February 17, 2012

Untitled: Part 2

[Previous Part]

"Oh, there she is!!" I exclaimed in my head, being conscious no one should get to know why I was getting so excited in the middle of a packed bus! She was sitting on one of the front seats of the buses while I was hanging at the rear- end. Normally it would have been impossible to locate anyone in this sea of 'cattle class', but I could tell she was "she" from that red butterfly shaped hair clip she was wearing, which I had noticed at the bus stand.
 
Just as I was patting myself in the head for my excellent detective work, the conductor roared, "Ticket!". I found a middle aged man of medium built with a funny little mustache and that classic blue dress and grey colored bag so characteristic of the Indian conductors, standing in front of me. "Ticket!", he shouted again, clearly frustrated from his job.

I desperately thought of a name of some place where this bus was going only to realize I was new to the city! So, I asked him to tell me where was the bus was going. Surprised at my ignorance, he glared at me for a few seconds. And after that, the precision and speed with which he blabbered the incomprehensible names of the all the places the bus was going within the next few seconds, I couldn't help but compare him with my favorite Rap artists. I couldn't even remember the name of last place he said, so I asked him to give me the ticket for the last stop.

I could see him clinching his fist. The thought of getting kicked out  from the moving bus, sent a shiver down my spine! But thankfully, he quickly tore the ticket and asked for 17 Rs. in lieu of that. I quickly searched for a Rs. 10 note and 7 Rs. coins in my wallet and gave it to him and let the poor man free from his misery. 

As I watched him struggle to reach other passengers, I remembered one lady conductor I ran into the first day I got to travel in the buses of this Deccan city. Her sleekness, professionalism and the courtesy was really unforgettable. Not only did she change my view that only men can be bus conductors, she made me realize that women can do a far better job as a conductor (like in most other areas of life). And surprisingly, passengers themselves behave in a more civilized manner.

Anyway, back on the target! It was of no use standing at the rear end of the bus when the butterfly-clipped hair were towards the first end. I had to somehow reach there but the task was next to impossible. The crowd in between me and her was so much that even with my wiry body frame, I was sure I would suffocate to death, if I tried to move through it. But it was a risk worth taking! As I slowly started moving ahead, I could feel my pulse rate rising...


[to be continued]