Honestly, I never got a chance to appreciate the concept of a train-travel. Firstly, the Bangalore-Mangalore train service was shut for just around 15 years, thanks to the commitment of Government(s) and swiftness in conversion of the rail track to Broad Gauge. Unfortunately, that 15 years overlapped with the time I was "economy traveling" to Bangalore frequently. Secondly, the nearest train station was 37 km away from my village.
As a frequent bus traveller, I am so used to the dynamics of the 8-hour bus journey that I have a blissful slumber each time. And I always choose one particular bus, the last stop of which being my village. So even if I over-sleep, the bus conductor wakes me up as he gets the bus ready to be moved to the depot.
Never in my 5+ years of night bus travel had I got a female co-passenger. I believed that this fact should be the last thing I ever cared about but the very fact that I'm blogging about it makes me think again. You guys, think about it : There are only 4 seats reserved for ladies, there are a lot more ladies (Definitely more than 4) traveling in each trip and my course in probability tells me that in 5+ years, I must have had at least half a dozen female passengers sharing the seat with me and at least a couple of good looking female co-passenger in the 2*2 seating arrangement. Even if I tell you now that I never calculated this before, you might prefer to differ.
This entire post is to illustrate an incident that happened a few weeks back.
Bengaluru weather, merciless as it is, makes bus travel horrible. Cursing myself for the gross underestimation of Bangalore traffic and thanking countless Gods for having the bus driver wait for me for 5 more minutes , I got into my bus, the same bus I always travelled. The conductor, my acquaintance, greeted me and casually enquired in Tulu if it was a vacation or just a routine visit to my village. After replying to his casual questions, I went straight into my favourite Window Seat in the bus, the seat which I must have booked atleast a dozen times. But when I reach there, I saw a young couple who'd occupied both the seats. After confirming that it was indeed my seat, I just told them that it was my seat.
The guy looked dejected, perhaps because he was expecting me not to turn up, so that he could grab the seat or at least hoped that his "Laila" travelled alone. Since I wasn't even in a mindset to think more, once he vacated my favourite Window seat, I put my luggage below the seat and occupied it. After the normal choirs (calling up my parents to inform them that I've got into the bus, sending good night sms to a few friends), I got a chance to relax my sense organs and take inputs from sources around me. That is when I that AAL IS NOT WELL with the couple.
It looked like the girl was apparently angry with the guy and I heard the word "broken", "trust", "flirt", "Loyalty, my foot" quite a lot of times. The bus started to move and the dude got down from the bus. I continued to listen to FM music from my music player. The in-ear pluggable ear phones, the one about which I always proudly told people that it cancelled noise efficiently, failed to cancel the noise from the source right next to me. The girl was shouting loudly, possibly because she was on hands-free and "Hands Free" users tend to forget that the world around them is quieter than they think. "Etu thintiya" (You'll get slaps from me), "ninnannu nambide, naane dodd fool" (I trusted you, I must be a big fool). Oh God, this lady.. Incessantly blabbering non-sense..
The last thing I wanted during this peaceful travel home was a chatterbox next to me and that is when the thought stuck "I've never had a female co-passenger before !!". "Big Deal" I thought and increased the volume from the music player until the "Hale Recordu" program by RJ Nethra was blasting old melodies into my ears. After a while, even though that "I hate you blah blah don't speak to me blah blah how dare you blah blah" continued, my brain efficiently rejected that non-sense. I thanked the ability of the brain to reject constant noise and remembered my professor's words "This Brain, what an amazing neural network it is".
I didn't realize when I slept off but as soon as my favourite SPB song fell into my ears, I must have gone into the trance world. I was woken up suddenly with the rude jerk by the bus driver and the girl's untied luggage ramming into my leg. With an excruciating pain, I woke up, deciding to blast that girl to stop speaking over phone and tie up the luggage. That is when I saw that tears were rolling from her eyes.. I saw her "Goggle Less" face for the first time and wow, she was pretty. It might have been my sleep or the music I was listening to but she looked very pretty. I could see dried tear streams on her cheek, indicating that she must have cried for a long time now.
The devil inside me said "Sleep you fool, tomorrow you need to goto a marriage reception". Like in a movie when you over-ride the devil, I decided to do something. But what can I possibly do?
The angel in me said
- Initiate a conversation and ask her if I can help her(5 minutes)
- Listen to her stories (2 hours)
- Give her my free advice (1 hour)
- Convince her that my tips are indeed selfless (2.5 hours)
Damn you Angel,
- I can't give so much to a girl who I don't know
- Girls of this generation always think that if a guy initiates a conversation, he has some covert intentions
- No one wants free tips
I pulled out the ear-phones, reached for my bag, took my water bottle, asked her "Hi, water?". Since this was unexpected, she said "Hey, thanks, I don't need water". Even till date, I'm surprised with the speed in which girls get to their non-sensical "Self-Righteousness" mode. Since I expected this, I didn't react, drank a sip of water from it, kept it inside my bag, put the ear phones on and continued listening to music.
It must have been about 10-15 minutes since this happened when I was almost in sleep nirvana when something poked the side of my abdomen distinctively. It was definitely not some dream, it was physical. I woke up to find the girl was trying to wake me up.
To be Continued...