A Crowded MTC Bus – Via Peter Haden / Flickr
The MTC bus is the lifeblood of Chennai, but…
The MTC (Metropolitan Transport Corporation) Bus is to Chennai what the Indian railways is to India! The ubiquitous MTC bus that hogs every major street and lanes in Chennai serve over 5 Million people every day! With over 4000 buses in its fleet, the MTC bus provides cheap transportation to all corners of this huge metropolis.
If you are a woman and new to the city, you will find it intimidating to board the MTC for various reasons.
Most buses are crowded and are packed like sardines in a tin can. The oppressively humid weather exasperates the challenge of boarding a bus and making it out of it alive!
There are way too many services and the associated acronyms that can drive you crazy. LSS, Cut Services, M Services, PP Service to name a few.
You will be lucky to find information about bus timings or routes at the bus stop. Bus route and timing posters are probably hidden under some politicians face or washed away in the rains.
If you seek help from others, you will get a mix of conflicting responses that range from people sharing wrong information with supreme confidence or unwanted questions about where you are going!
Of course, women will have to deal with unwanted stares, catcalls, or groping in crowded buses.
MTC bus seating etiquette for women
Assuming you have done your homework about MTC buses and have decided to take the plunge, you will have the option to either squeeze yourself in with no chance of ever parking yourself in a seat or (if you are lucky) you may have to choose the right place to sit down.
While we don’t believe there can be any specific strategy for squeezing yourself into a crowded bus that’s miraculously riding on half the total number of wheels available at the driver’s command, you have the option to strategise the choice of a seat in case you find one.
Before we dive into our specific strategies for choosing a seat when riding the MTC bus, it is important you understand the typical layout of the MTC bus.
As you can see from the above image, ladies have fewer seats to occupy compared to that of men. That’s hardly surprising.
However, seats meant for ladies or men are subject to “occupation” by the either sex. It is not uncommon to see some thick-skinned men taking over a seat on the women’s side of the bus!
However, the segregation of seats based on gender works in most MTC buses.
What to do when you have a vacant seat (yes, miracles do happen)?
If you have a vacant seat on the left side of the bus (meant for women passengers), take it even if you have empty seats on the other side. This is the easiest scenario and you will probably never encounter it in your lifetime unless you get into the bus before it starts the trip or take a late night trip.
If you find that all seats are taken by other women on the left side of the bus and you have vacant seats on the right side of the bus (aka driver side), here is what you need to do:
1. Approach the empty seat.
2. If there is no one at the seat (usually they seat two people), you are in luck. Just take the seat and make yourself comfortable.
If there is a guy already occupying a seat, you need to keep in mind the following:
Some guys will try to sit in the middle of the seat and spread their legs as wide as they can to discourage anyone from sitting next to them.
If you find a guy doing this, walk up to the seat and say “Anna” and at the same time gesture with your hand to signal your intention to take a seat next to him.
Most men will be happy to give you the space to sit and you don’t even have to say anything in Tamil other than “Anna” (Anna is “brother” in Tamil).
Here is how it works.
Some tips before you rush in to take the seat:
1. Purchase your tickets with the conductor who is has a cozy little seat for himself at the back of the bus. A typical conductor in an MTC bus is no different from a potted plant. He won’t move an inch.
2. Avoid the last row of seats in the bus at all costs even if you find a seat there. It’s meant exclusively for people who enjoy abrupt and sharp vertical motion. Not a great place to seat yourself after a meal.
3. Some women are accommodating and will make space for a third person to sit in a two seater! If you are on the leaner end of the body size spectrum, your chances of getting a partial seat are high. Remember to make eye contact and smile if you hope to squeeze in as the third person.
Pros and cons of sitting in the aisle seat or the window seat
If you know the bus will get crowded further along in the journey and you know where exactly you want to get down, take the window seat. This way when the bus gets crowded nobody can fall on you or misbehave under the pretext of lack of space!
Your Anna will become a natural protective barrier for you against unwanted advances by MTC Bus Romeos, you are safe from the antics of perverts and molesters, and you can get lost in your own world as the bus makes it way to your destination.
But the window seat is not always the best option!
If you know that the bus will be relatively less crowded for the rest of your journey, always pick the aisle seat. Believe me, you don’t want to ruin your hair and bathe your face in carbon monoxide, sulfur, and other pollutants!
We have identified the dangers you are exposed to when you sit in the window seat and the below chart has all the gory details.
That’s the price you pay for the relative safety of your window seat.
Let’s say you take the aisle seat, you are relatively better insulated from the pollution outside but not completely insulated. We have excluded air-conditioned MTC buses as the chances of finding one is pretty slim.
There are dangers lurking inside the bus as well and the below image has the details.
Let’s say you take the only empty seat on the right side of the bus, and then during the course of your trip you find empty places opening up on the left side of the bus – move over to the other side. If you don’t move, you are taking away a seat from a man!
If you don’t move, you are taking away a seat from a man!
Tips for women electing to sit next to a man
1. If you smell booze, stay away. Hell, even sober men don’t go near drunk men on MTC buses.
2. Sometimes the pain of standing is worth the trouble especially when the bus is not all that crowded on a hot, sticky, summer day in Chennai. Remember, not all men use deodorant and the weather in Chennai is not forgiving.
3. Men do misbehave with women and groping is not all that uncommon. Keep a close watch and pay attention.
4. Men will stare at you. But, as long as they keep the distance, you don’t have to worry.
Go ahead, put all our techniques to practice when you take the MTC bus. After a couple of trips, your apprehension about boarding the MTC bus will soon fade away (just like the signs posted in the bus shelters) and you will soon appreciate the way the fearless drivers of MTC buses navigate their vehicles through crowded intersections without caring for the bright red light ahead.
Featured image via Eric Parker / Flickr.
Posted in Humour, India
Tagged with: Bus, Chennai, Woman
Dating spots in Chennai are awesome indeed!
Chennai is widely perceived as a ‘conservative’ city and dating is still a new concept in Chennai. However, things are changing rapidly!
Young men and women in Chennai are trying their luck through dating apps and there are plenty of apps to choose from. People relocating to Chennai from other cities as well as expats working for the many multinational companies may find things difficult when it comes to even choosing the right place to go on a date. Fear not, Chennai is packed with awesome places to go on a date. Here is why dating spots in Chennai are awesome!
People relocating to Chennai from other cities as well as expats working for the many multinational companies may find things difficult when it comes to even choosing the right place to go on a date. Fear not, Chennai is packed with awesome places to go on a date. Here is why dating spots in Chennai are awesome!
Fear not, Chennai is packed with awesome places to go on a date. Here is why dating spots in Chennai are awesome!
Here is why dating spots in Chennai are awesome!
- Chennai is blessed with a coastline with acres of beaches!
- Chennai’s warm weather makes it an ideal outdoor place.
- Chennai has a long list of amusement parks and resorts that dot its coastline.
- There is no dearth of restaurants and hangout spots no matter what your budget is.
- There are truly unique towns and trendy places to check out in and around Chennai.
We have picked the 17 best dating spots in Chennai for a perfect date! Here is the list.
1. Theosophical Society
This is a great place if you are a nature lover. Lots of greenery and trees to “get lost” from the prying crowds! The drawback is that it is open only for limited hours during the day. Entry is free and you need to park somewhere outside. This place is by far the best among all the dating spots in Chennai if you can stay on top of when they keep the park open!
Binh Huynh / Flickr
Marina is the oldest and a well-known spot for cozying up with your love interest. The only disadvantage is that you can never get away from the hawkers selling “sundal” (steamed legumes with Indian spices and coconut). Be wary of the cultural police or sometimes cops out to enforce Indian traditions.
Elliot beach is supposed to be less crowded compared to Marina beach, this location has also caught up in terms of the number of visitors. A slightly upmarket crowd compared to Marina beach. Watch out for elderly couples and men looking out to enforce Indian traditions and culture.
3. Besant Nagar
R Shivaji Rao
Besant Nagar is a residential place adjoining the Elliot’s beach. There are plenty of restaurants catering to every budget. In addition, there are coffee shops and ice cream places if you would like to keep it simple on a first date. The advantage of Besant Nagar is that you can combine a visit to Elliot’s beach with a dinner date or just stroll along the tree-lined avenues. Some streets are more crowded than others. The funny thing is even in secluded streets, you will find security guards sitting outside the gates of the palatial homes they are supposed to be guarding!
DakshinaChitra is also located on the East Coast road adjoining the sea. This is a mini Disneyland for South Indian culture and lifestyle. You have replicas of different styles of homes from south India, art and even artists selling their wares. A great place to discover culture in a serene and calm surrounding! DakshinChitra will give you both plenty of opportunity to bond in the midst of exquisite art and architecture.
5. Amethyst Cafe
Chennai has its share of chic and trendy cafes that provide a great setting for a date. The Amethyst Cafe in the heart of the city is an oasis of greenery that not only serves food but also sells cool stuff from leading fashion designers in India. They even have a flower shop! This is an ideal place to take your date and spend a few hours forgetting the fact that you are in Chennai!
6. Cholamandal Artists Village
As the name suggests, this is an artist village also located not far from Dakshin Chitra. You will find plenty of artwork here and the entry fee is also practically free. There is free parking to boot. However, this place is heaven only for the art lover. If both of you are not into art, you will be in and out in a jiffy. A great place to show off your artistic knowledge.
How about some boating to get some alone time? Actually, you may not be all that alone as there will be other boats around you. But if you are adventurous, you can hire the aqua scooters and zip around the lake that is connected to the Bay of Bengal. A couple of hours at Muttukadu can get you hungry before you head out for lunch or dinner. Remember to avoid boating during the hot summer.
8. Pulicat Lake
This is the second largest brackish water lake in India and has a bird sanctuary. Get yourself a pair of binoculars if you would like to watch birds! Make sure you pack some food and water as there aren’t any restaurants in this area. You can hire a boat from the local fishermen and enjoy the sunset while enjoying the boat ride.
9. Surfing Lessons in Covelong
There is no better way to break the ice and know your date intimately by taking up a challenging task together. There are a couple of surf schools in Covelong (a short drive from Chennai) that offer short courses for beginners as well as advanced multi-day courses. They are not cheap (upwards of Rs.1000) but is well worth the time! Check out their websites – here and here.
“Stone Carvings at Mahabalipuram” by Gowrishanker – Own work.
Mahabalipuram is a short drive from Chennai on the way to Pondicherry. Here is a great description of what you will find here. It has a group of sanctuaries, which was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries : rathas (temples in the form of chariots),mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
11. Taj Fisherman’s Cove
The legendary Fisherman’s Cove is not for the budget-minded couple! If you have deep pockets, then look no further than the Fisherman’s Cove. There are world-class restaurants that serve you amazing food on the beach and to top it all, there are live shows. Because this is a private resort, you will have acres of clean beach all for yourself.
12. Sport Fishing
Via Barracuda Bay
Sport fishing is a great option for an exciting and adventurous date! There are a couple of companies that offer sport fishing trips. They have modern boats and all the accessories you will need and they will also arrange light snacks for you on the high seas if you book in advance. You can book 2-hour or even 8-hour trips depending on how serious you are with fishing. A 2-hour boat ride and fishing should be good enough for a date though. Beware of sea sickness! If you are both adventurous, sport fishing in Chennai is a must! Among the best dating spots in Chennai if you enjoy the adrenaline rush.
13. St. Thomas Mount
This is a great place for a date if the two of you have tucked in a heavy meal at a restaurant and you want to continue the date and at the same time burn some calories! Located close to the airport, St Thomas Mount has a church on top. You can take the stairs for a nice workout and once you get up the hill soak in the views of Chennai or enjoy the beautiful sunset! You should count St. Thomas Mount among the best dating spots in Chennai if all you want is a heart to heart conversation.
14. Egmore Museum
The Egmore Museum is at the heart of the city and is a great place to get away from the crowds! During the weekday, you will have plenty of privacy to admire art and also get to know your date. The entry fee is next to nothing. Avoid going there on hot days as the air conditioning at the museum is not up to the job! The Egmore museum will count among the best dating spots in Chennai as it is close to a huge selection of restaurants at a walkable distance in case you have to take a break.
15. Anna Zoological Park
“VandalurZoo 18Aug2012 EntranceFountain” by Rasnaboy
This is closer to Tambaram, a suburb along the Grand Trunk Road which is a National Highway that takes you to South Tamil Nadu. You will have plenty of space to walk around the zoo or even hire rickety bicycles to check out the vast zoo. If you ignore the rather poor facilities (read clean toilets and lack of proper restaurants), it’s a great place to talk and get to know someone. The entry fee is affordable (Rs.30 per person) and you will be asked to pay Rs.25 if you are carrying a camera or a mobile phone that has a camera.
16. Amusement Parks
There are plenty of amusement parks in Chennai along the coast as well as along the Chennai – Bangalore highway. They are not comparable to the Disney Worlds or Universal Kingdoms of the world. However, they provide a convenient place to just chill out, spend some quality time together, and if you are done talking, enjoy some of the rides. Queens Land, VGP Universal Kingdom, MGM Dizee World, and Kishkinta are some of the popular amusement parks. The entry fee could range from upwards of Rs.200 per person.
17. Malls and Multiplexes
Interestingly, Chennai was once the retail capital of India and still continues to be a leading center for retail businesses. The mall culture came to Chennai way back in the 1990s with the Spencer Plaza opening its door. While Spencer Plaza now resembles an abandoned relic, the mall culture in Chennai has gained a lot of traction with mega malls like Express Avenue and Phoenix Market City. These malls boast international restaurant chains and world class multiplexes and are by far the most pleasant dating spots in Chennai with air-conditioned comfort! Not a bad idea if you have a date during the weekday.
Do you have suggestions on dating spots in Chennai? Share it in the comments section below!
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Posted in Dating, Relationship
Tagged with: Chennai, dating, Love, Valentine's Day