Saving you a seat

The home-office transit time in Mumbai, when I was working, was a full hour door-to-door. The company provided shuttle buses, with the standard three-seat two-seat combination. Unfortunately, like most "non"-luxury buses, the seat for three actually had space for two (and a half, if you insist); and the two-seater was best suited for one person. This made the commute kind of, shall we say, 'stuffy'. I know what you're thinking: "If you want to get yourself to the office on a Volvo bus, dude, you're in the wrong job!". I knew that, even then (yeah, imagine the genius). But my roommate and I devised some strategies to ensure that we retained our three-seater to the two of us for as long as possible. Yes, the same Mr. Q, of Dubai fame. So if you are one of those lonely souls traveling to your office on the company bus in Mumbai every day, and want to catch up your uninterrupted beauty nap early in the morning, read on... this one is for you!

Initially, we used to hope up that if we stuck together at the window and left the third seat open, some hot female would come and sit beside us. It turned out that the said hot females usually moved in packs and never really wanted to sit beside us. All our eager staring at the door through which people were boarding ended up attracting some middle-aged dude. And even if a female sat beside you, you had to be extra careful to not lean towards her too much and to make sure that you gave her enough space to sit, ergo you had to squeeze yourself in. And at early morning 8-9, the politest chit-chat that could happen with the female was a hi-hello, at best "howz work - the usual" exchange. Hence, forget the females... we decided that we were better off sleeping at that time!

So the first rule we discovered was to not stare at the door of the bus. No matter who was boarding, always stare away and avert their gaze. Usually, keeping a gaze on the window worked. Second, keep talking between yourselves about something random, and don't pay heed to people passing you on the aisle. It might seem like a stupid idea compared to pretending to be asleep, but trust me, it is better. Actually, we tried pretending to be asleep some times, but if a person comes up and wakes you up because he wants the third seat, you don't really have a choice but to scoot over. But if you keep talking, people tend to hesitate in disturbing you. And the topic of the conversation is equally important -- if you discuss about cricket some guy will definitely chip in and want to share the seat to "discuss" things further. But we actually brought this one down to an art -- as soon as people started boarding the bus, the two of us would start discussing the lamp post or the signboard outside with extreme interest. How the color has changed, how that guy on the roadside is too desperate to cross the road in the traffic, etc. Remember, the subject must always be outside the bus. Fourth, place yourself well. If you are near the front of the bus, the latecomers will inevitably sit beside you. Too far back and the adventurous ones will show up. You have to pick the 3rd or 4th row from the back, just avoiding the seat over the tires. Finally, remember, there is always an empty seat behind you in the bus which they can go to, you don't have to make room. If they stand beside your seat politely expecting you to move, don't! Get those lazybones to take ten more steps to go to that seat at the back of the bus!

One lady, however, had perfected this art. One day we were a little late and the bus was kinda full. The lady was at the window seat of a three-seater, and she had her bag beside her. I said, "Hi.. can you please take that bag up?". And in response, we got one of the ugliest looks we've ever seen, like we had just given her a mating call. I swear, the two of us roomies exchanged glances before we sat down there.. mostly because there wasn't any other seat available.

But doing this had some advantages as well -- you can become the knight in shining armour! Our buses back from the office used to be an hour apart. One evening this lady came running to our bus just as it was leaving and the conductor had a look at the people seated and said, sorry, you can take the next bus. She almost accepted her fate and was getting down when the two of us waved our hands and said, "Hey, there is a seat here!". Said hot female came and sat beside us after a thank you and a grateful smile! :D

Comments

  1. It is always amazing to look at it from a guy's perspective. That was a fun read.

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  2. This kind of reflects my late friday evening strategy on board a southwest airlines flight...The goal - 3 seats, 1 person (me) and blisfull sleep after take off!

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  3. Oops...forgot to leave my name on last one and didn't want to incur your wrath.

    Sky

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  4. hi

    I dont travel my a company bus though i wish i do since I have to navigate through the NCR traffic during peak hours.

    Your strategies are really cool!!!

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  5. Good one.
    Some of the different, desi-ized strategies have been tried elsewhere too. Will share sometime. From a woman's perspective...
    But this was one spicy read.

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  6. Hahaha.. you spoke my mind..

    Adding to the list: The person occupying the window seat will tan during summer and wet during rains; so I never occupy the window seat and instead take the aisle seat since I've been commuting by the same road for the past 2+ yrs and nothing so good outside the window :P

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  7. hah, never traveled in an office bus but brought back memories of engineering college buses. We traveled 37 km and you catch up on all the lost sleep. And imagine a route that is usually over capacity, when it is given an airbus that cannot seat almost 1/4th of the crowd! Heaven for those that get a place, hell for others!

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  8. Mala, :) thanks, and welcome to the guys' world.

    Sky, oh yes... definitely try the nasty look and tell me how it went.

    Pinku, hey long time no see! Thanks... but you must encourage your company to start the ride!

    Mampi, thankoo... and will definitely look forward to your post!

    Manasa, oh awesome! But I prefer the window seat nonetheless.

    Animikh, wow... long long time no see! Yeah... the good ol' days :)

    Gradwolf, 37 km standing?! Well, I have travelled them myself, but I know -- not such an enticing prospect.

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  9. lol, this was funny!!

    i always had to sit next to some guy with girlfriend problems!especially when i was SINGLE and looking!!! that or an old lady who wanted to know EVERYTHING about me.

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  10. wonderful...
    As an intern (and without any females whatsoever) the bus rides did get kinda monotonous. Not to mention the regular, often fat, employees trying to hog the space of the two seaters with a you-dont-belong-here look.

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  11. Grafx, hahahhaha... wonder what stories you had to tell the old lady. Maybe you should have practised your flirting with such guys :P

    Neeraj, hahahhaa... yeah I know what you mean. Welcome to the blog, BTW. :)

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  12. good one. when i travelled by the office bus, we girls would take up all the good seats and spread our bags and stuff around so no guy would even venture near. the guys ALWAYS kept away. thankfully there was more than enough space.

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  13. Nice one.. It reminded me of our daily commute in TCS office buses back in Calcutta :)

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  14. Anumita, heh... why did I already know this? :D

    Tanwistha, yep, I'm sure you gave enough nasty stares to enough people :)

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