I was in Bangalore for a short course and spent most of my time travelling in the bus. The bus was pretty convenient, its just that 4 hours every day spent only in travel hurts a bit.
But it also provides the opportunity to meet new people, to meet new stories.
One lady with light eyebrows and dark curly hair would often sit across me in the morning bus. She would have a small dot of sindoor above her bindi. She would almost always be on phone, ignoring my feeble smile, a meek attempt at acknowledging acquaintance. She almost never looked me in the eyes, keeping me at a distance. She wore a salwar kurta every day, well fitted, she looked disciplined, a little stern, I never saw her smile.
One day as we both looked outside the window, our hands resting on the space in front of it, I noticed a cockroach moving towards me. I do not appreciate them trespassing in my territory, at least not on me please. When it came close enough to my elbow, and I was not comfortable, I tapped close to where it stood, and it started moving in the opposite direction, in her direction. That was not my intent, but she gave me a venomous look. I gave a stupid grin, I don’t think it worked, anyhow the cockroach did not want to climb on her and left to greet the passengers behind her.
Next time, she chose not to sit across me. The conductor did. He was a sweet fellow, thick moustache, lean and agile.
It was almost dinner time, and the bus suddenly stopped at a crossing. The conductor made a dash and returned with the speed of lightning. He was carrying a packet which was evidently containing food packed for home. the bus was filled with the smell of Sambhar.I was curious to know what it was. he smiled and said Idli-Sambhar, for the family. He was beaming, the driver too was beaming, so much happiness over food, I guess I was also beaming.
He must have fixed the timing beforehand so that he could rush and pick up the packet. He must have planned beforehand. I wondered what occasion it was, was it a birthday?
As a child I would always look forward to my mother returning from work. Often she would carry back cakes, samosas or some sweets. At times there were cream rolls, buns or raspberries. I would run up to her and quickly check her bags. Even today, when I am an adult, I always look forward to her return, whether from market, holiday or home, I know she would get something, and something especially packed for me. She would have planned it beforehand. She would be beaming.