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bindu krishna

Drama Inspirational

4  

bindu krishna

Drama Inspirational

The Bus Ride

The Bus Ride

4 mins
498


It was a hot hot day. I hate summers. The heat and sweat make my head boil, and when my head boils, I am fury personified.  


The day began with the sun rising early, brightly dressed in golden. This grand attire of his was beginning to hurt the eyes. With each passing day, the sun seemed to be shining brighter than the previous day. Summer has to be endured. But I make sure the sun knows that I am unhappy. I complain.


"Summers are not only hot and sweaty, but the days are also long too. More daytime means more work to do. This work is killing me. My boss thinks that this is off-season, so it's an ideal time to prepare for the upcoming orders of the winter months. But who will tell him that it's summer and working in a hot humid days is so difficult." I bombarded my husband with one complaint after another. He was a wise man and knew that the storm will pass, all he has to do is to lie low. 


I left for the bus stop, still fuming and grumbling. The bus was never on time. Today it was late by ten minutes. Finally, when it came, it was filled to the brim. The transport department's bus service is an excellent one, with just one drawback. The buses are not big enough for all the passengers to be seated. Invariably some are left standing. If you have ever traveled in public transport you would understand what a roller coaster ride it is. Now imagine enjoying the same while standing. It takes every ounce of your concentration and every muscle in your body to keep yourself in an erect position.  


I got onto the bus, muttering under my breath, about the unavailability of seats and how unfair it is. I glanced around hoping for a miracle, but it just wasn't my day. The wheels rolled and the bus gave a sudden jerk. Me, along with my oversized bag were thrown forward. Years of experience taught me to balance myself. Still I couldn't help utter an expletive. My eyes fell on a young woman who was smiling at me.  


She was sitting a few inches away and might have heard me. She couldn't repress her smile. Not that I was ashamed, I meant every word I said. She asked, "Would you like to sit auntie?" I don't mind taking a seat but there aren't any available. I told her so in as many words. She smiled again. This time I got a good look at her face. A very ordinary-looking young woman she was, definitely not the goddess of beauty, but her smile was angelic. She got up. "You can take my seat auntie."


"No, no, I'm fine." Usually, I have a ready retort, but looking at her I felt compelled to be polite. Somehow, I don't know-how, she seemed to calm me down. "I am getting down at the next stop. It's just five minutes away. You can take my seat. I insist." She made way for me and I sat down. She was now standing at the place I vacated. "Bye auntie! I have to push my way to the exit, or I will miss my stop." Saying this she moved forward. Moments later the bus slowed down. I tried to spot her but she was lost in the jostling mass of bodies that were entering and exiting the bus.  


I looked out of the window. There she was. She looked up too, caught my eye, and smiled again. It was a smile that seemed to speak volumes. It said, "I understand." It neither had the feel of sympathy and pity, nor the tinge of mock and ridicule. It had an aura of sisterly comradeship, a gentle push of encouragement, and a silent assurance of support. She was left behind as the bus moved forward, but she kept looking at me, the smile liting up her face.  


The face and her smile kept coming back to me. "Are you OK Sujata?" I was asked this question a few times at work. My colleagues felt I was unwell as I wasn't my usual grumpy self! Indeed, I felt calm. It was as if someone closed the overflowing tap. The noise of the rushing water had been muted and the flooding stopped too. It was all silent and still. I could hear my own breathing. It was so peaceful. I closed my eyes, and I could see her smile. I smiled too. I had never realized that a smile could be soothing. 


The next day, I looked for her on the bus. But she wasn't there. Who was she? I wanted to speak to her. Whoever she was, she taught me something valuable that day. Smile, she had told, for it costs nothing but wins you much in return. 


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