My stay in Chennai while working for Billroth hospitals, had me take one of the longest bus trips everyday from Velacherry to Shenoy nagar. Although, most of the days I found myself standing on the foot-board in a crowded bus waiting for hours in the heat near vadapalani signal. There were days when you see a few interesting people and incidents.
Like the driver who was a Rajnikanth fanatic. He wears sunglasses, sports a Rajni like hairdo and even drives the bus with the typical Rajni’s “style”. It was fun watching him pray to a Rajni’s poster before he started the bus. Such was his love for the hero. I would always try to board the bus he was driving just to watch his antics.
There was also this beggar I used to see almost everyday. What was strange about him was he never begged, he just demanded angrily that you give him money. I think he was a bit not mentally well. But it was amazing to see that this approach of his always worked. I don’t know if it was because the people were amused by him or the pity they felt over his age or was it just because they were just plainly scared, but it worked. There were also days when a few passengers amused themselves by asking the beggar a few questions before they gave him money.
But the incident I found interesting was the one that involved me (of course!). It was a hot evening and the bus was packed to its maximum. As usual the bus had to wait a whole one hour just to cross vadapalani signal. I was unlucky that day to not get a seat and had to stand the whole time. The bus was getting hot with the exhaust from other vehicles and the normally hot October climate. People were sweating and I, in my mind, was cursing my boss for letting me go late that day. And so it happened that I noticed people here and there cursing the heat, fanning themselves with handkerchiefs and notebooks and looking up at my head. I was amazed at people repeatedly looking at my head. Then I realized they were looking above my head at the ceiling of the bus. I looked up and noticed a ventilator door. It was closed. Just out of curiosity I opened the ventilator and a fresh breeze of air came through. All the passengers started clapping their hands and smiled at me. They were applauding their savior for the “brave” deed. I was a bit embarrassed and kept nodding my head at people. The conductor and the bus driver were laughing. The whole mood of the bus was a bit up. A small breeze of air was all it took to brighten the day for these people who worked all day and were returning home tired and all sweaty because of the heat.
It sure made my day too 🙂