Slice of Life

Thought I would put in a light-hearted post after a long time..

Well, I had a range of experiences today.. everyday occurrences but I enjoyed every moment and savoured them consciously. Me and a friend decided to leave office together as we have been doing for a while now. For various reasons, we have been missing our buses quite regularly. In such times, we take two buses. Both of us have a supposedly good sense of humour to the extent of weirdness. We laugh a lot and find almost everything funny. We are two silly bums, in other words.

We managed to clamber onto an 18K bus. We did it because the bus was empty. The bus was not going anywhere close to our destination. We decided to go to another stop where we would have a better choice of buses. In the bus, we clung on for dear life, as it swerved and swayed, challenging our centres of gravity pretty gravely. We saw a bunch of bumbling fools (jealousy!) grab the empty seats. So we stood on, convincing ourselves that our stop was indeed not so far. The bus hemmed and hawed its way through signals and traffic. The temperature was not agreeable to the two of us especially considering our ample body frames. We waited for an aeon before the bus hit a signal. I had a bright idea to get off the bus right there. I imagined that the stop we were supposed to go to was closer to the signal. You can bet the last two rupees in your pocket that I was wrong, for a sure win.

My innocent friend got down along with me and we had to walk quite a bit before we reached a zebra crossing. Luckily for me he did not notice the distance. At the crossing, another bunch of blundering idiots stood gaping at the vehicles pass by. Suddenly, the whole crowd began crossing the road and I too was among them. Halfway down the road I realized that there was a big blue bus (a blue and white bus actually, but that would not sound so alliterative) thundering towards me at top speed. (I do have tendencies to exaggerate)..Luckily for me I was near the median. However an old lady behind me would have been reduced to sauce if she had not broken into a run. I was about to drop one or two of my pearls of cynical wisdom about the bus driver’s indifference to road rules, when I noticed the traffic police giving it to all of us. The light had been red for the pedestrians. He was asking the old lady if she considered herself to be a sixteen-year-old. As I usually engage myself in mental preoccupations of a higher order,
I am not expected to notice common things such as traffic lights. So I excused myself.

We walked towards the other bus stop. My friend has a general tendency to amble towards the middle of the road as he walks. So, I had to keep dragging him by his elbow, back to the side of the road. After what seemed like five minutes, which was exactly how much it was, we were at the other bus stop. Here I looked to my left and saw an ancient sage of cullinary skills (I bet that nobody called the Kaiyendhi Bhavan wala that way ever before in the history of humankind.) A sudden temptation overtook me. I had never ever imagined eating at a roadside food stall before. It was not in the remotest of my dreams. But as I saw him whip something up in a huge vessel, I knew. It was Bhel Puri. I had to have it. That is how temptations are. Beginning with an appeal to the senses, moving to a hint of desire, a conviction that one deserved the object of desire, a cocksure belief that one could attain it….hell it was only Bhel Puri!! I looked at my friend and said “Hey! Bhel Puri!”

We walked towards the “Iyarkai Satthunavu Maiyam” (Natural Health Food Centre) , whose name seemed to reflect the owner’s ironic sense of humour. However, I was beginning to have second thoughts as we got closer. There were trays of eggs and some vague smells emanating from the stall. I looked into the eyes of my friend who was a vegetarian like I am. We decided to brave it. Meanwhile we kept eyeing the bus stop to see if the bus was approaching. My friend told the guy in the shop to make a plate of Bhel Puri. As I watched him whip it up for another customer, I realized that this was not going to be one of those Bhel Puris…it would perhaps taste like onion rice with rasam or something. My friend saw the expression on my face and said “Do you want it or not?” and I said “If the bus does not turn up before the Bhel Puri, then yes!” Now the guy went on to make bread omelette for a bunch of urchins who came after us. I was indignant. I said “Escooz me but our Bhel Puri”..he looked into my eyes and nodded his head…it was obvious he had not grasped a thing in that head of his. Another guy was cutting cucumbers. I told him again. He nodded enthusiastically.
Meantime, I saw a bus at the distant signal. I showed it to my friend. He said “Venuma? Venaama?” I said, “Let us see the bus number.” Now the guy was starting off with the bhel puri. The bus came closer and to my horror I saw it was 12G. Our very own bus. I said, “Cancel it!” and my friend said it to the shop fellow. The fellow seemed to have been waiting for this. He nodded vigorously again as I began running towards the bus. Just as we got to the steps the bus moved and it was gone. I was like “Shit! The hell of a driver noticed us but did not stop!” and what do I see behind the 12G? Another bus – 12. “Hey ! Twelllve!” I shout and run to it. I scramble into it hoping my friend had got in behind me. I look back once I am inside and see him beaming at me. I break into an enormous fit of giggles.

Now we clutch to the bus railings when my friend begins to talk politics. I tell him not to incur the wrath of the people in the bus. I was not prepared for an evening of getting stoned by strangers. I soon realized there was nowhere to hold on to. We were “leaning towards the miraculous”…and there were two men behind us having a small session of benevolence. There were two empty seats and each one was egging the other on, to sit near the window. “Neenga ukkarunga!” said one. “illa…neenga ukkarunga!” said the other. “illa illa neenga ukkarunga!” “illa parava illa neenga ukkarunga!” I watched this for about five seconds and then told my friend to sit in that seat. He went in and sat at the window much to the bewilderment of the two men. And I sat next to my friend. Whew! We began giggling again.

(To be continued…)

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