Thursday, October 25, 2007

Conversations in the Bus

Me: Does this bus go to Sadarghat?
Conductor: Get in, get in, sir! And you over there sir, get in! And you back there, too. Emptybus, emptybus! Everyone can have a seat. Get in get in!
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Conductor to old woman: Can I have your fare?
Old woman offers 2 Taka.
Conductor: Where are you going?
Woman: Gulistan
Conductor: That's 4 taka from here.
Woman: No, it is 2 Taka. You did not even stop at the right place. I
had to run to catch the bus.
Conductor: 4 Taka please.
Woman, after a pause: I don't have it.
Conductor, incredulous: You don't have it?
Woman: No, I don't.
Conductor: Oh, why didn't you say so in the first place instead of all your big talk. You could have just said you don't have any more money.
Leaves the woman alone after the insult.
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Conductor: Your fare!
Man reading newspaper: Why are you yelling?
Conductor: I have been asking - where is the fare?
Man: Hey, don't you know how to behave? Why can't you ask politely?
Conductor: I have asked many times - your fare.
Man: Here! And don't bother me again.
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A man gets in, but all the seats are taken. A nine-year-old boy is
sitting next to his Dad.

Man: Hey, you told me there were seats when I got on!
Conductor (looking around): Hey you, Uncle, your boy is on a child ticket. Pick him up on your lap, he can't take up a full seat.
Dad picks up boy and puts him on lap, somehow. New man takes boy's seat. Life goes on.
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A woman and a man are sharing a double seat. Man gets up to exit. Another man tries to take the seat. But woman keeps the empty and yells, "Chachi! (Auntie!)" She saves the seat while her Auntie comes from the front of the bus.
Man looking to sit down considers wringing her neck but thinks the better of it, mutters and looks out the window.
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Man: You know, I love to come on this bus.
Me, surprised: Why?
Man: Because I used to live here (near Malibagh-Bonosri) when it just started developing - lots of memories.
Me: Oh. So you are on the bus on a pleasure trip of sorts...
Man: No, I have to go to the bank. I kept an account open in this branch near my old house, so that every once in a while I am forced to come here to the bank. I love this place so much, but if there were no business I would never come here all the way from Tongi!
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Passenger gets a call on the mobile: Hello
Passenger (energized): Slamalaikum sir, yes, I am on my way, you did ask me to come at 9am right? (it is 9:15).
Passenger: I am just crossing Gulistan on the bus - will be in Sadarghat in just a few more minutes. Yes, yes, no problem sir. You don't worry about it at all.
(Bus was nowhere near Gulistan - quite a bit behind).
Passenger hangs up, having contained that fire.
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Bus stops at Bahadur Shah Park. Still a kilometer away from Sadarghat.
I suddenly notice everyone has de-bussed except me, and the conductor is beckoning to me.
Me: You said this bus goes to Sadarghat.
Conductor: Yes, sir, and we are here.
Me: This is quite a distance from Sadarghat.
Conductor: Sir, all the buses to Sadarghat actually stop here. See, all those buses turning aroung the Park?
I see that indeed, there are two Sadarghats in Dhaka: the bus Sadarghat which is a kilometer away from the Launch Sadarghat. Argh!

5 comments:

Sakib Al Mahmud said...

i always listen that kinds of word on my daily life... :(

Lotus Reads said...

lol, I absolutely LOVED these, more please!!!

walaya said...

wow... what a vivid picture of days in Dhaka. reminds me of my bus commutes in Dhaka ..

ulysses said...

Hi Sakib,

Yes, I am sure it is not fun when you have to listen to them every day. But it is part of our popular culture, isn't it?

Hi Lotus Reads,

Many thanks - I will try to get some more together.

Hi Walaya,

I don't know where you are, but next time you are in Dhaka, take the Buriganga bus from Notun Bazar to Sadarghat for more :-)

Donny said...

I spent a year researching bus operations in Dhaka, and rode buses 10 hours a day everyday. I heard these types of antics daily, and reading them now really makes me smile and laugh.

especially the second to last one.