By Praveen Manoharan

Being a Day-scholar student at Madras Institute of Technology, Chrompet is fun and adventurous. We have the comfort of living in our homes which all hostellers would have initially missed. But still, an average day scholar faces a lot of arduousness in his/her every day journey to and from our college. Our hostel friends will recite a long list of difficulties that they have. We all agree to that. But the main advantage they have is that they don’t have to commute daily to college from a long distance, being inside or very near to the college campus.

Day scholars who have their place of residence in the neighbourhood of our college are the luckiest lot! They don’t have the problems of a hosteller as well as a day scholar who comes from a far area. The majority of us, Day scholars, commute to college either by bus or train. Few others come by bikes, cars or by walk/cycle. The main problem for those who come on their own vehicles is getting caught in a traffic jam. But at least, they have the liberty to travel independently.

“For many people, commuting is the worst part of the day, and policies that can make commuting shorter and more convenient would be a straightforward way to reduce minor but widespread suffering.”   – Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist.


Let me discuss about the people who take the train daily. This is the best, cheap, quickest and comfortable public transport someone can take to reach our college. We are lucky to have our institution located in a prominent area (Chrompet), well connected with public transportation facilities. Having the Chrompet railway station right next to our campus eases the journey for all those students living near the railway lines. The trains have a schedule which one can rely upon to start one’s journey. While travelling in the train, having a smartphone or tablet is the best way to spend the time. You can browse, chat, watch videos or just put on your earphones and listen to your favourite songs (90% people do this) while watching the routine, monotonous sceneries of everything that you see daily. Mostly our students enter a compartment with their friends, so the journey can be entirely spent by chit-chatting. During exam days, this is where we even read important concepts. Now to the difficulties faced by a train commuter. During mornings, many boys cross the dangerous tracks in order to get to their classes on time. Sometimes, due to some technical faults, trains get halted or move very slowly. Congested trains are irritating! Getting a place to sit in such trains are very difficult and often it’s unavoidable to stand/hang near the door. While coming to college, in the morning, only those trains having their destinations further from Tambaram will be crowded but while going home, the crowding depends on the time. Only during the evening, the trains will be free. Most of the trains before 3p.m. and all trains after 6p.m. will be crowded like anything. Hardly there is a difference between the I and II class as it’s equally difficult to find a place to sit in the crowded train towards Chengalpet from Chennai Beach in both the compartments  by boarding somewhere from the in-between stations. But at the same time, we can easily find an empty seat (in both the compartments) in a train towards Tambaram. The difference is the kind of people travelling around you and of course, the cushion seats!

The students in other colleges having college bus facilities are really lucky but still, they miss the experience of travelling in an MTC bus. Those students won’t have anything interesting en route as they travel in the same bus at the same time and also sit in the same seat for 4 years of their education. With respect to our college, the MTC bus is not a comfortable travelling mode like the train. But for all those people who don’t have railway connectivity, this is the only major means. Finding a place to sit is very difficult unless you board the bus at/near its source. Often you have to foot-board travel, or stand crushed amongst people and sway continuously with the rythemic motions of the bus. Here you can verify Newton’s first law of motion! Most of the buses are not comfortable to sit for tall people. The irony is that MTC names a service as ‘Deluxe’ and demands higher ticket costs. The other services are ‘Express’, ‘ordinary’, ‘small bus’ and ‘AC’. While returning home, the buses from Chrompet are usually less crowded from noon to evening but during the peak office hours, they are packed. The density of people in the buses varies from one route to the other. Some use the AC buses which are definitely comfortable.

There are some students like me who commute to college daily by using the bus as well as the train. We are the ones who experience the difficulties as well as the thrills of both these transportation means. Each day, while coming to college, we encounter different adventures. The main reason why we travel in both of these is because we don’t have a direct bus or train. I am sharing some of my travel experiences here. I live in Mogappair East from where there is only one major bus 7H (to Broadway) which is regular. There is a 147A (to T.nagar) bus (1 bus in 1 hour) and a 27N (to Anna square) bus (1 bus in 3.5 hours).With no railway lines nearby and no direct bus going near Chrompet, I travel by buses to Nungambakkam railway station to catch a train to college. The journey takes approximately 1 hr 30 mins. I take two buses most of the times (First bus 7H to Thirumangalam(anna nagar) and from there, another bus to Nungambakkam).147A and 27N are direct buses to the railway station but they are also rare! If any one of the two buses or the train or all of them comes late, I end up coming late to class even though I would have started early. Also the buses in my route are always crowded like hell! The bus from my area (7H) will get filled up by school children and working men. But always the bus I take to reach Nungambakkam will be densely packed with so many college students (majority will be girls) because the route has so many colleges (Loyola, Panimalar Polytechnic, Anna University- Guindy, and almost all of the women’s colleges in Chennai are in this route). Sometimes when I see my watch and think that “Ah! In 10 minutes, I will reach the station and I hope I catch the 7:45 train!”,  ticket checkers will halt the bus and waste precious minutes long enough to make me miss the apt trains (I have never seen them catch someone ticketless). Foot-board travelling is unavoidable. From my place, there is a white board 147A bus which starts at 7:30a.m. If I don’t have first hour class or miss the previous buses, I take it and I always stand in that loaded bus for more than 45 minutes. It moves at a snail’s pace too. I have seen many unforgettable incidences too! There have been road accidents and my bus getting breakdown. Once the driver halted the bus, got down and started beating all those youngsters near the door. Often Conductors use harsh words and quarrel with the commuters. Finding a friendly conductor is like finding a needle in a haystack! Share-autos can be taken in my route but they are slower and also for their revenues, they ask us to sit cramped in order to take many people. I manage to leave college before 4:30 p.m.and avoid all extra activities in order to avoid the heavy traffic jam and crowding on the way back home. Suppose I leave the college at 6:15p.m. , I will reach my home very tired and exhausted only at 8:30p.m.!

Day-scholars have a lot of time spent or rather wasted in travelling than even spent in college. We get up and start very early from home. Our mothers get up earlier than us to pack lunch. We even bring water bottles with us but they are emptied by our hostellers. Since we don’t have classes till 4 p.m. every day and leave early during most of the days, can avoid the peak time traffic. Not all day-scholar students face all of these problems. For some, the journey to college is in fact, very comfortable. We may suffer as well as enjoy now but all the great memories and experiences of all our voyages will get etched in our minds and we can cherish them later in life.




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