Posted by Elithraniel Arawion on Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I think i must start 'bus chronicles' but it'll end this week since i won't be taking anymore long bus trips after that, in the near future. Today i made an unexpected friend in the bus... actually not one but two... not friends who would last a life time but friends who would randomly think of each other on some random day and smile...
I was on my way back home. I was dead tired, with a splitting headache and hungry beyond comprehension. The bus i was in was considerably empty and i began to relax. A middle aged woman walked up and sat to me and fiddled with her purse nervously. She took out a Rs. 20 note and looked about, quite lost. I watched her, amused and curious when she finally turned and looked at me.
"Umm.. where are you getting down?", she asked me. "Yellow pages", i told her, remembering how my father had told me more than a decade ago (oh shit i'm old!) not to converse with strangers. Yet, i was sure she was a decent woman and disclosed this not-so-personal info. She hesitated and asked "I don't know if the conductor will have change for 20. Do you mind if i buy you a ticket?" and i was starled. This woman was nervously offering to buy me a bus ticket! "You may buy but i'll pay you. Here's the change", i said, handing her the measly Rs. 4 which she gracefully accepted. She then got my ticket and gave it to me.
We both were silent. I was lost between a splitting headache and hunger pangs when she suddenly piped up again asking "so, do you work?". "Sorta. I work and study", i replied. She nodded. "My daughter is doing a correspondence course is typing", she smiled proudly. I smiled at her, wondering where this was leading. "Where do you work?". "Umm... for the press". I didn't want to specify names. Her eyes opened wide and she blurted out "Can you get a job for my daughter?"
I almost jumped out of my seat. I was 19, not even an undergrad degree holder, working in a paper just for the sake of passion and this woman thought i could get her daughter a job! I didn't want to break her so i decided to turn the tables around, "what else had she done?", i persued. "A course in tally", came a prompt, almost desperate reply. "Oh. In that case, i don't think she'll have a problem finding a job", i tried assuring her. She smiled weakly and nodded.
She spoke again, after 5 minutes of silence. "Our family is having alot of money trouble". I so didn't want to hear this. Not because it was stupid or whatever, but because i didn't know her and i was too young to offer her any useful advise. "My husband died". My thoat constricted. I knew what was about to happen next. A tear passed down her eyes, but she smiled "You know, my daughter knows good english. She has great command over the language", she smiled at me. I wanted to help her but i didn't know how. She looked at me hopefully and i took a deep breath and looked at her. "I'm sure things will work out. I'm sure your daughter will come up really well in life. I'll pray for the both of you." I couldn't think of anything else.
She beamed. "I'm sorry for blurting out. I'm always like this. I was just returning from an interview myself and i din't get the job. I guess the frustration overtook me. I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me. And..." she trailed off as she heard the driver motioning her to get down at her stop. She got down from the bus and came to my window. "Thank you", she told me walking off.
Trying to get her out of my head, i concentrated on something else when i noticed my stop was nearing. So i got up from my place and sat on the seat closest to the door. An old lady sat next to me. As the bus moved on, a man suddenly appeared at the door and asked if the bus would go to central station. The old lady next to me cackled and shook her head. She pointed to the bus a few feet ahead of us at the signal and said "Catch that, young man. You'll reach central but u need to be fast or it'll go". The man walked slowly toward the bus and the lady mumbled "if he goes at this speed the bus'll start".. And just as she said, just as the man was about to reach the bus, it started off at top speed. I looked at the old woman and the both of us burst out laughing.
We were giggling the entire way till my stop came. As i got down the old lady waved to me and said "run, child run or you'll also become that man!" and i waved back laughing.
Funny the kind of friends we make on a bus! There, we don't think of caste or age or whatever but just moments. That's all. I made 2 friends today. People i may never see again. But by writing this post, they have become a part of my life. *Sigh*