The Local Bus :and the daily wear and tear off a common man

THE LOCAL BUS : and the daily wear and tear of  a common man.

For most of us – the local bus proves to be the cheapest, the safest, the easiest (as well as the  craziest).

Unlike other bus stops – mine does not have a signpost or a stand; leave alone the signpost and stand, there isin’t even place for one to stand. With  an  assumed  bus stop, a share rickshaw stand, a Chai stall, as well as a Jalebi wala, and a Tin ka Dhaba, famous  for  it’s  Ganna juice(sugar cane); squashed up all together in a tiny space; at a small  (and madly  crowed) junction –just  at the edge of one of  it’s turning …so much to  the edge, that those of us waiting for a bus keep shifting places  for fear of our toes being flattened by the passing vehicles in front; or of being carried off  on the front wheels, of those drinking Ganna juice, right behind us who look like they’re  ready to hop onto the bus, along with  their juice, bike, and everything else. But somehow;  we have learnt to adjust, and find our business, happiness, and comfort, even in the smallest and craziest of places and things.

Just at the side of the tea stall; a few shrivelled, poor – pussy  faced doggies  are looking up at a mountain of dirt, where a gollu – mollu (nice and round) counterpart of theirs is cuddled up …and every now and then, lazily moving their heads around, and  opening their mouths  in an hopeless attempt to catch and eat up those stubborn annoying flies, worrying his majesty  lying on top: on the dirt mountain – the  Pride Rock  sort of a thing of the doggie clan of this area!

And behold;  from across the road, making their presence felt by slowing down the traffic are approaching  the : un – shoo – able, unmovable, Cow  jing –bang; with the elders of the family  in  front  leaving behind their piles of  belongings  as a sign for the very young, and the very old generation  dangling  behind…the doggie clan  look across  for a few moments with their ears twitching – and then go back to doing their own thing as though  saying : ‘Areh eeh  toh humre beeg  brotherwa log haaye reh, ek dum sahi speed breaker hain, sasura  faasatwaa   human logaan  ke liye’(Oh, it’s just our big brothers, the right speed breakers to these speeding humans’…)    

An elderly  lady  with  a basket of  dried fish; and a poor chap with a cylinder tired of being refused by rickshaws , are now  looking somewhat  less  stressed out with – the chap sitting on his empty cylinder  munching on a piece of  jalebi , and the lady  sitting on the ground  just staring  at her basket, with her dried fish staring back at her with mouths wide open.

But I’m just happy, they’re  not coming  in  my bus  with the cylinder and the basket of stinky dried fish ….or else imagine the chaos of such an explosive combo!!

Meanwhile, all heads, eyes  and nose  involuntarily  turn towards  a very stylishly  dressed young woman, wearing  high heels, pulling a  suit case bigger than herself;  (bathed in  perfume so strong that even a fly passing by might die !) comes hobbling her way into our crowd, I wonder why  this  Air India ki  ‘sophisticated aamanat’(belonging) is breaking her head here and getting  suffocated amongst us waiting for the local bus…….

Least  bothered by anything that’s going on; two small kids , scampering around their mother, waiting for a bus; are  having  a spit bubble competition, tirelessly trying to blow the biggest  one…

Wish  I could do the same, but my  feet are done with shifting spots….. and  the sun  above my head might actually make my brain shift out of its spot.  Anyways  my bus has come, and so has the ultimate challenge of pushing wildly  and stepping onto each other’s  foot to get in –  while the gruffy, hasty, ‘pudhe challa, pudhe challa’(‘move ahead, move ahead’)…of  the conductor continues……..

After much waiting; I get a seat; next to Cleopatra who’s   filled up most of it .  I quickly perch myself, on whatever was left. A second more of standing; and my  legs  would  have given way.  Even before I could fully settle… an old Ajji (granny) appears  from nowhere; and  is almost  being pushed onto my lap.

The idea of Ajji being all piled up on my lap; while her highness madam Cleopatra is already  all spread besides  me– was not a good one at all. So – with a mixed feeling  of  compassion and irritation; I offered Ajji my seat. While I struggled to get a foot hold – Ajji  was an extremely poor old woman, with no teeth left; but the smile she gave me in return of my seat, is one among the most beautiful smiles, I will always remember – it  also  gave me this great noble feeling of having sacrificed my quarter of a seat…however, my noble feelings lasted but a few seconds.

For, now I was ready to beat up the chipkoo(clingy)  passenger who’s stuck to the pole of the bus like a chipkali (lizard). Come what may, but this chipkali will not move one inch, if only possible – he would even take the pole home with him. So for my own sanity, I thought it best for him to be stuck to the pole – right where  he was, and wear into the metal flooring bellow.

Thankfully, I’m nice and tall and my hand reaches  those swinging handles above your head, and so I managed to get through. But the not so thankful thing is – I become a support system for the not so tall ones, who keep getting flung back and forth.

What’s even worse is – becoming  a  baakra(goat) to the  hyper non – stop  talkative type. Who seems to have whatsoever nothing in particular to talk about but  go on with an exhaustive repetition of senseless words  at an exceedingly draining speed.

 They  swear to go on and on and on : until they have dragged you right to their ancestral grave for the hundredth time, and back.

A  little  behind me; pichkau  Chaachi (squashy  Aunty) , refusing to keep to herself under any condition, is  jamming up whosoever is nearest to her and I definitely don’t want to be the next.

Finally, when I’m trying hard  to get off at a signal, to cut short on time; I am favoured  by one of the most impossible  members from the ‘habitual of doing extra favours’ group – who favours  me by telling  exactly when, where and how;  I should get off.  

Before I could free myself of being buried under the unwanted favours; the green light comes on and the bus starts to move, at this moment, I felt like I could pull off every single hair of the person who came in front  of me next.  

But; later on, when this very same frustration cools off;  you feel fortunate to be part of what we call – Chalti  ka naam gaadi ( moving on, like a vehicle)– the life of a common man, where you’re  never alone, never lack advice, adventure, friendship and amusement.


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