I spend around 1.5 hours of my day travelling to and from work- a combination of navigating the obstacle courses that pass for footpaths in my city, and hanging for dear life from a public bus. So basically, that’s a not-so-insignificant amount of time lost to irate honking and carbon monoxide.
To clarify any questions, I live in an Indian city that’s rapidly becoming (in)famous for its mind numbing, lung clogging traffic. Spending 45 minutes on an ~8 kilometre commute is enviable here.
Here are some tips on how to pass time while travelling-
- People watching: As I discovered recently (unintentionally, I swear!) this can rapidly descend into stalking territory. If you know the names and workplaces of your fellow commuters, I think it’s time for you to get yourself a new hobby.
- Audiobooks: My first audiobook was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald, as narrated by, uh, a generic male voice. It was entertaining enough for me to go out of my way to prolong my ride. Since it is a novella, I was able to listen to the whole thing in a single trip of ~1 hour. The idea of audiobooks while commuting is a terrific idea in theory, but fails to take into account that India is a noisy noisy place. I lost many sentences to the sound of the bus conductor yelling and the horns of trucks. Best stick to light novels with a simple plot; nuances of language cannot compete with city sounds.
- Podcasts: I reviewed Serial in a previous post- that kind of story is engrossing, yet fast paced enough for travel. Freakonomics Radio provides much food for thought, if economics interests you.
- Radio: Danish Sait’s prank calls, enough said.
- Music: If you are a music snob, the radio may be too proletarian for your tastes. Download entire albums and you’re good to go. Crank it up loud enough to drown out the noise of irate car drivers though.