Monday, April 23, 2007

Selfish Traveller

Last week I had been to kerala for my daughter's 'Iruvathettu kettu' and naming ceremony. After a lot of searching and discussion, myself and my wife finalized our daughter name as : Anagha (meaning :sinless). Thanks to all our colleagues and relatives who suggested and forwarded many names. The function went off well and was attended by relatives from both mine and my wife's behalf. Our child was introduced to the new relatives and on the other end the relatives got promoted to different designations like my grandmother became great grandmother, parents became grandfather and grandmother, likewise ammavan, kochamma, vallyachan, etc.

I went to kerala only for three days, only to attend the function. I had informed my wife before my onward journey to kerala, to block the return bus ticket because due to summer vaccation and festival season there were chances of not getting the ticket. My wife contacted the Bus travel agent at Kottarakara over phone got one ticket blocked to bangalore for 19th April. I reached kerala and on 18th April I once again contacted the Booking agency to reconfirm about the blocked ticket. The lady replied that one seat is blocked in the name of Sudhi. I inquired if it is okay if I paid and collected the ticket on the day of travel before boarding bus. The lady replied that it is okay.
19th April, afternoon 1300 hrs I reached the Bus Booking Agency. I paid the ticket amount and collected the boarding pass. The lady informed that my seat number is 20 and the bus is SPS Travels. The bus starts from Adoor which is around 15 kms from kottarakara. she informed that I will be provided dropped till Adoor by another bus. Everything was okay, I waited for the pickup bus. Some other passengers were also waiting for the pickup bus. The bus arrived at 1430 hrs, Myself and the other co-passengers got into bus. We reached Adoor where the SRS travel bus was waiting for us. So far so good.

I got into the bus and was trying to locate my seat. Seat No. 20. To my surprise... I saw somebody sitting on Seat No. 20....that too a girl. I asked her seat number, she replied - Seat No. 19. She shifted to her seat. I bet that the girl might have also been surprised to see that her next seat partner will be a Male. The girl might have been around 19 or 20 yrs old. I went to the person who seemed to be the incharge of ticket checking of the bus and asked him if any other vaccant seat is available in this bus. He replied that the Bus is full and it is not at all possible. I came back to my seat and made myself comfortable on my seat. Suddenly a middle aged man came beside me with a smile and told me that the girl is her daughter who is going to bangalore for nursing course. He then requested me if I can just get her the city Bus to Magadi Road after reaching Bangalore . I told him that I will be getting down before the last stop so it is not possible for me to show her the bus to Magadi Road. The smile on the face of that man disappeared and after talking to his daughter he got off the bus. I too was also in a totally confused and sort of angry mood. The girl had a big bag that she had kept it by the side of her leg and somehow whe had adjusted herself. She was continously looking out of the window. The bus was rushing ahead through the Ernakulam Highway. The movie 'Vellinakshatram' was being played in the Bus. I was totally lost in my own thoughts. I was thinking that how this girl who is travelling for the first time to Bangalore, is going to reach her destination. I remembered the face of the girl when her father said goodbye to her, I could see that she was trying very hard to prevent the tears to flow from her filled eyes. I soon fell asleep and when I woke up it was 8.30 pm and the bus had stopped for dinner at a hotel near Thrissur. I had brought my dinner from home, I had my dinner, had a walk outside. Everybody in bus got down but the girl was still on her seat, she was having her dinner. Maybe her parents might have asked her not to get down the bus inbetween. The bus started and I got in, A part of my mind was tempting me to start a conversation with the girl but another part was holding me back. The girl soon closed her eyes and seemed to be sleeping. Suddenly my thougts took a new shape. My new born child's face came to my mind and I felt that tomorrow maybe if my daughter is in such a situation, then???? Suddenly I made up my mind and thought that I too will get down at the last stop and help this girl board the bus to the destination and then only I will go to my house. With all these thoughts I slept off .
The fresh, cold air coming through the bus window made me awake from my sleep. The bus had reached Bangalore. The girl was still staring outside through the window. See turned to me and asked where to get down? I draw a route map over a piece of paper and told her how to get the city bus to Magadi Road. The bus stopped at Madiwala and I took my luggage to get down. The girl was silently looking outside. I asked whether she wants me to accompany me to the last stop and get help her in getting the bus to her destination. She declined and said that she will find the way. I could see a small smile for the first time across her lips, I dont know what that smile meant, was it a sarcastic smile at me for not helping her or was it a smile for thanking me....thanking me for the safety that she felt till now. I took my luggage and got down from the bus and walked towards the bus stop.
The next two days various questions kept haunting me... ...has she reached her destination?, did she make a call to her parents who are waiting at kerala to hear that she had reached safely, why have I became so selfish for not helping a girl in need?, why..........why.... why....? I am still trying to find the answers to these questions......


Anonymous Shankar said...

Hi Sudhi, lots to reply to this blog.. yes lots to reply......
First of all I need to ask, to what have I got promoted to after your daughters birth??? Mama? Kochichan? or Chetan? :-)

Okay, now about the other part of the story! its so interesting that me in your stage would have done the same thing (if it happened few years ago) as we all tend to be selfish. I am surprised that you didn't help her out 100%, but Sudhi, be happy that you guided her properly and that no news paper came out with any strange news (WHICH MEANS SHE HAS REACHED HER DESTINATION SAFELY, :-)....)
If you ask me about the gals smile, then I would say "it was the smile, asking you to help her if you could do so" ..........anywayz.. thats okay!!!!!!
Now, as said, if I was in your place I would have guided anybody who asked to do so for the very reason that I had faced the same problem like the gal did and it was when I went to Delhi and Pune. There was none to guide me, being a guy, I found it so difficult, so image about a gal??? I still remember the agony I went through when I found that I am the foreign element in that society of Northies.... :)

Well, once again congrat! for being a Father... gud nite!

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Shankar said...

Hey! Sudhi.. its just a reminder to tell you that I have been checking your blog daily thinking you would have updated, but every day i go back thinking you will surely put in a new one the next time i check.... Hope you get what am trying to say.. so, pls update it.. tnx in advance.. :-).
Hope you and everybody at home is keeping fine (i didnt forget your small lil' kid :))

9:28 AM  
Blogger reshma M said...

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9:48 PM  

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