Taking a cue from Kamath, I'm trying out public transport these days. The experience so far is pretty decent. The commute takes a little longer. It takes about one hour now in either direction, but it's stress free. No more getting bugged with signals that take an eternity to change, two wheelers cutting across dangerously or autos poking their wheels to jam your way.
It did take some time to get used to it. The boards have destinations written in Kannada only. Even though I can read a little bit of Kannada, I still couldn't read the boards fast enough. I have to use context to figure out most words. For example, on the day Veerappan was shot, a Kannada paper's headline read Veerappan something. Context didn't help me get the word since I was told later that the headline was "Veerappan Phinish". Even if I do manage to read the destination I still wouldn't have a clue if the bus to Mangammanpalya, Attibele or Chandapura goes through Sarjapur road. But most passengers are helpful if you ask them. On the first day I waited for about half an hour at the the wrong bus stop till someone finally told me that buses that stop there only go towards ShivajiNagar and Airport. By the third day I had the routes and the stops figured out. I still have to ask when I see unfamiliar numbers.
Most of the time I've been lucky, getting a bus right till the quarters. On some days I have to walk a bit, but that's good. With a daily pass for 25 rupees, you can hop on to any bus. From HSR it takes one hop to the new Shanti Nagar depot and another from there to Richmond road. The bus depot is well organized, with separate lanes for buses on different routes. So I know that all buses in a particular lane will go up to Koramangala, after which I can switch again if required. Kamath tells me that when the roads are badly jammed you can walk across the jammed intersection and hop on to another bus.
On some days the bus ride is pretty entertaining. One day, the opposite seat had a man trying hard to get a few winks of sleep. Next to him was his nemesis, a guy chattering on his mobile. The groggy chap would occasionally raise his eyelids with supreme effort and reply to some of the motormouth's questions on the phone. None of this seemed to affect mobile addict though. Yesterday there was an altercation between two people that went into a tight loop with each one asking the other, "Neenu Yaru?" (Who're YOU?). When one bystander tried to resolve the deadlock, he was in turn asked "Neenu Yaru?" (Who're YOU to intercede?). It all ended with neither of them getting an answer when one of them had to get down at his stop. I wish my phone had an FM tuner for the not so interesting days.
Let's see how long this new found enthusiasm to reduce the traffic density in Bengaluru lasts.