I always thought you can have a place all figured out, even without actually going there. I mean, you can always find out where the best food joints and pubs are. Use yahoo local. Finding the malls is no biggie either, just follow the chicks. Buying groceries, paying your bills, and the lot are no big deal either. It was the most unlikely thing that showed me how wrong i was.
I’d decided to catch a bus to my office on the first day, as I figured I ought to take time to decide whether I should buy a car or a bike. So, having found the bus no and the stop I should go to, I landed there all bright and eager to reach the office standing on the footboard, the wind in my hair and a song on my lips. I waited 10 minutes without any dampening in enthusiasm. But as the wait prolonged to 20 minutes, I became impatient, and decided to catch an auto.
It was as if someone had reset my wait timer. I went 10 minutes without an auto coming by, but suddenly without warning, four- not two or three, but four 201’s (the bus i was waiting for) came all at the same time. As I was studying the crowd in all four, deciding which one to get into, the first one began to leave. Quickly i jumped into the nearest one, which was (of course) the most crowded. After a tense, traffic affected race against time, I made it to work in time. Or I should say on time. It was 9:30 on the dot when I walked in.
The next time I caught a 201, it took another route, which I was hoping would be a shortcut. As it turned out, it was actually going to a totally different place. The condescending conductor pointed to the minute ‘i’ next to the ‘201’ board and told me they were different routes. Aargh!
You’re probably wondering why I didnt just buy a car or bike quickly and be done with the whole mess. Um, a quick calculation showed that I would spend 3000Rs on petrol alone each month. Although I’d been extravagant in assuming the distances I would travel (I assumed I’ld be at the coolest hangouts each day, even if they were on the other side of the city), even if it had been accurate, it normally wouldnt have given me pause. Only, I also did calculate another figure.
Earlier, when I’d just landed at Bangalore, I went straight to Forum mall for lunch and ended up paying 150 bucks for a basic sub. At that point, I figured that if I were to continue dining in that vein, it would cost me around 3000 bucks each month.
Even earlier, I’d left home, having told my parents in a dramatic manner that I was henceforth financially independant and returned their credit card and ATM cards ( Damn! I shouldnt have seen all those melodramatic Tamil movies ). So I was in no position to accommodate multiple expenses which were integral multiples of 3000 Rs.
And of course, I settled on the predictable course of action. I sacrificed my dream of a bike (it was a car at one point) to be able to eat a pizza or a sub when I wanted to. Even if I had to bleat the name of my destination hopefully at the conductor of every bus that began with a ‘201’ the next morning.