A commuting flowchart

8:30: Swipe right, delete the alarm.

Error: You were supposed to swipe left and snooze.

8.45: Gather your limbs and body off the bed. Assemble.

8.50: Finish ablutions.

8.55: Consume black coffee and the newspaper headlines.

9.00: Get ready. Get out.

9.05: Laptop check. Earphones check.  Book to read and show-off check. Wallet check. Jabra Lync Headset check. Orbit check. Badge check. Most importantly, check phone charger cable’s present.

Else, repeat 9.00 step

9.15: Wish wife goodbye. Start bike.

9.25: Reach railway station. Park bike. Lock bike.

WARNING: Bike handle lock engaged. Expect damage when you return since haphazard parking translates to brutal man-handling of locked bikes by attendants. Reset step 9.25 and disengage bike’s handle lock.

9.30: IMPORTANT: Collect parking ticket from attendant. Forget at your own peril. Lost or absent ticket = exorbitant fine.

9.32: Fold ticket and slip in safe nook in the wallet.

9.38: Walk to railway ticket counter, check Rs. 20 availability.

Else, reset at step 9.00 and ensure availability of “change”.

Else, forgo Rs. 80 in cash to be returned by grumpy, angry cashier at counter.

9.42: Saunter to platform. Examine potential co-passengers. Plot entry point to minimize crowd entry.

9.45: Customary phone check

9.48: Train arrives. Occupy seat closest to exit. Plop bag on the luggage counter above.

Until 10.24: note and observe the below occurrences. Factor in new ones.

10:30: Lady seeking alms and wearing dark glasses, a scarf over her head.

10:35: On cue, versatile vendor hawking miracle headache cures, memory drugs, pencils and small eats

10:39: Train mysteriously stops between Baiyappanahalli and KR Puram stations. No one in my compartment appears to be bothered by this. I used to.

11:15: DECISION TIME: Choose to jump off on to the tracks behind Prestige Shantiniketan (A) OR Continue on to the Whitefield station (B)

If (A):

  • Walk 1500 mtrs on tracks with hundreds of other stone-stomping, well-heeled (not for long, if those stones have any say) zombies
  • Cross over a muddy, slippery path. Negotiate bikes. Reach the other side.
  • Flurry of autos driven by mad men arrives
  • Rush to the one that’s headed towards ITPL
  • Multiple decision points: Where to stand so that you get a seat on the auto, whether to ‘capture’ the tiny space next to driver’s thighs or be un-chivalrous and huddle at the back, which auto looks the least likely to kill you this fine morning
  • Reach ITPL. Hop any bus. Wait for it to accumulate enough passengers. Get down. You’ve REACHED!

If (B):

  • Peek out to see if goods train of infinite length is parked on the other side of the platform.If train isn’t parked, jump to (C)
  • DECISION: Is your life worth living? If Yes, follow path (D).
  • Many self-help books recommend doing one thing that scares you every day. If you’re at this point in this flowchart, you are are in luck. A freakishly long goods-carrier train plonks itself on many mornings at WFD station, blocking the path to the walkway that will get you out of this station. Most people choose to jump over this train between the bogies, walking 5 ft above ground on short metal connectors. All hunky-dory so far? Here’s the exciting bit. Often, (too often for it to not be statistically insignificant), the train driver returns from his breakfast and starts the engine! If you survive this, congratulations! You’ve saved yourself a long walk and the search for finding something scary to do today. Climb up the bridge and reach the other side to get the bus
  • D: Walk out through the station, land at the opposite side, walk over 1000 mtrs (!?) to the bridge, climb up and reach the other side to get the bus.
  • C: Pass the vegetable hawkers, Bengali signboards, overhear conversations in at least seven different languages and hop in to the bus. Bus will take more time than planned. ALWAYS. Listen to podcast, spy on co-passengers and avoid air-conditioned, cold draft hitting your head.
  • You’ve REACHED!
A commuting flowchart

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