A world apart

There are certain bus routes, on some days, at specific times in Chennai when buses can be half empty. On such rare occasions, sitting by yourself at the window seat, cruising through streets lined with trees on both sides and sea breeze cooling the back of your neck can be very calming to the senses.

It was at one such time that I was waiting for a bus, accompanied by Frederick Forsyth (thankfully, for the bus was pretty late) When the bus finally made it to the stop, I was beyond surprised! It was absolutely empty! I mean, it was so empty that it took me at least three minutes to decide where to sit! In fact, if not for general decorum, I might have very well pranced around, experiencing how it feels to sit on every single seat! (Umm..maybe I did do that to a couple of seats.)

I finally chose one right in the middle of the bus, on the left side, bought my ticket and went back to my Forsyth novel. The bus moved on and we crossed three empty stops in a row. Just as I was relishing this once in a lifetime experience, the bus slowed down at a stop and I noticed school kids. Sheesh. Going from their uniform and the black ribbon on the girl's pony tails, they were probably children from a Government school. I knew that meditation ambience was over. In fact, the opposite of meditative atmosphere was about to begin.

They all got into the bus, grinning and waving at the conductor and the driver. 'Ah, great,' I thought since familiarity with driver and conductor breeds obliviousness to noise-making. I went back to my book- at least I was learning how to become a first class assassin.

I think about five minutes had passed before I realized that something was really, weirdly, out of this worldly wrong. Noise. There was almost nil of it. More shocked than intrigued, I gave the bus a sweeping glance (as discretely as possible). And what I saw remains etched in my memory and will always be. Giggles and friendly punches punctuated their very expressive sign language. It was a silent cacophony.

It was a different world that I had been transported to. Just the occasional clap and grunt. I felt like an outsider in that world. Pretty much the way they would probably feel in verbose mine.

But, a happy outsider I was. Maybe it was the positive energy that children always emanate. But when I think about it now, I'm quite sure that it was the experience of being a part of a world where I could feel the stories and conversations without having to hear a word.


Divia said…
Its a little sisters of the poor deaf and dumb school in gemini right? i felt the same way years ago when i was riding back from Stella, tho it was a crowded bus.
!! Oxymoron !! said…
Oh is it? Not sure Divs. You experienced it too?! That's awesome :)
that was so beautiful ash :)!...both your experience and your rendition of it [yep i am likening it to a musical piece :D!]....you put it across so beautifully that i felt as if i was on that bus myself.....in the first row on the left side ;)

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