Thursday, 25 May 2017

The bus

I was travelling in a city bus. It was cramped with passengers but I was lucky enough to have got a seat. Sitting next to me was an elderly man dressed up shabbily. His hair was partly grey and his teeth were rusty -stained indicating his addiction to doma and tobacco. He blew his nose quite often and coughed a lot.  I assume he made everyone in the bus quite uneasy. Few school goers even whispered lewd remarks in English amongst themselves. However, his presence did not bother me at all. In fact I broke the ice and tried to start conversation with him. I asked about his whereabouts, his health and I even advised him some home remedies to curb his cough. He was glad to get into talk with me and our conversation ensued for the rest of the journey.

From the starting of the journey there was a minor ruckus in the bus and passengers complaining about a foul smell inside the bus. Even I did smell the reek which was somewhat like that of a stool.  Later as the bus moved the smell got intense and people started pulling sleeves to cover their nose. Peculiar thing was, every eye was virtually fixed upon that old man. They suspected he has passed stool in his pants , besides he  looked sick and coughed persistently.  Gradually peoples heart became very bold to even complain directly that the man should be removed from the bus.  I was taken aback and couldn’t say anything. The man was asked to get down from the bus and the man accepted after tough defend for his reserved seat. He was taken down from the bus at one bus –stop.  The bus continued.

I thought the smell would disappear but it did not.  The bad foul still filled the bus and the complain ensued again.  Now everybody in the bus felt guilty about sending the man out of the bus. Eyes were looking at each other as if to accuse someone new.  I too looked in all directions not knowing what was actually happening around.  Suddenly, a child noticed something and said, “mom that uncle has stepped on a stool’ . The statement was enough to raise every eyebrow in the bus. Everyone then asked the boy to get down and catch another bus.  In spite of repeated complains the boy did not budge from his seat.  Later he got down but by then it was already his destination.  The engine rumbled and the bus continued. The bus moved passed by a bend in the road overlooking a rapid flowing river below. The curtains on the window fluttered allowing fresh breeze to slip in. Thus the journey continued.