A typical day for bus driver Narayanappa begins at 5.30 am. Like most of us, he wakes up a few hours before work. After his morning chores, he boards a bus from K R Puram to the Ulsoor bus depot in Bengaluru.
Here, he changes into the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) uniform and fills a huge container from a nearby water facility and places it inside bus number KA07-F-838.
The bus, that travels from Kaval Bylasandraa to Yeshwanthpur, may seem like a regular one at first. However, on entering it, you will be surprised to see a mini garden.
Yes, a bus in Bengaluru is decorated with plants, all thanks to Narayanappa’s efforts. The 59-year-old has served in the BMTC as a bus driver since the last 27 years.
Two years ago, he purchased saplings from his salary and planted them inside the bus. Today, there are 14 plants and one container. People are free to water the plants from their bottles or the container.
Crediting his wife and children for this green initiative, Narayanappa tells The Better India,
We have a lot of plants in our house. My family makes new additions to our little garden. Plants help keep the environment calm, so I took that concept and implemented it on the bus.
This is Narayanappa’s retirement year, and so he wanted to motivate people before bidding goodbye to his job.
Our green cover is not at par with our infrastructure and development. We need more plants and trees around us. If I can grow plants inside a moving bus and maintain it at the same time, then you can surely do the same in your house or locality.
Though Narayanappa undertook this initiative for the love of the environment, the daily praises from passengers are an incentive for him to do better. He shares, “From asking permissions to click pictures of the plants to thanking me for providing an eco-friendly ride, passengers always give positive feedback. And every compliment makes my day.”
A few days ago, Pushpa Preya, a city-based techie boarded the ‘Green’ bus from Banashankari and was in for a surprise.
Impressed by the bus’ décor, she took pictures and posted the photos on multiple social media handles.
Recalling the journey, Pushpa tells The Better India, “After completing my shopping, I boarded the bus. At first, I didn’t notice the plants due to the crowd. All of a sudden, I saw them and thanked the driver for his efforts. It is such a simple yet amazing way to spread awareness. I wish more people were like him.”
As a token of appreciation, Pushpa even watered the plants.
Nayanappa is due to retire by the end of this year, and has already found a replacement who can nurture the plants just like he did. He found a lady conductor who has agreed to maintain the plants and water them every day.
Buses that run under the BMTC have always grabbed eyeballs in one way or another for giving a comfortable ride to their passengers. For instance, in 2017, it had kickstarted WiFi services in ten AC buses. In probably, a first-of-its-kind initiative, it had launched the BMTC Easy Travel Information Planner App to make people’s lives easier. The app allows commuters to track real-time bus movements.
While the BMTC has taken steps on several occasions, it also doesn’t shy away from encouraging its employees to bring improvements, and Naryanappa is a living example.
This initiative is a reminder for us not to wait for change to be initiated by the authorities. We can be our own heroes and make small differences in our own ways.
With inputs from Rajath Sharma
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)