The life of a bus conductor is not quite easy. He has to get up early. He has to report himself for duty at an early hour. The whole day he has to be on the move, going from the starting place to the place he is bound for according to the route on which his bus is plying. He has a small bag containing coins of various denomination and a bundle of tickets of varying prices from 50 paise onwards. He meets passengers of all types. Sometimes, he has to deal with loafers and pickpockets, bent on mischief. He has to be alert at all hours of his duty and seldom does he get time to sit idle except when he is off duty.
Satish, my neighbour is a bus-conductor. He reaches the shed at 6 o’clock. The driver is already there. His bus operates from Anand Parbat to the Red fort. He takes his bus to Anand Parbat first and takes passengers from there. Thus begins his first trip.
The air is quite cool at the early hour. The driver drives the bus fast as he finds the bus stops practically deserted. Satish has an easy time in this trip. He sits down on the last seat and relaxes. He knows that his leisure is only short-lived. On his next trip there are crowds of school-going children with bright faces and satchels slung on their shoulders. Most of them have season tickets. So Satish has not to bother himself about issuing tickets. Here and there are passengers who need tickets and it does not take him long to issue tickets to them.
The return trip from the Redfort is quite crowded. It is the office-time and the rush at its peak. The bus stops are always full with passengers eagerly waiting for the bus. He takes in as many as can be accommodated, and then whistles for the bus to start. Those who are left behind curse him. Satish is all the time very busy in issuing tickets. Some passengers are clever enough to evade him in spite of his vigilance and get down unnoticed. Sometimes, Satish catches them. They make excuses and buy the tickets. Satish is particularly very hard on such fellows. It does not mean that he is very honest himself. Sometimes, he intentionally avoids issuing tickets. When the passengers get down, he charges them money and does not issue tickets in return.
The next trip to the Red Fort proves to be an ordeal for Satish. There are heated arguments with the passengers. Some even threaten him. The rush abnormally heavy. Passengers push their way through in spite of the whistle.
The rush continues unabated till it is 11 o’clock. On each trip he has to face angry crowds. The same story is repeated at each bus-stop. Satish however, does not lose his patience. At noon Satish has some respite. He wipes off his perspiration and heaves a sigh of relief. After a couple of trips on each side, Satish’s duty is over. He hands over the tickets and the cash at his depot cash counter at 2 P.M. and goes home.
He is now free for the rest of the day. After a few hours’ rest he goes out in the evening for a stroll. How he wishes the passengers to develop queue sense! If this is done, he can have an easy time.