Thursday, December 11, 2003

A strange kind of woman...

I get up early at around 6:45 am, shortly after the alarm rings. I have to finish my environment presentation. Take a quick shower and wait for the bus at the stop. The daily routine of all people... catching a bus. The bus comes late... as usual. I take a seat at the back, this is unusual, with Chitra.
Today the spectacle presented to me is different as I always sit in the front look out the window and get lost in the world connected in a chain of colours provided by a never-ending display of shops of varying heights and proportion . Today I see the world in the people hanging on to the poles or the bars that run at the top inside the bus and the numerous black heads with no names in front of me.
A feature of the public bus is always overcrowded. My eyes are fixed at the crowd inside the bus and I notice a woman ...a head rather, over the seated women looking towards us. Ok, looking for an empty seat, I think. I see the crowd parting, making way for the woman as she heads towards the back seat. She squeezes in between me and the man sitting next to me and turning to me says, " move over". Rude, i think and I keep mum as we pass the Koddambakkam brigde. I expected her to sit near Chitra because there was a seat empty beside her. But the man sitting near the window looked rather dishevelled and poor. A labourer, perhaps. The man sitting beside me looks clean, properly dressed and a office-goer. The man who had been sitting alone in front of us leaves and she goes there and sits near the window. Good. I can do without a picky woman who just dropped from heaven. She has a scarf tied around her head and looks like a peacock... not that she is attractive or beautiful. Its just that the colour of the scarf is Peacock green bordered by black, maroon and blue.
The man sitting behind her starts coughing painfully, sneezes and produces repulsive sounds in his throat. The woman gives a disgusted glance and shifts to the inner seat. Chitra and I share an amused smile. The coughing goes on incessantly. Poor woman. She could catch cold. She looks rather upset, angst-ridden and irritated. Fiddles around and as people pour out at the next stop, spots an empty seat ahead and jumps towards it. So much for a bus ride.
The coughing slackens. Miracle or was it some kind of prank, an answer to the disgusted look?
She gets off at the next stop. Good riddiance. A strange woman.

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