I did something today after nearly a decade,purely out of necessity.It happened in this fashion.I was walking briskly towards the bus stop when I heard the dreaded "ting ting" and saw my regular bus starting to pull away.As luck would have it, I was at the other side of the road.The heat had become intolerable again and I was in no mood to wait for the next bus.I quickly crossed the road ,started running along with the bus and in quick time was in, safe and sound.This however does not give a true description of what actually happened.
Bus jumping is an art form practiced by the youth here since the eighties.The first step in this is of course that you have to be eighteen or at least look that age.Nowadays I see even school kids practicing this art with much fervour so I take it that the age limit has been relaxed.The second step is to travel on the steps.Ahh,this is a very delicate matter and calls for astute observation and impeccable timing.One should get in the bus so that one cannot move farther in because of the crowd but at the same time one should not hang out on the first step.A couple of rides in this fashion and then one can practice getting down before the bus completely stops.At first of course ,one jumps down just a second before the bus stops.Again one has to take into account the speed of the bus,vehicles,pedestrians,cows,etc before the jump.The next step is the real hanging where four ,five even eight men will be hanging out with just some part of their body in the bus.The highest level of this is the "kunjuviral adavu",roughly translated as "small finger move" where believe it or not,the commuter travels with just the small finger of one of his legs inside the bus.
Now to bus jumping proper.I will take today's case as an example.I ran full speed alongside the bus .Once the door was reached(well lets call it an opening ,there's no door as such) the right hand has to get hold one of the iron rods on either side for climbing in.Simultaneously, I had to judge the height of the bus steps from the ground and the speed of the bus.Yes the height is important coz some buses may be missing a few steps.Today I couldn't get hold of the rod in time(the position was different) and so got on board the bus a couple of seconds late...nothing wrong with that except you land in the bus panting and people tend to gawk at you as if you were a madman.(which they do anyways)
Of course its been quite a while and my fitness is not that great these days.I've had only one scary experience ,and that was when, years ago, I tried to board a bus which didn't stop at the bus stop.I ran furiously with it ,got hold of the horizontal railings at the window and...vacuum...I couldn't find the damned foot board to place my legs.So there I was suspended in mid air clinging to the rusty bars of a bus gaining speed all the time, a la Indiana Jones.After an eternity my leaden feet found ground and I stumbled abroad.I tell you each and every face in that bus(except the driver) was looking at me as if i was....yes, a madman.Luckily the conductor didn't say anything .Just ticked and handed me my ticket..Well that sums up one of my innumerable wild rides...