“The Charm of Chennai.”   14 comments

The city has its own intricate but hidden charms. You just need to discover it !

The city has its own intricate but hidden charms. You just need to discover it !

Every city has its own culture; something unique of which its citizens are proud. I recently experienced a so-far unmentioned and uncelebrated aspect of Chennai’s “culture”…

Boarding a packed MTC bus can be quite a task. After finding a foothold, I was welcomed aboard with stares conveying displeasure. I wondered how to reach the conductor for a ticket since we were separated by a sea of humanity. Time was slipping away and my heart skipped a beat each time someone mentioned the word “CHECKING” and “FINE” within my earshot.

Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was a frail lady. With a smile revealing her tobacco-stained teeth, she gestured to hand her the money, which I did reluctantly. After asking for my destination, she turned around searching for someone amid the clamour. It dawned upon me that she was at the business end of things when the rupee note started its journey from the magnanimous lady to a school boy, a working woman, an old man, two college students and a constable eventually ending with the conductor; changing hands at a constant pace from one passenger to another. Barring the exchange of destination, nothing slipped from their mouths.

The ticket reached me the same way. The exact change in coins and the ticket was handed over by the old lady and I didn’t try to hide my gratitude. I later realised that many such patterns were being created by different parties through the length and breadth of the bus.

This “open for all” process should be hailed for its effectiveness and trust since it has saved many from the blushes and the latest being a helpless Keralite: me!

The last time I tried the same in “God’s Own Country”, I parted with a Rs. 50 note and overheard someone whispering “he must be a fool”. That’s when I truly missed Chennai!


14 responses to ““The Charm of Chennai.”

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  1. Indeed Every City has its own Charm…Even in Bangalore the Scene you mentioned is common and everyone is reluctantly ready to help in that matter.. 🙂


    • I ve been to bangalore once but know nothing about the Gov. Bus services there. Would love to come back again. But, Trust me , it didnt work for me in kerala. (Im not drawing conclusions here)


      • Hahaha..I haven’t been to Kerala so no idea and in Chennai I didn’t try the trick but yes in Bangalore I have done that many a times…. 🙂
        And since I have travelled in Govt. Buses in Mumbai,Chennai,Delhi and Bangalore..I rate Bangalore Govt.Buses above all.. 🙂


  2. So much of honesty! we still have hope you see. 🙂


  3. Pingback: Tangy Tuesday Picks - Creative posts written by Bloggers in India

  4. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging 🙂


  5. Often, when we are pushed to the corner or we see others being pushed to the corner, we find innovative ways to survive. Different cities react to crisis in a different way. If this was a European city, they would have figured out some way to make the ticketing system more efficient.

    Destination Infinity


    • Hi there,

      Indians normally dont consider the above as crisis ! Because if we cried over these then our eyes would be left dry when it comes to far greater problems. The fact is – India is a survival society. We are the world’s second most populous country. We have fleets of buses and our transportation systems are doing a good job. (This includes ticketing too). But, Every bus is packed to the brim during peak hours. You have two choices – Board it or leave it ! Nobody complaints !
      Another fact is that inside an indian bus you can see the microcosm of indian languages and culture. so the thumb rule is to clearly convey the destination and passing on the rupee note !
      And no matter how efficient they try to make the system, since the economy is growing and people are coming out to work in large numbers , they will increasingly use public transport. So as a rule – there will be discontent !! Nevertheless, the authorities will be on the lookout for innovations !! I wont be wrong if i claim that majority of indians Survive !!

      Europe is beautiful. We looked up to europe for our constitution !! And we appreciate your efforts in improving political theories !!

      Thanks a lot for visiting the blog and thanks again for your comment ! Come again !


  6. Yes we all have gone through this chain in different cities at different times. I travel by bus by choice in USA. of course Buses are not crowded, sometimes you and the operator are the only passenger(s).I remember a section officer boarding a crowded DTU (DTC) everyday and would get out everyday without buying a ticket.He was caught once and was asked to pay a penalty of Rs.100/-.I asked for his reaction. He said I am still good, otherwise I have to spend Rs.120/- every month on buying a ticket. This penalty comes once in 3 months.Yes this also a survival in India ofcourse.


  7. Your post brought a smile on my face. I have been to Chennai and loved the city. Congrats on T.T.P.


  8. May be it would work with a 10 rupee note 😀 But I wonder if anyone here would bother to pass what they get; may be there was a shocked expression when you tried the same in Kerala? 🙂

    I remember some of the workers from other states trying the same; may be the practice will work with more of them here!


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