I know this really is a sensitive issue to many. But I could not stop thinking about it from a week now. And I cannot stop myself from writing about it.
I have written posts raving about BMTC’s good service and great initiatives. I really appreciate what they have done to make Bangalore mobile. But recently my experiences with BMTC volvo’s have been becoming unpleasant and sometimes painful as well.Depending on the time of the day and rush in the bus , they decide to stop or ignore people , whether those people stand on designated bustops or they just wave them to stop.
Unlike earlier times now they dont have printed tickets with source and destination printed at most times. This allows them to ask whavever money they want. When you argue , they argue but don’t buzz. But last week something happened which really made me feel sad.
I got into the bus from silk board and the ticket was cut from BTM layout. I could see that since it was a printed ticket , for a change. I had payed the conductor, obviously whatever I have been paying everyday , fully knowing that I have been paying extra , but not having any proof of the same. And then I saw the ticket which said “BTM Layout” in the from. I asked the conductor why he has cut the ticket from BTM layout , in hindi. I told him that this is not BTM layout , its silkboard. Please give a ticket from silk board. He said , “itna hi ticket hoga , correct hai”. I said I will complain. And he said jao complain karo. Then ,suddenly the conductor forgot all the hindi he knew and started talking in kannada. With whatever time I have spent in Bangalore , I do understand a bit of it with context. However I cannot speak a word. So I told him , this is silkboard, the bus was still standing there. And he again spoke a full sentence in kannada. No one in a full bus cared to speak a word. I then told him , that I dont know kannada and please speak in hindi. And again I got a reply in kannada. So I said , just tell me its silkboard or not. Why are you talking in a language that you know , I do not understand.Meanwhile the bus started moving. And he replies , I dont know hindi, if you people cannot learn kannada you can leave. Again , no one spoke in the bus.
How insensitive have we become. These guys charge extra from outsiders just because we don’t know the language. My maid (non-karnataka) complains of this problem every now and then. And if we protest , we are asked to leave. Can someone explain why ? India is still one country and secular by constitution. We are not outsiders , just that we speak a different language. we have come to this city to earn. But we spend what we earn here. We generate economy and jobs. If all the outsiders in Bangalore boycott BMTC , will these volvo’s be in profit. Will that conductor has his job. We will sure suffer , but so will they.
Every relationship in this world is about give and take. Even the food chain. Its easy to blame others for what you don’t have. But have you ever thought why you have what you have. If all the high paid IT professionals from other states leave this city , does that mean that IT companies will employ auto wallas and bus conductors on that job ? If the answer is yes , I understand. If its a NO , then why do they hate us so much.
When I came to Bangalore 7 years back , I felt that people here are generally polite. In 7 years this city has changed many folds and so have the people. In the city where people used to say sorry and move on after a crash on the road , now they hit each other for no reason. The other day a man was beaten in front of so many people just because he asked the taxi driver , why he was rushing around. Another day , while I was expecting full term , I was crossing the road on a red light. Suddenly a taxi driver honked and I shivered. And he laughed. Can you imagine, he fould it pleasant and funny to scare a full term pregnant female ?
I don’t say that such things happen only in Bangalore. My brother experienced similiar stuff in Pune.
It feels sad. But I have hope. I have hope when I go to the park down stairs. When I see kids playing. They have resolved to English. Because English is not yours or mine. They never ask each other where are you from. They may see their moms/ dads standing in groups and talking in native languages but they don’t care.
They respect that some people don’t eat fish and some don’t eat chicken. They play holi and celebrate diwali. They make rangoli on Ugadi and also on new year. I have hope that some day we will be one , some day no one will ask “where are you from” and “what language you speak” question. Some day we will accept each other the way we are.