Travelling in an Overcrowded Bus
Travelling in an overcrowded bus is an ordeal, an act of bravery and stamina. One’s patience is stretched to the maximum. A first time passenger in such a bus cannot but weep.
Once I had to wait for a particular local bus. One bus came but it was overloaded. I could not gather enough strength to board it. After some time another bus came It was equally overcrowded. I had no choice but to board it. It was packed to full capacity. A host of passengers wanted to board it. I held the handle and a big push saw me inside the bus. I was on its floor. The bus gathered speed and I could not get down either.
With great difficulty and tolerating abuses from fellow-passengers I balanced myself. Inside the bus it was suffocating. Mixed smell of sweat and perspiration pierced into my nostrils. To find a place to stand erect I must have trod on many feet. I was sandwiched. The driver knowingly applied brakes to enjoy the sandwiching. I fell onto the lap of a lady passenger. She saw towards me with eyebrows twisted. I uttered my apologies but she went on muttering abuses.
A hefty man was to get down and his destination was coming nearer. He pushed me to one side vigorously. I landed on a college girl. She raised a hue and cry and created a scene. People called me ‘ruffian’. I had to tolerate all this. At every stop people who boarded the bus were more than those who left.
The conductor was enjoying his puffs of a bidi but it was difficult for me to breathe properly. My destination was coming near. I made my way by pushing many passengers by my elbow. They shouted at me but I did not see towards them. I was near the driver’s cabin but I found nothing to hold on. I placed both my hands on the mesh to balance myself alighted from the bus and took a long breath.
I composed myself. Lo, my pocket had been picked. My clothes got crumpled, my shoes went out of shape and my body ached a lot. I was totally tired. This tiresome experience taught me a lot. I found myself physically, mentally and economically bankrupt. I took a pledge never again to travel by an overcrowded bus.