Friday, March 28, 2008


I like travelling by bus. You may have heard all sorts of negative things about availing public transport in Delhi. All those facts are true - I'll endorse them wholeheartedly. But nobody publicizes the charm of travelling with the masses. One can see so many types of people... each one is unique.

With the modern revolution in mobile phones and advent of ipods, a headset is perhaps the most common thing seen plugged in the ears of urban youngsters. Mark the adjective. Urban. That encompasses young, cool, smart, tech savvy, rich... what not. But learn to expect the unexpected in a bus. There was a man, who is of short height by all means, drastically thin build, and to top it all, a beard which has gone beyond the stage of a stubble purely due to lack of maintenance. He wears a dirty kurta over a dhoti , and along his left side hangs a bag of flaming red with dramatic frills. He is perhaps a priest, one would think. Observe carefully and you would notice a thin wire emerging almost out of nowhere and bifurcating into both his ears. Here comes a modern man for you!!!

The other day, my bus was crowded well beyond expected limits due to some unknown rush. I handed my bags (I seem to be carrying more than one on the wrong days, that too extraordinarily heavy) to the lady seated on the aisle side of a seat, when I noticed her carefully. Seven punctures on each of her ear lobes. Clad in an ordinary saree, she seemed to me to be a rural lady so misfit in the urban setting of Delhi. Suddenly a phone rings, and she withdraws a swank Nokia N-72 from the folds of her saree and starts off in crystal clear English. Gives you a jolt, for sure!! I would have believed her had she been returning from a fancy dress competition.
What a crowded bus does to you is something you dont realize often. Allow me to give a brief description of the bus the way it generally is... it is a 2/2 configuration, with a large portion of one half dedicated for the seating of women. Needless to say, I am mostly seated on that half of the bus, if I am seated at all, that is. One day I happened to be on the other side.. and as I looked out, I realized I recognized only half of the route I cover everyday!! What I was looking at seemed so unfamiliar and I could hardly make out where I was passing through.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Positive mind

The world is a stage set for me, this is my belief. As I step out of the pedestrian subway in the morning after deboarding the bus, I believe that the sun falls on me like a spotlight... brightens up my face, heralding a good beginning to the day ahead. [The spotlight follows me till I reach my destination, scorching my back in summer and warming up my sweaters in winter]. My spirits rise as I scamper up the steps (two at a time) to my office on the third floor, mostly because the lift is often defunct.. I enjoy climbing over the risers which are of 'slightly lesser than standard' dimensions and smile at the guard on duty. On the way back I am delighted to sit at the window of a bus which is so shattered that it doesnt have rods even. No rods and no glass. As my hair bounces in the wind, I wonder how ideal would I have been for someone on the lookout for a model for a shampoo commercial.... there is a brighter side to everything; and it is important that you realize it.

I loved reading books at one time. Dont let the past tense surprise you. During the valuable years, my degrees and my job demanded so much of me that I had to put aside my favourite companion. Whatever time I would get needed to be devoted to things such as going out with friends and family, sleep, etc. The first year of my marriage did me in further, but somewhere down the line, I felt my soul drying..sounds melodramatic, but I felt there is something I need... beyond balancing a career and home. There are many in this world who run families and work at the same time, and I dont know whether they can do all that they want to. I dont think my mother has any regrets such as that I was feeling. I have to wrench some time out, I decided. The people around me seemed so uninterested in books that it was difficult for me to get hold of one. Their only concern is money and all the material comfort one could afford. That is when I discovered e-books... books that could be downloaded and absorbed at will. I had a lot of catching up to do.. books I had only heard about and never could manage to read. I chose to make good use of the time I spent every day in travelling... I download a book of my choice, print few pages at a time, and read it in the bus. It takes immense time to finish a book because of mandatory parameters that are not fulfilled all the time: a seat under the lights is just an example. I devised a system to counter the jerks.. I hold the book (or the papers) in my left hand and grip the wrist with my right hand...release the grip only to turn pages. For once I was happy that modern mobile phones come with FM radio, which, if plugged in, cuts you off from the chaos in the bus. I actually named myself Vidyasagar... he was a great man who studied under the street lamps and I do exactly the same, only the source of light and matter are different. But I read in motion, with lots of disturbances. My credit for my eagerness to read should not be undermined, isnt it?

Along with my reading habit, something that was going down the drain was my handwriting, something I was so proud of. The last time I held a pen to write a paragraph was an incident that had not happened for years. I took to blogging so that I could at least compile thoughts of my complex mind before I lost the enthusiasm to. There are certain people whom I wish to speak to, discuss my likes and dislikes, share my ideas and understand their points of view. But circumstances often pose as barriers - not always can you catch somebody to pour your heart out. I floated the link on a public forum expecting more people to read my mind and comment, so that the interaction can go on. I atleast hope to reach out to the minds I have been looking forward to link up with.