It was my first experience of a bus ride in Bangalore. No, I was not a new girl in the city. I moved tothe Silicon Valley one and a half years ago after marriage. Before that day, my man’s bike and auto rickshaws were the main transportation means for me whenever I had to travel somewhere. But a job brings many changes in life. Till three days post joining, my husband dropped me at work and Ola brought me back home.But these convenient conveyance options could not be relied upon lifelong. Hence, on the fourth day I took a bus ride to return home from work.
The bus was overly crowded as if it was the only public transport available in entire Bangalore. I took the bus directly from depot. So you can say, I was amongst the lucky few who had a seatunder the bum during the bus ride.
‘Can you please keep my bag with you?’ the question came from a lady clad in a salwar kameez. At first, I thought she was requesting the man sitting near the window. It took me some seconds to realise that I was the victim.
‘Me?’ I asked.
‘Yes….please can you….’ her plea missed few words yet the meaning was clear. I looked at her for a moment with a frown. She appeared to be someone from my age and was doing a terrific job in balancing herself inside the bus. She clutched the bus strap with her left hand and extended her backpack towards me using the other hand. Her flippant attitude irritated me slightly. Why on earth should I place a stranger’s bag on my lap?And why was she giving me her bag out of all people?Did I look like a soft target?
All my life, I had always seen people either fighting for a seat or taking care of their belongings inside a bus. Many buses even highlight WATCH YOUR BELONGINGS in bright and bold red letters. And here was this madam who was willingly surrendering her bag to me. There was definitely something fishy. In my mind, I decided to reject her request.
‘Please…’ she had by then cut short her plea to one word.
‘Okay,’ I took the bag and placed it on my lap. Looking outside the window, Ilet out a sigh and started thinking on how to improve my communication skills. After all, taking the bag was nowhere in my agenda. But I assured wearing a very-annoyed-and-completely-unfair expression on my face. So what if I couldn’t say NO, freedom of expression still existed on this planet !
Twenty minutes later, the lady got down from the bus with her bag after saying thank you.
TWO DAYS LATER :
The bus I generally took had left the depot and the next one would arrive half an hour later. Only if I knew this, I would have never spent ten extra minutes on that Know Your Company online test. For every five minutes spent in Bangalore’s traffic, you will lose ten years of your life. Those who live in Bangalore or have spent even a day there would agree with me. Hence, I started walking from the depot without wasting anymore time and took another bus.
The bus was as usual crowded, moving slowly in the traffic jam and needless to say, no seats were available. I stood straight somehow by clutching the bus strap. The woman beside me was modelling for the Leaning Tower of Pisa so much that I could not fetch my water bottle from the bag. And my bag? Well, my backpack with a laptop and other necessary items inside it had turned into a twenty kilos burden on my shoulder. Oh! what a relief it would have been if I could get rid of this load. I closed my eyes for a second when I heard a woman’s voice.
‘Yes?’ I asked the middle-aged lady sitting in the aisle seat.
‘You can give your bag to me,’ she said with a smile while thumping one hand on her lap.
‘No no, it’s okay…’ I replied hesitantly.
‘Not a problem,’ she insisted.
This reminded me what I did two days back in the bus. Karma. I thought. Where will you escape from it? I extended my bag to the woman. The only differences are I didn’t smell anything fishy and assured to wear a smile of gratitude this time.
Life is very much like a bus ride. If your fellow passengers are compassionate and understanding, then even the longest traffic jams cannot hamper your journey.