19 Feb

Whenever I got into a bus, I have been mostly shielded by the friendly faces of drivers and conductors. I think it is a very honorable profession, especially in India, where one has to cater to hundreds while making sure that they are all transported safely. I always felt safe traveling alone in a bus, even at night. During my 11th and 12th grade, just standing behind the driver near the hot engine made us feel secure from all the eve-teasers, who were a tad too many in Trichy. Even though the drivers were mostly poker faced, I used to be greeted with a slight nod of the head, which was enough to make me feel good. Be it a very young flirtatious conductor or the stern brother/father types, they will be there to guard you once you enter their domain.

When I was in college, I never minded breaking my journey just to get home as soon as possible instead of a direct route bus. And so, it was all the way from Erode-> Mettur-> Dharmapuri -> Krishnagiri -> Hosur-> Bangalore. Many a conductor has stopped the bus, with a bang followed by “Old..down” , on seeing me running towards the bus, to the annoyance of the passengers, who had to disperse their formations at the steps of the bus, just to let me inside. There have been times when the conductor has made sure that a drunkard or a shabby guy does not come and sit near me. No questions were asked; just a pleading look from me did the job. Sometimes, the fatherly conductors might look very stern but when it comes to protecting you, even the looks were not needed.

What prompted my thinking about the aforementioned souls, you may ask. Last night, on my walk, engrossed in “Masakali”, I didn’t realize that I was almost tripping towards a bus stop, and that on seeing me walking at a brisk pace, the driver of a Cisco shuttle assumed I was rushing to catch it. Now, these shuttles run every five minutes or so. He could have just gone on his way as another one was right behind. But, no sir!! He cannot carry the guilt of leaving a passenger unattended. Now, I was in a dilemma with thoughts reeling in my mind,…Is he really waiting for me? Oh!! Shit, all the junta is looking at me . Do I run? If I run, the misunderstanding might become more pronounced. What do I do?.. With all the apprehensions in my mind, I was walking with an almost imperceptible jog and reached the shuttle when he opened the door, with everyone waiting for me to get in. Thoughts and more thoughts… What do I do? Do I just ignore and continue walking or do I follow in my dad’s footsteps, get in the bus, talk to the driver for a couple of minutes and let him know that I was just out for a walk. I chose to be the friendly pedestrian, looked straight at him, smiled with a wave of my hand. He laughed and with a nod, closed the doors and zoomed past. I continued with “Rehna Tu” ,smiling to myself, slightly embarrassed, transported to my teens…


Posted by on February 19, 2009 in From AM-KICKING blog


2 responses to “Transported

  1. BrainWaves

    February 21, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    This blog took me through your childhood memories easily. A different and nice blog from you!

    I did not enjoy the fatherly strictness of conductor (my father being one 🙂 ) but I do see how this mindset is good.

    Indians in general have a lot of goodness in their heart. The day-to-day struggle keeps the goodness in check. It genuinely comes out in moments like this and it certainly feels good.

  2. Saumya

    February 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Lovely post Shoba!

    Fondly brought back memories of the engine heat on a cold day 🙂

    And yes…thank God there are people who take their work seriously – otherwise everyday living would be a nightmare.


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