A bus full of stories

A bus full of stories

Travelling in the local bus can be quite an interesting experience. I recall how the bus I boarded regularly to go to college had to pass the bungalow of a Member of Parliament. His house was heavily guarded by black cats armed with rifles. Located on the main road, there was a speed breaker near the house that was unusually high. When the bus passed on it, its big body would wobble violently and the passengers would get a jolt or two, their discomfort evident on their faces. 

However, one day, a jovial co-passenger said, “This speed breaker has been put so that the bus does a disco dance with the passengers.” Everyone broke into splits of laughter. 

Last Sunday, I had gone to attend an exhibition. On the way home, I found myself sitting next to the conductor. I noticed that none had change. They were all giving Rs 50 or Rs 100 notes. The highest fare being Rs 25, the conductor soon felt the dearth of Rs 5 coins. He kept telling passengers whose Rs 5 was pending that he would reimburse them as soon as he could.

A very aged lady, with deeply etched wrinkles and marked laugh lines, boarded the bus. She could barely stand. She was told by the conductor that her change of Rs 5 would be tendered later. Then, out of consideration, he pointed to a place where a man was sitting on the ladies’ seat. Beside him sat a woman with a baby and a toddler. 

The old lady requested the man to give up his seat, which he did willingly. But no sooner had the man got up, the little boy quickly grabbed the seat. The old lady was nonplussed. The conductor remarked, “This is the irony of fate.”

Soon, another young mother with two small children got into the bus. The conductor was harried now. There was no fiver to give! Noticing his quandary, a man gave a fiver, which the conductor gave to the old lady. The young mother now protested saying she had to get down before the old lady, and that she was more in need as the old lady’s stop was the last. 

The conductor asked the mother of two to request the old lady to give her the fiver. But, the old lady did not respond and started giving dirty looks. “Amma will not relent,” a man remarked. With her bus stop approaching, the young mother gave four Re 1 coins and took a tenner from the conductor. 

When the woman disembarked with her kids, the conductor wisecracked, “All passengers in this bus seem to be crorepatis.” I laughed silently.

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