Bangalore: For BMTC bus conductor Manjunath Gowda, it was a normal day. He was happy to see bus getting overloaded up to two hundred percent of it’s capacity when he was having breakfast with the bus driver Nagesh.
As soon as he entered the bus, he started doing his daily routine activities. He scolded people who were standing near the foot board. Suggested them to somehow adjust inside. He did not discriminate between passengers, maintained his consistency and did not return change to anyone while booking tickets. Those who argued and asked for change, he told them to get down immediately and warned them not to enter the bus if they did not have exact change for the tickets.
Everything was smooth for Manjunath and the bus was about to reach Silk board junction, when a passenger asked the conductor to do something unexpected. He had paid hundred rupees for three tickets he booked for his family and asked for the one rupee return change which conductor had mistakenly written on the back of his ticket. Manjunath told the passenger, he does not have change when five one rupee coins fell from bag due to overloading of coins inside.
Passenger asked politely what currency denomination the conductor had. Manjunath showed only hundred rupee notes with smiling Mahatma Gandhi’s photo. The passenger took ninety-nine one rupee coins from his bag, counted and handed over to Manjunath and asked for the hundred rupee note.
Manjunath could not believe this and lost his consciousness for a brief period. As the bus was at silk board junction traffic signal which has a waiting period of forty minutes, Nagesh and some conductors from nearby buses came to his rescue. Manjunath after regaining his composure gave the 100 rupee note to the passenger.
A news reporter who was sitting behind the passenger was curious to know why he did not give 99 rupees in first place if he had. Passenger explained, “I was feeling pity for the conductors bag. Looking at the number of patch works on the bag. Seems it has gone to cobbler may be more than 100 times. How can a bag carry so much work load? I did not want to increase it’s work load further, hence gave him a 100 rupee note. My profession is to collect coins from temples and handover to people running and earn some commission for my livelihood. If he would have shown a thousand rupee note, I have 999 rupees to give him back.”
Manjunath had a different perspective. He told “We are habituated to carry these heavy bags full of change. In these crowded buses, if the bag is not heavy, someone might snatch it and run away easily. I also want to return change, but if you see BMTC has written inside the buses and many other places to educate customers to tender exact change while booking tickets. No one cares about it.”
Last heard conductors like Manjunath have asked BMTC management to increase their salary as they are carrying such a heavy load every day. Now it’s up to the BMTC management to give these hard working conductors good quality sturdier bags.