REMEMBER JACKSON MARUTI? The brand of choice for those who keep tissues in their cars? Well, looking down from the upper deck of a Bombay double-decker bus, you learn something vital: an awful lot of cars carry them. By itself, in a basket, in an ornate faux-silver box; whichever it is, easily three of every four cars around us, on a recent double-decker ride, had a box stashed on that package shelf below the rear windscreen.
Consider: could you have divined that magnificent bit of useless trivia from ground level? Naah! That’s why we can all use an occasional upper-deck excursion.
I’m reliving my youth, I am. In the 1960s, my father was GM of Bombay’s Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), the government organisation that runs the public bus system in the city. When he teased me, I’d snap: “Won’t take you on the double-decker bus!” And we would laugh endlessly over the complaint he got as GM: “When I got myself seated on the left hand last but one seat on right flank of the upper deck, I had to immediately get up with immense pain because a pointed nail was functioning like a dagger.” Who could take that seriously? But would there even be such a complaint today? How many even see upper decks now?