Wednesday, January 17, 2007

old tales

With thanks to Vish.
For interruptions and such :D

There was a story I never got around to putting up on the blog, so I will tell it to you now, yes? :)

Once, our college declared a holiday on account of some issues that the board had to resolve. We assumed, naturally, that our department, as part of the college, would also be closed. We felt further justified in this assumption because the college buses were not running that day.
At eight in the morning, then, as I was enjoying my Hindu crossword and my morning cup of tea, I was midly surprised to get a call from a number that my phone insisted belonged to "H.O.D."
"Yennamma?" he said, "Yoowar class is not coming to kaallege??? You are having the Theory of Aarchitecture class with me, isn't it?"
"But sir!" I said, "There are no college buses, and we were told (notice the lack of any actual blame. Four years of being the class representative have trained me well) that the college was closed today..."
"No, no! You have to come", I was told sternly. "Call yoowar classmates and tell them to come also."
I told him I'd get in touch with whomever I could, but that I could not promise anything, especially because a lot of us lived rather far away.
"Okay", he told me, " but you are class rep of the class, you have to come to the class."
However, being me, I meekly agreed, told him it would take me a very long time because of the 40 kilometre distance and then, after some frantic messaging and numerous unsavoury epithets, I prepared to depart.
Fifteen minutes later, I grabbed my bag and an umbrella (a nice jolly big black one with a green crooked handle. i hated that umbrella but my little green one had been stolen a week prior (sigh), so I had little choice in the matter) and left the house
I walked about a kilometre to the HAL bus stand, which is where I used to find my transport back in the day. Nowadays, of course, I live elsewhere and find my transport similarly.
I crossed three roads and waited at the stop, regretting the two minute cold bath, the lack of moisturizer on my face, and the fat old man staring at my behind.
How did I know he was staring at my behind? Well, because, well, I just knew.
Plus I caught him at it.

Then, after a long wait, a bus headed to Market arrived. It wasn't a regular BMTC, but rather one of those virulent green numbers which always seem to smell like dog poop and baby vomit and cheap alcohol. Not my preferred vehicles, definitely.
I was in a hurry, however, so I hopped on regardless, catching my umbrella handle in the door, hitting a guy with my bag; etc etc.
I got in, and glared at all the gents sitting pretty on the big cushioned seats; but these particular buses, unfortunately, have no convenient sign that says "LADIES"; so I could do nothing but stand around waiting for a woman to get up.
(chivalry is, in fact, dead.), says the audience.
After four or five stops, I got comfortable enough, precariously balanced between seats, to take out my wallet. And then, as I was digging in my bag, I realized that i didn't have my wallet. Or my little blue hello kitty bag with my spare change.
As a matter of fact, the awful truth was that I had. no. money. whatsoever.

Hence began the first act. This involved muttered curses, throwing up of hands in the air and then clutching the seats as the bus lurched, and a couple of *facepalms* into the bargain.
I'd just about made up my mind to leap off at the next stop, when the conductor saw my face and asked me what the matter was.
I told him I had no money, and I milked my tears for all they were worth; and he said, "Paravagilla" and just waved me to an empty seat.
(the man's a prince), says the audience.

And after I'd spent the next twenty minutes thanking my fate and the stars and other special people; and marvelling at the way people will always, always surprise you, a new set of problems raised their ugly little heads.

For I was on my way to college, which meant I would have to catch another bus at Market to actually get there...and although I'd been unbelievably lucky and found the nicest conductor alive, chances are I wouldn't be so lucky twice.
The enticing prospect that faced me was this:
I was going to be at Market (City Market, K.R. Market), one of the busiest and messiest and most noisy places around, dizzyingly distant from the homes of any people I knew, with no money, and no way of going anywhere.

(i can feel the panic rising) murmured my audience.
Yes, I felt it too, said I. I panic very well. It's an art I have perfected.

We were almost at M.G. Road at this point, and I was hyperventilating and sending waves of panic signals at anyone who happened to be looking in my direction.
Including time-tested methods such as wringing one's hands, shooting pensive looks from under a furrowed knitted brow, biting one's lip, and twisting the handle of the umbrella till it made little squeaking sounds.
It was, you realize, a performance. One worth remembering.
After a couple of stops, a young woman, in her late twenties or so, got on to the bus and sat down next to me. I kept looking at her and giving her a full blast of my puppy-dog eyes, and then, boldly, I went ahead and asked her if she could lend me some money.
The way I figured it, I could buy one ticket to College, and then borrow money from some of the guys at the hostel (which has also happened before, oh my, what a story that was).
So I told her, "Excuse me, I don't have any money with me, and I need to go to college. Do you think you could just lend me enough money to buy one ticket?"
She said, "How much is it?"
I told her "Six rupees".
And she gave me twenty, and said, "You'll need to go home also, no?"
:'( People are beautiful

So I took down her phone number and her address, chatted with her till she got off a few minutes later, and then sat back, very content with my lot in the world despite the fact that, of all the students from my class who lived in my locality, I was the only one going to college. I felt like a good human being.

When I finally got to market, the green bus went completely off the usual route, and ended up in a little side road that I had never been in before. So I wandered around the bus stop and got slightly lost, asked people for directions, and stepped in slush and had other such enjoyable experiences.

I reached the main bus stand, and called my HOD again.
"Sir", I told him, "I've just reached Market; I will be in college in another half an hour."
"Actually..." he began.
I paused, sensing something unexpected.
"It's okay, ma", he continued. "College is not running today, I will give you day off. We will have special class afterwards. You do one thing, you don't come to college. You go home itself."

"Thank you, sir", I said.

I walked over to the other end of the bus stand.
I went home.
The End.

I almost miss architecture adventures.

disclaimer: story has suffered memory loss over two years, compounded with embellishments. please excuse.
also, damn, but my a'venture posts are too long.

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