was telling you about, well, correction…. had begun to tell you all about an incident on a bus I was fortunate enough to catch and has the makings of a most splendid anecdote, not to mention offering most refreshing view of social norms and random acts of kindness and consideration for others that – I am most pleased to see – have not entirely vanished from this overly materialistic, self-centred, thoughtless and “fast” moving world. But well, let me not get onto another of my hobby horses and come back to the matter at hand, at the quickest – given that in the first post touching nearly three-quarters of a thousand words, I have not to come to the issue before the 700th word or so.
You may catch the background in the first post in this series. But to offer you a brief recapitulation – if you are not inclined to go back to it at this moment in time – I was on my way, on my off-day, to the old parts of the city where I intended to look for Urdu books and then meet a contact for business over a splendid repast, or so I had planned. However, let me not going ahead of myself. It will suffice to say I was in a bus, and a stop or so before where I had to get off, I stood up from my seat (like a few others) to limber up the limbs and restore circulation. Ahead of the small clique was an ancient-wallah, who apparently wanted to catch the bus directly in front and had annoyed the driver already by seeking the vehicle be stopped and the front door be opened – when the bus was pulling out from a stop! The man did the same when the bus stopped briefly at a red light between two stops, and finally the driver had enough!!
He leaned towards the ancient-wallah and remarked – with a marked sense of wit – “Is umr par to chuha pakda nahi jaayega, bus kaise pakdoge? (At this age, you won’t be able to catch a mouse, then how do you propose to catch a bus).” The comment, though in rather indelicate terms, was not without fairness. To jump out, run and jump up into an accelerating bus ahead of you is quite an athletic feat and a-w did not seem quite up to it, honestly speaking (I do myself remember me once trying the same thing at a red light – it must a good12 years ago in the year when I first came to their metropolis and had morning classes at the university – and undergoing the mortification of both going away, leaving me standing crest-fallen on the roadside – and I was a great deal younger in those days). But coming back to the present….
The driver’s comment did evoke some titters from the small knot present (excluding me, of course) and I must say the a-w did take it quite sportingly. He said something in reply, which I didn’t catch and the driver did hasten to make amends. He said it was good to joke around but to a respectful limit with people of the age of a-w, and this sort of repartee was what he could indulge with his own parents. Aye, and it did good to make people laugh, or even raise a smile, since it did raise up blood levels – this is what he said, or words to the effect anyway – since I was not standing taking down his statements verbatim – and I must admit that I did not, at that point of time, see much in it though I did file it away in my capacious brain (it was only on my way back, when I had to wait for a direct bus home on the other side of the road for nearly three-quarters of an hour that the prospects of the story did manifest themselves to me and I did resolve to put in words as soon as I could – that day only if possible – though I couldn’t. But its done now.
But to come back to the point, the driver then displayed further sterling qualities, manoeuvring his bus right ahead of the two buses in front (including the one a-w hoped to catch) at the in the bus stop, telling a-w that neither could move out of the bus bay until he did, and thus a-w could easily hop on the one he wanted. It was my stop too, and I also wanted to catch one of those and I did.
And as I said, it is a briefly incident, lasting all of two minutes, three at the outside and having but a handful of dialogue – but for all that, memorable in itself – at least to me….
To be continued….