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   With the overnight hike in BEST fares... (April 5, 1990)

With the overnight hike in BEST fares, travelling by buses has become a luxury, almost akin to hiring a taxi.

For instance, the wife was telling me this morning: "If you are late, you better take a bus."

"A bus!" I said. "You mean, a BEST bus! I should take a bus to go to office! What do you think, we have got a press in the house printing money or BEST tickets!"

The wife said: "Once in a while you have to take a bus. Everybody does so. I know it is a luxury, but sometimes you have to indulge in it."

"Not to go to work," I said. "Yes, we can take a bus when we go to a wedding, when you have your jewellery and your fine clothes on. That is okay, but not take a bus to go to work. I fi were to start doing that, all my salary would go to the BEST."

The wife said: "When you are late to work, you can take a bus. Remember the old days, when you used to be late to work and take a taxi."

"Forget the old days," I said. "I do not think you have any idea how much it costs to travel by a BEST bus. Only those with company travelling allowance can afford it, or those with hidden income, and there are enough of them about. But for ordinary salaried employees like us, a BEST bus is out."

"Such a pity," the wife said. "I used to love BEST buses. It was such a comfort travelling in them. A bus every ten or 15 minutes, smartly dressed conductors punching tickers. To think we can't afford them any more."

"If we can't, we can't," I said. "There is no point in wanting things that are beyond our economic reach. Think of all the poor people who have never travelled by air. At least we cab do that once a year."

"I am wondering how will our children go to school without BEST buses," the wife said.

"They will go like everybody else," I said. "If other people's children can go to school without spending money on BEST buses, so can our children. You can tell your sons that when they grow up and earn their own money, they can spend it on BEST bus tickets. Till then, they can look at the buses from outside."

"I will tell them," the wife said. "But how will you go to work now?"

"I will walk," I said.

"Do that," said the wife. "But if one of our neighbours sees you walking, immediately jump into a bus. Let them not think you can't afford to travel by a BEST bus."

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