A water bottle, a packet of biscuits, assorted nuts and a fruit. Choice of music, wet tissues and yeah the travel kit; everything seems to be in place. Going on holiday anywhere? Nah.. just to work.

With the city expanding its boundaries and work taking us farther and farther away from home, leaving home with such preparations has become a necessity. While the distance travelled itself may be long, traffic snarls prolong the time spent on the road even more.

Some people have a mechanism in place to beat the peak hour traffic blues. “Leave home early and leave work late, after everyone has left. That is the only time the roads get relatively free and I can save myself from being stuck in the traffic and avoid getting exposed to air pollution,” says Surya Prakash Rao who works with the tourism department as a special duty officer. Surya Prakash doesn’t have to travel far, but the traffic makes it a long commute. “I don’t want to shift from where I am staying because I love the silence of the place,” adds Surya Prakash. (Surya Prakash is one of the lucky lots who needn’t travel more than 12 kilometres. But there are some who travel 25 kilometres one way just so they can live in peaceful surroundings and amidst greenery, away from the concrete jungle where they work.

Communication professional Archana Mazumdar elaborates, “My commute begins with thinking of what to cook for dinner after I reach home. Meanwhile I go well prepared for my one-and-half hour journey— water and snacks and most importantly I time my drinking water, because there isn’t any place to stop for a loo-break. While travelling to work, I am less stressed out. I get more stressed when I am on my way back home. I also have to think about the kind of shoes I am wearing; uncomfortable footwear will not just ruin my day but also leave me with painful legs from the constant shifting of my feet on the pedal.”

“Last year, when it poured suddenly, I was stuck for over three hours on the road. I started crying and out of frustration called my husband and started shouting at him for taking a decision to live so far. But once I reached home, I realised I wouldn’t exchange my address for anything else,” she laughs.

While most make preparations to fight the hunger pangs, there are a few who use the morning ride for a peaceful breakfast on the go.

“With a kid at home, I don’t get time to have breakfast in peace. So, I use my morning ride of an hour and half for my breakfast. The only thing I miss is my coffee with my breakfast,” says Rashmi Suresh.

Food aside, there are the other ways commuters utilise their time on the road, especially those who don’t have to drive. It took Sriharsha a few trials but finally with a good phone connection she begins work right from the time she steps inside the car. “I begin with my sales calls and con call with my team. I do this, so that I don’t waste time in meetings and discussions while at work,” she says. When she isn’t preparing for work, she is either catching up with friends on phone or on chat.

A strict believer in utilising every moment fruitfully, she says, “When I am not doing any of this, I am doing Kapalbhati,” she laughs.

To each his own.