Friday, July 26, 2013

Grim Routes



I still could not figure out if I am being judgmental. Forgive such attempt, if this article reflects it in any form.

Image Courtesy: Google
“After a particularly long day at college, I took my bus back home in the evening”...This is nonsense, I thought. I knew the start was not up to the mark. I lacked my usual fire. The article had to be published at any cost too. It was a commitment that kept me going. It ‘is’, i must say. Blogging ‘is’.

I did not have anything particular to write about. There was no idea, no issue that came calling for my pen, on that fateful evening. I stood in the New Bus Stand, Kannur. The noise from the buses, entering and leaving the bus stand tortured my ears along with the suffocating sound of the announcer over a screeching, edgy microphone, from some invisible place, somewhere inside the bus stand complex. It was a newly constructed building, and had better facilities compared to any other bus stand complexes in the whole of Kerala.

Something made me feel irritated. It was perhaps, my fatigue. I was tired to bones, and was waiting to get inside a bus and get going. A tea and a bite of snacks might cost Rs. 14, together. I did not have the good sense of forgetting my meagre savings, either. The options available for me were two-either I have to spend from my meagre savings on minor expenses, or add minor savings to a meagre sum I managed to save at the end of the previous month.

I tried to tap away the keys on my Nokia X2-01 with the dull flap of words that came to my mind. This irritated me more. The void I felt between my desire to write and the accomplishment of that desire burnt me from the inside. Due to a measure that could help nature survive the harmful carbon monoxide, I do not own a car. This is the whole reason I stood there, at this point damned with fatigue, in the private bus stand, waiting for a door to open.

There were several buses going the Iritty route, and one of them could take me home too. However none of them had their passenger doors open, except one, which was already filled with people. Other buses waited for this one to leave the stand. Their employees, thugs, passed out from the institute of goondaism and crookedness, stood on guard near the passenger doors with their gluttonous eyes prowling over the nearby eateries and their half covered legs under a lungi wrap swinging at the tune of a distant song from a lottery stall.

Finally, the bus we all were waiting to leave left. All its seats were full, yet there was standing space, which was what they were waiting to pack with people. However, the time schedule of the bus had arrived, and the workers from other private buses slowly rolled up their sleeves. That was an indication that if the bus stayed after its schedule, they are going to deliver a strong message, sooner. Things often happen this way, here. No one wonders why and how far could this go. The bus had left and everyone was happy. The door of the bus nearby opened, and a bunch of people fought with each other for a chance to get in.

Each one nudged each other for space, and then grabbed for an iron bar to spare themselves falling down on the blacktop. Getting a chance to see the insides of the bus, in itself, was a tough task, let alone getting a seat. I managed to find a seat, on the arc over the back tire.

I was desperate to find a voice and stuff it into the article I was working on. “After a particularly long day at college, I took my bus back home in the evening”. I grabbed onto the adjectives in the sentence, and started working out something on the line of sketching the dull and murky routines of Guest Lecturers in Kerala. It sounded nice to me, and I felt I found a voice.

I heard the double bell, and my bus left the bus stand. To home, at last. Just like the character I was writing about, I felt tired, spent and betrayed. I wished I could sue the government, the justice system, the universities, and the educationists, for betraying the young Graduates by misleading them into the labyrinth of hopefulness. It seemed a good line for me to work on. I tapped away on my Nokia.

A hand tapped on my shoulder. I raised my face to see a growling dog-like face fixed on me. It asked me with a fury that could melt even the iron bar onto which the creature stood against, which world I came from. It also called me a indignant bum. I just stared into the void I noticed in its two bulging eyes. A larger part of my body sat there, paralyzed. Only my eyes could move. The creature had bag clutched in its armpits, and a ticketing machine in its left hand. It was the conductor of the private bus, in a Khaki uniform. He murmured at the disgust of me not offering enough attention to his calls, and said that it was no place for playing with sms.

I managed to say that I was busy in an emergency, and not typing sms. I felt embarrassed. Why should I let this creature know what I had been doing with my cell phone? Isn’t that an entirely personal affair? I paid the money, 15 rupees, and took the ticket. I could not keep peace with myself. Therefore, I uttered bluntly that I was not there on his mercy, and had paid my fare.

The conductor stood there for some time, and turned towards me. I only wished he could not spare more time to use his learning in goondaism against me, now. He said with utmost haught that he did not want my money; he does not care about money at all.

Image Courtesy: Google
I thought for the next two or three seconds and decided against my urge to speak out to him. I wondered how on earth this man and his family could survive, if all the passengers, simple people like me, decided not to take this bus anymore. Would this man be doing this job just for the pleasure of it? I could hardly bring myself to think that way.

One thing was sure, though, the possibility with all these people avoiding this bus, would never happen. There just are so many people and they all want to get back home.        
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