You are very special. Never in news, never known to people except for those who deal with you on a daily basis. Not as much known as the drivers. You do a pretty mundane job, thats what most people think.
Just generally collecting money and handing out tickets.going ‘tick tick tick’ with that ticket puncher and going ‘ting ting ting’ with that bell to tell the driver to go ahead. No rocket science involved. But honestly, you have an admirer in me. and let me tell you why.
You deal with millions of different kind of folks. Folks who curse you, who dont give you change, give you Rs.500 note for Rs.5 fare citing they have no change, folks who scold you for not attending to them directly and folks who refuse to move ahead despite you pleading them so that other passengers can enter from the back.
I really admire the way you deal with each of them. Of course, some of you are rude right back, but in my 6 years of travel with you, I dont think I have come across more than 5 of you who have been rude. 99% of you are extremely polite, extremely patient and extremely nice.
I can understand your frustration working in a crowded heated bus with no space to even punch out the tickets. Giving out change early in the morning just as you start your work, or carrying that 2 kg change filled bag and trying to find space so that you can scoop out that Re 1 coin to be given back as change. ITs better now na, earlier that 50 paise coins were driving you crazy na!
And then there are weird passengers who blame you for not stopping a bus even if its so crowded that there is no place even to stand!
And then there are passengers who dont even buy the ticket and then blame you saying that you didnt ask them when the checker comes to check if everyone has bought the tickets.
There are some passengers who refuse to show you their pass despite of you asking them, and there are some passengers who want the senior citizen benefits but refuse to show their id cards to you when you ask for them.
You have to be extremely careful with lady passengers ensuring you dont touch them, and you have to be extremely careful that the male passengers dont touch the ladies. I have seen one of you asking a male passenger to get down when a female complained to you, you handled him so effectively I was impressed.
Midst all the crowd and the horrible heat/rain you also do duty in unearthly timings like 4 in the morning. You have to guide the driver at every stop, remembering to ring the bell, once people get in, plead people to move forward, keep collecting money and dispensing tickets, and also support the driver come what may under any circumstances. You guys actually lead a busy life na?
Unfortunately, you are not praised for any of your duties. No one seems to appreciate the fact that you stand for over 8 hours a day in the bus, dispensing tickets, carrying the load of heavy change in your shoulders, accounting for every penny literally, and yet have to be polite to folks who can be rude to you, have to ensure kids get off at designated stops, you meet people like me who ask you to tell them when their stop comes and you remember to do that as well. Some of you remember that R and I travel for Rs. 11 everyday, you give us a bright good morning and a super bye when we leave. You even take out time to exchange a few words with us at times.
I really admire you folks. No one may have told you this earlier, but I think you guys are totally superb.
Thank you for being there for Bombay
Always a fan
One Trivia – Conductors in Bombay are often addressed as ‘Master’ Does anyone know why?