Powers that be, come join me on a fun ride!
Zaid Ali (Sunday Times)
I wish to extend an open invitation to the President, the Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs (of course with their entourage) to join me and enjoy the fun of riding by bus. It is so much fun, you know, I feel sorry for you guys who do not have the privilege of travelling by bus.
Here are some previews of the fun awaiting you
1. First of all you will have the rare opportunity of meeting this guy – the bus conductor. No one can beat him in crowd control. His slogan ‘passata yanna’ or ‘issarahata yanna’ keeps all the passengers on their toes and all these well dressed gentlemen obey him without any reservation. You can learn this trick when you have to face the election meetings. Crowd control at its best. (Who said ruling Sri Lankans is difficult?).
2. He will make people stand in three rows in between the seats. Some gentlemen seem to be really enjoying this ‘togetherness’ enforced by the bus conductor and obey him fully. Where in the world will you see passengers packed into three rows in a bus? Bravo conductors! (It reminds me of how you all are packed as ministers of this and that).
3. You will also see him getting inside the bus from the front door and squeezing his way through and then getting down again from the back door in no time. He will do it at least ten times within the halts. Once a Chinese tourist asked him “Are you a monkey -running from front to back all the time”. His answer is the usual Sri Lankan smile.
4. If you are unfortunate to get a seat in the bus, suddenly you will feel a big weight on your shoulder. Take it easy: the bus conductor is resting on your shoulder for a while when he is collecting the money from the other passengers or issuing a ticket. The worst is he will even sit on the shoulder of a lady no matter how she responds. After all we are nation of tolerance. Aren’t we tolerating the politicos who gave us so many unfulfilled promises.
5. The other fun you will enjoy is getting a ticket for Rs. 50/- when your fare is only Rs. 20/-. So much generosity! Another way of breaking the rules – and you parliamentarians are much familiar with the art of breaking the laws. What a farce in issuing the tickets. Valueless and unauthentic tickets. Nothing genuine just like you lot.
6. Suddenly you will see him wearing his worn out frayed dirty over-shirt. That shows how smart he is. He wants to fool the bus inspectors crew who will be waiting to check his books. All of a sudden he is a law-abiding citizen wearing his uniform shirt to comply with the regulation.
7. The driver takes everything in a different way. Honking the horn persistently is an art he has mastered to frighten the bike riders and other small vehicles. He makes a lot of noise with the horn as well as the woofer fitted in the bus.
8. Never try to answer a phone call while you are in the bus. The songs will be played in full volume. The lamentation of the jilted lover is the audio theme and the video is of some half naked girls dancing happily for something, nothing to do with the audio theme. No where in the world will you see so many lamentations mixed with happy visuals. Noise pollution at its best – we are a paradise nation.
9. By the way, are our Sri Lankan women so unfaithful to their lovers that they leave them all the time. Why do men like such sad songs? You Parliamentarians may find a good answer. Maybe you can follow this practice and introduce sad songs of lamenting for the sleeping members (Almost all of them do sleep during debates). Maybe the party leaders can feel the pain of being jilted by their supporters at the election.
10. You will also see another funny signal. Women standing and men sitting. So much of a sense of equality – men won’t offer the seat even if an old woman is standing with difficulty. Cheers for Sri Lankan men for their sense of equality.
11. You will also never miss seeing a few gentlemen trying to take advantage of the crowded situation and finding an outlet for their pent up sexual obsession. And then Sri Lanka women are so tolerant, they won’t raise their voice of protest.
12. When the time comes to get down, be prepared for the eventual. If you are lucky enough to land at the bus halt thank God. But most of the time the drivers will stop in the middle of the road and give you the chance to prove your athletic skills in avoiding an accident. You know it is a challenge to get down from the bus unhurt. Then who cares?
13. The so called monkey – I mean the conductor will be standing at the door and will let the female passengers get down by rubbing against them. That is his fringe benefit – innocent creature no?
14. I am sure if you take this ride, you will give up your expensive luxury vehicles and enjoy the real ride. After all you are experts in taking people for a ride.