Monday, February 1, 2010

A sweet ordeal

I was travelling from Pune to Mumbai and inspite of waiting for 45 minutes when my bus didn’t turn up I realized something was amiss because usually the buses run on time. On enquiring with the conductor of another bus he told me I had booked the wrong ticket. I had booked the tickets for morning 05:45 instead of an evening one. Imagine a 24 hour time format lover like me making such a stupendous mistake! There wasn’t any time to lose, I decided to fret over it once I had figured a way out to resolve my stupidity. Thanks to Anu who dropped me immediately to the main bus depot I caught a bus just as it was about to leave. But there was a catch! There weren’t any vacant seats, if I decided to take the bus I had to travel standing for the 2.5 hours of my journey. I opted for it. Usually a decision haunts you only after its taken….sigh!!!!!!

So began my journey..err...standing journey.

15 minutes into my journey a teenage girl walked up to me and asked me to occupy a seat reserved for her sister who would have got in late. Happily, I obliged. That saved 30 minutes of standing. When the girl's sister walked into the bus from another stop I reluctantly vacated the seat. As I was standing, a very old grandma looked at me and smiled. I smiled back too. I was now in the self-abusing mode, cursing my stupidity about overlooking such a simple fact while booking the ticket (Yeah, I had delegated this task when I had more important things to do). As I cursed myself in all the languages I knew, the smiling grandma opened a Tiffin box and gladly offered me a paratha as she added "You might be tired standing. Why don’t you have this?". I was flabbergasted and again I obliged. Now a paratha wasn’t a bad offer for I needed all the strength I could gather ;). Just as I finished having my paratha an auntie nearby asked me to sit on her seat's hand rest. I muttered a thanks and declined but she wasn’t to listen. I HAD to sit. She asked where was I going to get down and why hadn’t I booked a ticket? I told her my destination and the reason cleverly disguising my stupidity as urgency. By then we were almost 2 hours into the journey. The bus took a halt and people got down for their various businesses.

When we all assembled back, a mid-aged uncle walked up to me and asked me to occupy his seat as he was finding it inconvenient to sit in the small seat since he was obese(he told me exactly that). I argued till I lost. I am not exactly fond of chivalry but then how many times do we demean ourselves to make someone else comfortable? Not unless we are sure to score a point and increase our self-deprecating-sense-of-humour quotient. But here was man who was offering me his seat because he thought I was too tired to stand. Reluctantly, I did as he wished. Fortunately it was the last leg of my journey.....because I couldn’t help but feel guilty.

Finally my destination arrived and as I got up to leave I thanked all those good Samaritans who just made my journey memorable! I got a feeling that people are essentially good and this goodness manifests in such experiences :)

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