An Everyday Journey

Impenetrable clouds of dust.

A sudden violent rush of hurried feet.


The bus conductor’s voice boomed, as the masses unified, heaving their way into the already crammed bus that threatened to breakdown with the load. Having magically compressed ourselves into its restricted volume, our legs jostled alike, unable to differentiate which belonged to whom. Hands hurriedly grabbed poles, seats and anything reachable in the vicinity, as the bus groaned and began moving.

The conductor rushed through the crowd with apparent ease, and an air of familiarity; shouting over irritated heads for the ticket fare. Ladies rummaged endlessly in their tiny handbags for change. A dropped coin merrily rolled away and vanished down into darkness, as a dozen ladies gripped their sari pallus and bent down, eye brows raised; attempting to trace its location in vain.

A sudden break threw everyone off balance. The driver furiously abused the passing motorist from the window, using the choicest swear words in an interesting mix of four different regional languages; leaving school kids grinning. The heat inside was capable of evaporating us up as a whole, and assorted range of scents from unwashed socks to body spray swarmed the air. The five inch long pointed pencil heels lost balance with the jerk, and trotted backwards piercing my foot. Moving aside, I found a dripping oily head with a string of fresh white jasmine flowers in full bloom, its super strong fragrance making me dizzy.

I turned away, witnessing an impossible feat in that melee, a mirror had popped up a little ahead, and a lady checked her hair, frowned, reapplied make up to her satisfaction and smiled. Whistles erupted randomly from far behind.

The bus took a turn, and the journey progressed into a test for survival. Carefree school boys hung out at the footboard, thoroughly enjoying pelting paper balls and calling out to bewildered bikers. The murky puddles of varying depths (courtesy: BBMP) left the passengers holding on for dear life. Then, having decided to productively utilize his travel time, the very urgent half an hour long phone conversation of a man at the back of his brother’s divorce, his wife getting pregnant for the second time and his newly purchased property got wide publicity. He majestically spat paan out of the window, mindless of unsuspecting passer bys below. Taking his cue, two more coughed, five more sneezed.

A cuddly little baby quietly asleep on her mother’s lap erupted in her highest frequency, the sinusoidal waves of her cry crashing right through our ears. The mother desperately tried to calm her down with ten pairs of eyes shooting furious glances. Suddenly, the uptight lady beside turned back and slapped the gentleman standing behind her, rattling off a full-fledged lesson on moral science and ethics, while a tiny tot tightly tugging her sari for support freaked out, moving away quietly to hold the rickety pole for support.

Stepping out on reaching the stop made me smile, at how a bus journey, so domestic, mundane; was also full of action!


Cell Phone Mayhem!
Pen and Ink on Ivory Sheet 10″ x 12″


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