks ? (Naah, I've never done that either !)

    I know that road in that freaky weather. Boy, so scary,yes. And unfailingly, there's a Mr.Excitement supplying the darndest statistics to the least appreciative audience. Such people need a standing thrashing.
    I can well imagine the immense relief that induced that well earned Standing Ovation. God bless him.

    Too bad the wildlife safari turned out wildly disappointing. High time those rattler vans were replaced with volvos. I heard Bandipur ( contiguous with Mudumalai Range) is trying out hybrid buggies which are both noiseless and non polluting. But, gimme the Elephant rides anyday ! Even if only a single langur is sighted, the ride still leaves one with a satisfactory "jungle safari"experience.

    Enjoyed reading.:thumbsup
     
  6. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balaji,

    Hilarious as usual, buffalo's showing their back sides to u eh ! But hats off to the driver, to drive in those conditions, and he could not stop there midway on the road, for another bus could hit it, and there was lots of fog as u said.

    You must have been so releived, and we are glad u lived to tell this tale, and many others, which regale us so much.

    Regards

    kamal
     
  7. radsahana

    radsahana Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Balajee,

    Thrilling write up. Enjoyed reading it.

    I am the one, who really feels bus driver are lot under appreciated. I used to stay in pune. Sometime i have travelled in bus, and i have seen them driving. It is so difficult for them to put instant break, when one freaky bikers, just overtake him in a jiffy, one four wheeler, was in a hurry who just brush pasts him.

    Also the old machine, with no A/C, so much noisy, so much sweat and dusts, which makes sometime to keep their cool. Ofcourse nowadays there are new buses coming up in India, like singapores public transport.

    Also i realised when i started driving the car, how much difficult it is to put sudden break if someone cooly crossing the road, and also if someone trying to cut in a wrong way.

    Way things are going in wild life sanctuarys, the days are near, when one have to see the wax moulds of animals which used to inhabits those sanctuarys.
     
  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    I am sure that was an exciting trip. At times, such incidents though seem hazardous at the time will remain etched in our memories forever. I don't think you will forget this one ever.

    I do agree that most bus drivers in India are to be viewed with trepidation! In Europe, people are very empathizing and you experience it often that everyone clap and appreciate the driver's skills at the end of a road trip. As a matter of fact, on several internal flights, passangers clap appreciatively when the plane makes a smooth touch down! I was surprised when I experienced this the first time and later, got used to it and ofcourse, joined the gang:)

    L, Kamla
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Ganges, GOD is the right word since they have power of life and death over us!
     
  10. susri

    susri Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Balaji,

    Nice to read about your Ooty trip. It would be really a good adventurous. Glad, you got a very good driver, who deserve standing ovation. And you all reached safely. :)

    We should apprehend the risk taken by the drivers. They are quite responsible. I use to appreciate the drivers especially if I am arranging for a private one. This good habit, I got from my father.

    But are the public transport drivers really responsible ? Are they doing their duty properly ?........ [​IMG]
     

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