Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Inside Vayu Vajra 1

Vayu Vajra, the air-conditioned buses that ply in Bangalore.

It was a moderately sunny day in Bangalore, last week. I decided to step out on a long journey. Journey from Whitefield to Koramangala by bus is definitely a long one especially if it has to be two hops in between.

A Vayu Vajra came by and I decided to just take the bus. I knew it was a longer route but I always prefer taking the first available bus than waiting for long hours in the bus stand. If I do, my patience battery generally goes low and I am known to invariably take an auto. This day, I didn't want to take an auto soon enough.

The best thing about this bus is its very spacious, or so it mostly seems. Less crowded in the off peak hours as it is quite expensive. Students and working professionals are the usual passengers in this bus. This also means a lot of things : You get to see fashion, trends, technology trends, styles, and books.

I took an aisle seat which I never do if I get a window seat during any of my travels - airplane, train, car, bus, or auto. Today, all window seats in the bus were occupied leaving all the aisle seats free for me. Just randomly took a seat next to an office-goer. It is usually very easy to find out, if you have seen the stereotypes in Bangalore buses - A hand bag which is mostly a hold-all, a laptop, a mobile phone, head phones, lunch box in a Tupperware bag, a head scarf to ward off dust on the "just then" moisturized face. I like it when people take time out for themselves, for it amazes me a lot. It is just so wonderful to be able to take care of yourself very well.

The lady seated opposite me seemed an office-goer too with all the aforementioned accessories of an office-goer. She also had a hair style that didn't suit her the least bit, but she seemed comfortable with it. That stubborn air about her style is easy to like. The details like manicured nails and matching
slip-ons are hard to miss. She had her ear phones on. Her eyes were on her mobile phone. Do what you think makes you happy as long as it doesn't bother the other person.

Her neighbor, looked 'fairer than fair can mean' and stood out among the rest of us in the bus. She was looking out of the window with her ear phones on as well. From their looks and the distance that their eyes maintained from each other, you could guess easily that they are strangers. I did notice that they had similar mobile phones, but that could just be a coincidence, I told myself. In two minutes the fairy told the high-airy something showing her phone's screen. The other girl acknowledged with a blank side look and immediately looked away. I would definitely have given a better expression to a stranger, was my first thought. And in five minutes, the airy leaned on the fairy's shoulder, the fairy's hands touched airy's head briefly with eyes off course looking out of the window still and the ear phones still on. You could see that there was a beautiful silence between them that definitely can only come up when you are with close friends.

"Next stop : Videhi Hospital" came the announcement.

Our ladies got off at this stop and a very beautiful girl took the seat right opposite me. Her dress was what caught my eyes first. A beautifully embroidered peacock blue semi-cotton kurti with a lemon yellow Patiala and a crepe dupattah to complete the suit added to her beautifully groomed looks. It takes time for SELF. I decided never to forget this statement, but that was just a decision on the fly.
She opened her bag and took out a huge, voluminous, nano-fonted text book with lots of images that looked medical to me and started reading through. I asked her if she studied in Videhi Medical college and she said, she works there. We went on to talk further and I learnt that she is a practicing doctor at Videhi Hospital. How easy it was to get someone's age all wrong!!! I got some information I needed from her regarding the hospital and felt fortunate to have met this doctor in person.

I left the doctor to continue studying while another beautiful woolen top caught my attention. A pale yellow colored woolen top with designs of baby pink and sandal over a formal black trousers made a perfect office outfit, or so I presumed. The girl with this outfit had a sling bag which didn't suggest much on where she could be going; there was a laptop beside her; again, I couldn't tell if it was hers. She had the most blank look. Its when I landed on her look that I noticed the careful accessories she had chosen for the sweater. Her ear rings had pearls and the neck chain had tiniest of tiny white stones.. My next halt was on the bracelet and the watch.. white metal or silver or something mimicking it; I couldn't tell, but they did fit the picture perfectly well. I couldn't stop wondering for the umpteenth time how people had so much time for themselves and it sure is a feel-good to take time out for yourself. Isn't it? The blank look and the very carefully chosen attire do not match. Do they?

Next Stop announcement deviated my attention and I saw a very casually dressed young man standing up from his seat, supposedly to get off the bus. This carefully dressed girl also stood up, picked up her sling back, the laptop bag and a lunch box which appeared from where I didn't bother to recall... This man stood transfixed looking at her and she was busy collecting her belongings to get off.. The bus came to a gentle halt.. Both the young people got off and walked off in two different directions. The transfixed look suggested that they had known each other, but they didn't even meet at the bus stop. Not all that easy to tell anything from what you observe .

The bus moved on and a lovely girl dressed in black casual wear stepped in. She had a purse and the usual smart phone with her. Found a seat and bought her tickets. I looked around and thought I should have brought a book with me to kill time in the bus.. So much of internal gossip is happening in my head, I thought. Just then, my phone buzzed and as I was talking I casually looked up and found this girl weeping silently. After quite sometime, when I finished my call I looked at her hoping she will have finished the talk too but the call was on. She was talking so quietly ( amazes me time and again how people can talk so softly and still be heard) and was shedding tears and I just wished someone is beside her to comfort her. I hoped she would be okay soon. She got off the bus at the next stop which was a college. The last sentence that was loud and clear was, "I will come over for lunch and we'll sort this out. I promise." So, it was a friend and the tears were about a misunderstanding which looked like it was close to resolution at lunch,. Friends are easier to deal with than the rest of the relationships. I agreed like you just did!!!.

I looked at the watch . It was Noon. Which means I get off in the next few minutes..

Six people, Six thought lanes, Six attitudes, Six types - multitude of angles to write a story. Wanted to try short story writing someday. If ever I do it, this bus journey would be my inspiration.

In what I would call a very short journey, I realized that

  • Often we have no idea of the unspoken words in one's heart, unexpected twists in one's story, unheard dreams in one's mind, and untold miseries in one's life.
  • Often we are totally incorrect in judging people, understanding people, knowing people and advising people.
  • Often we are all about ourselves; may not be our fault, but let's stop complaining that people are the way they are.
In an extremely complex maze that we are travelling through, the least we can do is say a word of prayer, flash a smile of gratitude, give a nod of understanding, and feel a sense of empathy towards the other. Lets live easy with less of the pointless EGO wherever we go. Easier said, but that's what I learnt.

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