I don't know if this happens to any of you out there, but for an ordinary extensive city bus user like me, I find it extremely delightful when I see my bus coming, and immensely satisfied when I find a seat empty with no petty competitors for it. City buses are popularly known for giant angry aunties, who fire alarming looks and glare at you if you accidentally fall on them , or even touch them. Them apart, the typical country side women who are ready to fight and yell at other country side women, a reason be it or not. And if you find girls of my age, they are prettily giggling on their mobiles talking to their sweethearts or with ears stuffed with earphones and lost in their thoughts. And unluckily, if you are thin, you've got to share two seats with three people :-|.And if you get a chance to peek inside a Charminar bus, (like 66G, which goes by my place), you'll see a complete black out inside the bus, filled with Muslim women, surrounded by a pool of excruciatingly painful set of dozens of kids each. So, that’s about the ladies section, into which a thin twenty year old, finds her way through, with a 3kg laptop on her back(which she finds really heavy), not knowing how to squeeze among them. The men's section I hardly notice, and whenever I do, I stumble into the eyes of a red eyed man, looking as if he is going to swallow me, fully drunk, or stares back rather cheaply. Buses are filled with such men, generally . So, I rarely notice that section, which is hardly visible from the over-weighted women of my time. The conductor, keeps the bus active, most of them call out the name of the bus stop reached to wake up the sleepy heads to get off if they reached their place. A few are over-friendly and smile while giving the ticket as if they are so pleased to assist you, which sometimes gets hard to smile back. Most of them sneer at you if haven't any change in your bag, take back your ticket like a lion tearing at its meat, scribble a small, illegible number and thrust it back into your hand. The saddest job is the driver's. He has two jobs though. 1) Drive as carefully as possible, overtaking the same bus number guy. 2)Answer the queries of passengers before they get into the bus. Both I feel are boring. Poor guy. Same roads, same questions ten times a day. Robot's life.
So that's the scene where I come into, one fine evening, on the way back from my college to home. I merrily jumped into the bus, it wasn't full, and as I said I was elated to see empty seats. And not just one. So I slumped into one of them greedily, and felt my purse for money. Luckily, I had some change left over, as the last bus trip's angry conductor's reward. 'Masab Tank' I said, Pointing my index finger, saying one ticket. He took a whole ten rupee note, gave me the ticket and went off, leaving me at peace.
Indian roads, I find very entertaining to watch, especially from a bus window. You can spot all kinds , all ages of both men and women, all over the busy roads. Generally they aren't so narrow, atleast 217 finds its way into pretty much luxurious roads. You can see varieties of vehicles here, from all generations as though the 'Evolution' is being explained through vehicles. I sat there staring out, it was about 7 o'clock by my fast-track.
The most common thing I do in a bus is fall asleep, I don't intentionally do that though. It just happens. IIIT has left me sleep stricken ,what else can you expect from me. At the max I look out, make stories of my own, watch people, checking out movie hoardings, buildings, newshops, people, etc. The best part of travelling in a bus is that you are at the highest point on the road. A lil less of pollution, a lil less of feeling that you are trapped inside a jammed road. You could relax, listen to music, or just day dream and wonder about anything at all. I do the last one when I don't fall asleep. And, that day I did the same. You find a lil time idle, and your mind becomes a trash can of thoughts.
But, that day, I don't know whether I fell asleep or it was just a dream, but I had this horrible vision . It was the road I generally cross to go home, and as I was crossing a huge truck comes out of no where and hits me. And I find myself in a huge pool of blood and almost painful as death. I woke with a jump. I emerged into a severe attack of goosebumps, and was sweating profusely. It flashed before me again n again n again, I almost couldn't think of anything else. I thought I'd never get down the bus, if that would happen. But then I tried consoling myself of the fact that it was just a 'dream'. A morning night-mare. Well, it wasn't that easy. Then I remembered this movie 'If Only' where the guy dreams of his girlfriend dying and the same things happen the next day. So, I deluded myself that such a thing might happen. Well, it’s hard to get something as severe as death out of your mind , especially when it happens to be yours! It was almost approaching Mehdipatnam, I thought I’ll get down here and call up dad, but that would be so stupid - It was just a dream.
I then started thinking, what if I may actually die? Really, how often do we think that way? Atleast , I never thought what things I should do before dying! I started thinking of all possible things I can do, before reaching Masab Tank.
The bus juddered and gritted and finally stopped at Masab Tank. I almost shivered as I got up to leave. But then I thought we all have to die one day, and this might actually be more exciting to know before the time and place of death. I started consoling myself that I had enough of success, happiness, love, joy and peace in life and that I should be happy I lived this much. It was long enough that the bus was about to start again, and I jumped out abruptly. I faced the road to cross. It had two halves.
I crossed the first half, with utmost care after having waited for 10 minutes for all kinds of big vehicles to go away and the road to clear out. Now comes the difficult part, this was exactly where it happened. I moved forward n backward like a human pendulum, dancing to the tunes of the vehicles coming at high speed. It was a busy half of the road. I froze when a huge bus came that way. I really din't know how to cross the road. I turned back hoping I would cross back the previous half , but even that started getting busy and I went back to the frozen state of not knowing what to do. I have probably never been so scared before and intensely tensed.
It then happened. I almost freaked out when I felt a warm bangled hand suddenly held mine. I looked up straight into the eyes of a wrinkled face of an old lady with about 10 bricks on her head. Grey eyes. White hair. I couldn't help noticing that she was magical in her appearance. She dint say a word, but held my hand so firmly. She smoothly crossed the road along with me trotting beside her. I felt like a school kid who just couldn't cross a road. Well, I thought that it was over and that i’d thank her. But before I could open my mouth, she said, in her husky old voice “It was God’s wish”. (in telugu ofcourse) . And she turned away. I might have swallowed a lot of dust with my open mouth, I just stood there, jaw dropped. I regained my consciousness with the sound of the horn of my Dad's scooter who was just in time to pick me up. Ah! Finally, dad. I smiled at dad, and jumped onto the scooter, as he took a turn to go into the lane, into which that lady had just gone, I looked everywhere for her. But I couldn't find her. It was a long lane, with no branchings and no shops . I did not have any kind of construction work anywhere. I looked both the sides frantically turning my head, but I couldn't find her anywhere. Where could she have possibly disappeared so soon? God only knows..
I don't know what you would say, if it happened to you, but i’d say it was a ‘miracle’. I heaved a sigh of relief and uttered 'Thank God'. I put my head on my Dad’s shoulder and closed my eyes. And I think I fell asleep again. But I dint get that vision again, ever again. I safely reached home and din't say a word about it. I felt so alive as though I was just born. In this age, where we keep striving and searching for happiness, I felt tremendously happy for just being alive! 'The celebration of being of alive' - I decided to call it.