Bearing a confused mind and to fulfill my mother’s wish to meet my relatives, my journey started, thinking more about the people I am going to miss and trifle about the ones I am going to meet.
Weighing both time and my pocket status, I decided to take the cheapest means of travel, bus, which eventually would prove to be the worst decision of the day. I was headed towards Noida which is about 60 km from our office at Gurgaon. What is your expected time to cross a distance of just 60 km when you have all means of Transport? – one hour, 2 hours or lets say two and half hours in the worst case. I was prepared for the worst case but even in some cases preparing for the worst in not enough.
It had already started to rain by the time I reached a bus stand near our office, after 15 minutes of walk. There was no single trace of a bus in sight and as the time passed by with still no sign of any bus, I started to rethink the decision to commute by bus. Some time I would eye the highway for a bus and in next moment the sky in a hope that it would stop raining. Finally to put my anxious anticipation to rest, a lonesome bus made a screeching stop in the bus stand. I was not sure whether to take that bus or not. But a beggar can never be chooser; there was no other option so I had to go where-ever it took.
After one hour I was in Dhaula Kuwan, one of the bus stands of Delhi and the worst place to visit. Now in Dhaula Kuwan the confusion I was faced was of a different magnitude and meaning. One hour ago there was no bus and no options for me but now there were lot of buses making me totally confused as to which bus to take. Finally after series of interviews about routes and buses I boarded the right bus. Thanks to the gentleman, who spotted the right bus for me and took me out of the confusion.
It was almost an empty bus and as usual after some time a person took the seat beside me. At first glance, he looked very unimpressive. Very thin and black and seemed like he was above age of 45. As I had traveled for more than one and half hour, drenched in rain, I was in no mood to start a conversation with him. He broke the silence when our bus stopped without any valid reason. He started comparing past and present Delhi on the basis of bus service. Apparently according to him, as Delhi is growing in unprecedented pace, the bus service is growing in the opposite. He was in Delhi for the last 30 years, watching all the development and yet he had only one complaining story to tell about Delhi. What I gained from the conversation is that, world is moving and there are only two ways: one: just to watch the development passively and blatantly explain all as a story, as my stranger friend did, or like his friends, to participate in the development and get benefits from that. After one hour of conversations, it ended in a humor, when he told me he is a security personnel. It would always remain an unanswered question how a 5 feet, 40 KG person can provide security to any other person?
After that security person got off the bus, I was again with an empty seat beside me. There was almost no hope for me to reach my relative’s home on time. My preparation for worst case had already failed and I was getting late every moment. Heavy rain pouring down and darkness spreading its wings outside reinforced the sense of delay. After few stops, my empty sit was occupied again by a beautiful lady.
I was already impatient, glancing at my mobile every minute and to add to my impatience was the uncomfort due to hot and humid weather. Probably she sensed my uneasy state of being, she asked me if I was alright with a gentle smile. I explained how can be I utterly uncomfortable after traveling 3 hours in a bus and heading towards an unknown place about which I have no idea. She looked at me, gave a smile again and said “You look new to this place..” and without even waiting for my reply she put another question, “Where are you going..?” I remained silent looking at her with tensed eyes. To alleviate my anxiety, she explained all the routes of the bus and asked where I wanted to go. Then I came to know that I had boarded the wrong bus. I had to go to Noida but this bus, Bus no. 392 was heading towards Mayur Bihar. What a fun after traveling three hour by bus you notice that you are in wrong bus!! I was helpless and the only picture that reverberated in my mind was calling a cab and regret of my decision to take a bus instead. Again she took the lead and said, “You are not in a completely wrong bus, you are near Noida, so just get down to next stop and get a tempo you will probably reach your destination by 20-30 minutes…” Thanking her and my Ganesha I got down of the bus in the next stop.
It was almost 9 when I got down and it was still raining heavily. I asked for a tempo and without asking for price, which I usually do in most of the cases, I just say “chalo bhaiya!!” Finally after 4 hours of traveling and using almost all means of transport I finally reached my destination.
All in all if I exclude the time factor, the journey was a good experience. Especially people are helpful and everyone has something to share with other. Words of wisdom and helping hand are oozing out from everywhere, we just need to be an active participant.