On the 6th of October, I boarded the bus to reach home. It was raining heavily and needless to say, the bus was crowded. The rain stopped after a while. As time passed, with the bus reaching different stops, the number of people in the bus only increased. Its a sight to see so many people in such small place within the bus. I felt suffocated and starting coughing. I asked the girl sitting beside the window to open it so that we could get some fresh air to breathe. She stared at me for a moment as if I had disturbed her peace in life and replied "I won't , ask the old woman behind you to open the window".
I failed to understand how she was able to say so, especially when the bus was crowded. I did not want to get into arguments, I was already feeling the heat of anger raise within me. After about 15 min, God knows what changed her mind, she opened the window. The feel of cool breeze eased me.
People, especially women were having little fights with each other. I could hear, "you are stamping my feet", "you stole my seat" everywhere. When a number of strangers are literally strangled all these are definitely bound to happen.
At one stop, the old woman behind me wanted to alight. She went in the direction of exit and men started yelling at her telling "old lady, there is no place for you to go through, take the other exit".They refused to budge to allow the poor soul to pass. She was trying to explain that she could not walk much or squeeze through the crowd. All her explanations went in vain. She then began to move in the direction of the other exit. Women spoke to her equally rude. In between the high drama, the driver started to move the bus. The poor lady shouted at the top of her feeble voice to stop. The driver shot back at her telling it was her fault to have not been ready for getting off the bus. I realized I was holding my breath all through the drama. Finally to my relief the old lady got off the bus at the intended stop.
People in the bus started laughing at her after she left. I had tears in my eyes. What was her fault, is it that she was old or is it that she could not afford to take a private transport and rather took the bus? And what was wrong with the driver?Could he have not been kind and waited for a couple of minutes more to allow the elderly citizen to alight?
All of us are in a hurry. But hurry to go where? And are we so much into our own problems that we are not able to empathize with others like the old woman? What happened to her will be our plight in a few years from now. Would we still laugh at ourselves?
I looked up and saw a pregnant woman standing just behind the drivers' seat. I was already upset and this only added to my gloom. Gone are the days when youngsters would gracefully get up and offer their seats to elders and women who were on the verge of experiencing motherhood. Gone are the days when people were courteous to help our elders. I had just witnessed a set of people who failed to show humanity to people who needed a little more consideration. I was wondering if all of this is because of the change in out lifestyles or because of the ever increasing population. We are so busy through our day that at the end of it we are too tired to travel standing in a crowded bus. Not much energy left, huh?
The bus reached my stop and I managed to squeeze through people and reach the exit on time. I did not want to be shouted by the driver, you see. I thanked God that I was escaping the scene which had started to trouble me. I was wondering if this was a bad experience or a sad one. After giving it a thought I decided, it was BOTH.