I'm fascinated by red double-deckers. They hold a much greater charm than blue double-deckers. The fact that I haven’t traveled in either is pretty sad.
What is it that attracts me to double-deckers?
Is it the concept of a ‘driverless’ area? Or is it the feeling of superiority one gets when is higher (literally or hypothetically) than the rest? Or does it come with the same mentality that makes me grab the upper berth during every train journey? Or is it finally just the attraction of something new and unexplored?
Well, the fact remains that all the time I was in Mumbai, the most predominant memory is that of bright red double-deckers careering madly on overcrowded roads. When the likes of these come into sight, lesser lights (or vehicles in this case) fade into insignificance. Especially since if you don’t give it and its path of direction your close and complete attention, you might just get up close and personal with its wheels. And since I didn’t particularly want to end up a Sheila stain on an unnamed Mumbai road, I paid very, very close attention to red double-deckers. From which habit, I imagine, the fascination grew. Mumbai bus drivers are qualified to join the F1 races and they would most probably leave a Schumi stain on the track if they ever did take part. They almost come close to Chennai tanker lorry drivers. Chennai buses, which would look more in place in Pisa, are in a different league altogether and hence no comparison may be made with the roaring red monsters of Mumbai.
For newcomers to Mumbai – do not go out onto the road if you are depressed and look it (the bus drivers use this as justification for running over you). Do not attempt crossing the road unless: 1. you have suicidal tendencies, 2. the traffic has reached standstill cos of interesting vehicle formations (also mainly caused by above-mentioned double-deckers), 3. you have an experienced Mumbai-Walla with u (these seasoned experts can dodge across six lanes of unending and terrifying traffic with the deftness of kabbadi players).
Better option: do not cross road.
Unless you live on the other side of the road.
You might, of course, then catch a double-decker to your eternal home…