They say if there’s an innocent amongst a hundred criminals, the law of the universe is to save the hundred rather than punish one innocent. Surely there was one such innocent on the bus I took back home.
The fates of hundreds intertwined, we travel as a single unit in a bus from Hyderabad to Bangalore. The fate of the bus is the fate of all of us, and my strong belief is that the fate of all of us is indeed the fate of the bus.
Context: I’m traveling from Hyderabad to Bengaluru by Orange travels.
2:45am: I wake up to see two women standing at the driver’s seat, and a man checking some diesel pipes in the bus.
Me: What’s up?
The woman standing: We have a diesel leak in the bus- they’re figuring if it is fixable.
Technical guy who analysed the issue- It is just a pipe problem, fixable in ten minutes, but we don’t have the necessary material to fix it.
Orange Bus customer care: Please fix it using an alternate material available.
By then frantic passengers: We aren’t gonna board a bus we know might go up in flames. Sorry nope. Find us alternate transport.
Me: Curiously looking around.
2:55am: 6-8 of us off the bus.
Driver: *screaming* Don’t worry Saar, we will refund your money entirely!
A miffed passenger: Money? Who cares about the refund! Get me a way to go to Bangalore.. now!
Bus coordinator: (to the driver) Can you stop talking right now? Just shut up.
Me: Outside is a cool breeze (which is just the right amount of cool, not cold), the moon looks strangely beautiful (and bigger?), and I realise I am still alive. We didn’t have any fatal accident, refund or no refund, Bangalore or no Bangalore in the next few hours, refreshingly alive.
And then I laughed. Out loud. The girl who laughs when she loses her way around any place on vacation seems to have not changed. One bit. I like it. I don’t try to hid my smile amidst all the tension. Just text my manager that I’m definitely going to late the next day. Don’t text anyone else because I’m actually not one bit worried, but anyone else close to me would be freaked to hear this. I put my phone back in, and a woman around me strikes conversation with the three of us who are standing with her.
By now, two buses have passed us, one of them being an Orange travels itself, both merciless to even stop and ask what the problem is. Disgrace to humanity- but that doesn’t faze me. However one other passenger is beyond livid, and is asking what kind of orange travels bus goes off without checking on another that’s in trouble. I’m too absorbed about my good fortune that nothing really has happened to be worried or angry.
I’m just smiling away still, and this woman says “Thank your stars we are our alive and haven’t gone up in flames!” I’m amused. She thinks like me. I laugh. She misunderstands, “there has been one such incident of the same bus on the same highway”, she explains. I’m surprised. I thought Orange was a very safe bus to travel in.
By then another bus (of Morning Star) stops, takes us in though they are completely booked, and let’s us sit on the floor in the space between the two columns of seats they have. Thank God that I have experience to sit down, four hours of travel sitting in some posture close to padmasana is not the biggest ordeal. Three of them have crouched sideways and attempting sleep, I doubt they realise they are going to feel cramped on one side of the body in about 20 minutes’ time. However sitting cross legged is not an option for them, so I stay quiet. A few men who also got in have comfortably settled in crossed legged too. And then I attempt to sleep. And succeed. I keep waking up in between, but there’s absolutely zero tension or worry or any such during the whole time, so the sleep was strangely good quality. I guess there is an inner adventure lover in me- and any deviation from routine that does not involve life risk is something I welcome with open arms. Actually no guessing, it’s a definite.
I had to change a bus in the morning from Devanahalli to get to Silk Board, and a kind gentleman offered me a seat on his single sleeper berth. I took it, only to realise that the door would hit my legs each time it opened, since that was the first seat. And oh, did I mention long legs? Never have I so strongly felt about wanting shorter legs- thoughts were along the lines of- long legs are needed if one is in modelling, which I am not remotely associated with. What’s the use of this? Sigh.
In the last 24 hours, I have seen a lot of humanity- in a person who gave me a seat when I changed buses in the morning, in a bus coordinator who gave me entry to the bus while the driver had already turned me away, in the few women with whom five minutes of conversation and sharing a bus journey on literally the floor of a bus was pleasant just thanks to the way we looked at it, in one of the men on our original bus who said “Let all the women and children go by the buses that pass by first, the men can go later.” That was some chivalry at display, ( and might I say sense) considering he had his wife and child traveling with us- and he didn’t mind being left behind while they went ahead of him.
When I put up a WhatsApp display picture which said “Adventure is out there. Go find it”, one of my friends commented saying do you really know what you are asking for? It was intriguing that she asked me that- I thought okay I have asked for adventure for an entire day (that’s how long the dp lasted), let me take it off and so I did.
So this whole incident had me thinking of three important things:
- Who was that one innocent- rather who were the bunch of innocents (for lack of a better word) whose fates were strong enough to decide that the bus didn’t meet anything fatal? Whoever they were, much gratitude to them- one can never tell.
- While I wondered why exactly did I have such an experience, I realised that it was my call for adventure that brought this upon me- and am just happy that I didn’t miss the experience- in fact, I devoured it :P
- Strongly realised that life is not a one way street- what you seek is seeking you! So what are YOU seeking?