Being a 'poor' service class employee whose office is 30 kms away from home, I have the privilege of travelling in crowded, noisy and worn out public transport buses which have completed their lives long ago. The buses run from every nook and corner of the city and are mostly filled with everyday travelers who are subjected to the torment of travelling to work.
I happen to be travelling on one such bus and have come across some interesting characters and incidences which I would like to share here.
It is human tendency to get possessive about things. But this possessiveness reaches new heights when the passengers of these buses get possessive not only towards their respective buses but also for the seats they choose to sit on. The moment you dare to sit on any of the ‘reserved’ seats of these few passengers, you get nasty stares from them which would almost frighten you to death. You are looked upon at as if you have stolen their most prized possessions or have stomped on their birth right of sitting on ‘their’ seats.
One such lady who always ‘prefers’ to sit on first row window seat carries such pathetic frown on her face day in and day out, you wonder what is it that troubles her so much to be carrying such frown every damn day. She is always frowning and always complaining about something or the other. The only thing she likes doing is flaunting her jewelry to her fellow women passengers. Women, as you know, love jewelry. But, if that shiny piece belongs to somebody else, you can very well hear a few of them mutter under their breaths - ‘huh, always flaunting’.
Another lady always perched on her side has the weirdest dressing sense I have ever come across. I see her everyday wearing three completely different pieces of clothing where none matches the other. So it is a sheer golden dupatta matched with a parrot green coloured kurta and purple salwar on one day and three completely different sets the other day. She seems to be following the ‘mismatch trend’ way too seriously.
Then, there is this old lady who sleeps like a log during the travel. Well, I do not have any problem with her getting her beauty sleep, but the only problem she creates is for the nearby passenger by falling completely on him/her while she sleeps merrily. If some poor male passengers happen to sit beside her, then they get embarrassed/angry all the while shifting uncomfortably in their seats while this woman sleeps comfortably on their broad shoulders.
Moving on, another co-passenger is this man in his thirties who is an ardent ‘Modi’ fan. Wait, fan would be a small word for him. Let’s say, he worships Mr. Narendra Modi, always has some or the other anecdotes to share about his ‘saheb’ and is most fiercely geared up to put up a huge fight with anybody who dares speak a word against his ‘saheb’. Mr. Modi sure has an ardent follower! Basically, he is a nice and helpful person who loves his ‘saheb’ and is most candid about it.
Women never really grow old. Isn’t it? This principle is quite literally followed by one of the women in her late fifties who always wears two Ponytails. Yes, you read it right. She wears two ponytails to work everyday, and I mean every single day. Most of the fellow passengers do not know her name and is usually referred to as ‘2 chotlaa wali ben’ (Lady with 2 ponytails). This peculiarity is also seen in one of the men. Don’t laugh. I am not saying that the man carries two ponytails, what I mean here is that the adage that ‘age is just a number’ is also not believed by this particular gentleman. It seems he is quite fond of clothes that youngsters wear today and since he never got a chance to wear them in his youth, he fulfills his wishes now. Most of the times, this gentleman nearing his retirement is dressed in skin tight jeans and t-shirts which he seems to be borrowing from his grand children, I guess. Trust me; I almost fell of my seat when I saw him dressed in a skin tight pink t-shirt and slim fit black denims. Metrosexual, eh!
The bus also has a few women who take the quote of ‘dressing to the hilt’ a tad too seriously and are all decked up with overdone makeup, loud hairclips and jewelry as if they are out for a party and not office.
Now, government offices are generally divided into various categories in terms of designations and these designations are flaunted whenever needed. But this particular woman in the bus seems to take her ‘Class II Officer’ tag very seriously. This brash young woman, who never smiles, had dragged the entire bus to a Police Station on having a fight with a fellow passenger regarding keeping or not keeping the window open. And all during the verbal volley with that passenger, she threw ‘I am a Class II Officer’ title so many times; it felt as if she is the sole ‘Class II Officer’ on the surface of earth.
And there are people like my friend who is the biggest chatter box on earth and has made me one. She has stories to tell, she has gossips to feed and she has complains to be made. The chatter goes all the way right from work to friends, to colleagues and their affairs to politics in the office, from beauty to makeup to families, to movies and books, to spirituality to mythology. Phewww…
Travelling in these amazingly comfortable buses sucks big time, and had it not been for these interesting characters and incidents, my one and half hour journey to work would have been totally bland and boring.