Except for Saturday and Sunday, the morning scenario is: at half past eight you open your eyes and the roof is seen. At half past nine, you find yourself at the bus stand. Same thing happens to me too. From past few weeks I met a passenger on my route, particularly while I took Volvo Service, she might be working in tier-one org.:P I seldom travel in Volvo met her quite a few. Well, the passenger’s gender was female. And I remembered her from the first time I saw her. I heard while she was conversing over the phone couple of times or was conversing with the conductor in Kannada, I guessed she was a native of Bangalore or Karnataka. The hazel eyes and fair skin just caught my attention. I gazed at her face, particularly her eyes as these were one of the lovely things I have ever noticed in women before.
Today’s journey was not a different one. I waited for a cab but didn’t get any space in cabs, finally made my mind and got on the bus and guess… the same thing… I saw her again. I got my NSP. Suddenly something attracted me more than her eyes. Guys don’t think otherwise, it was a book. She just got a book kept inside her bag and started reading, the name was “The Blue-necked God” by “Indira Goswami”. By seeing the book I was thinking to myself should I ask her the book for a minute and see, I kept thinking that for a long time. The time was running out and my heart was pounding harder and harder. I knew it was because of my nervousness. Before four stops left from my destination, I continued gazing her and when our eyes met I just nodded my head and tried to tell her “Can I see the Book ?” It was not that expressive. I uttered a little inside my mouth, it was not adequate, and finally expressed her with my hand that I wanted to see the book for a minute. She got this time, she smiled and handed it over to me. I just went through the cover of the book and made sure myself that it was written by Late “Mamoni Raisom Goswami”. I handed it over to her with a nice gesture and suddenly I was feeling proud, may be because of some my native writers who have brought fame to our nation worldwide and have helped in shining my coterie, my culture.
It was a Saturday evening. The clock ticked Seven pm. The front side of VR mall had some picturesque architectural designs and lighting and there were plenty of spaces for people to hang out. The road in front of the mall was full of vehicles whether there were busses or cars or bikes or autos. That road used to have traffic mostly throughout the day. My friend and I came out of the mall after watching the afternoon show and we were standing in front of the entrance of the mall. We tried online booking for cabs in the QAS app. It had an option for share taxi. Although I never had a ride on share taxi, my friend insisted and I was checking too. It was hard to get a cab easily in the evening. Luckily I got my cab booked. It showed that the cab would arrive in next five minutes to the pickup location. My friend did not have the luck. An alternative option was an Auto Rickshaw. As we were searching, I saw an auto parked at the edge of the road and the driver was in it. We approached him, he asked three times more than the normal fare. He somehow saw us booking the cab online. So he got kind of sense that we might not get the booking and we had no other option than auto. We could not negotiate the margin of fare and come back. We tried our luck again on the app. This time it clicked. This was also a shared Taxi. By the time I got a call from my cab driver that he would reach in a minute. I got into the cab and bade goodnight to my friend.
I was sitting in the front passenger seat. There was a guy wearing formals sitting on the back seat. In a minute or two, he reached his destination i.e. a tech-park where he would surely be an employee. It seemed he had a night shift. He handed the cash to the cab driver. It was a fare of hundred and seventy bucks. He gave hundred and forty bucks to the cab driver saying “Bro, I don’t have any more cash with me. Please give me five minutes I will be right back with cash”. If it were some five or ten bucks short, the cab driver would have left that amount. It was thirty bucks; so he said OK and stopped the engine. As the guy was getting off the cab, a middle-aged man from the left side of the road walking with some pace hit his tummy and chest to the opening of the door. The man was wearing a half white shirt. He had an earring in one of his ears. He seemed some tough guy. He stopped for a second and gave a look of anger to that passenger and walked by. The passenger said sorry in a polite way and got off the cab. The man by that time reached the front of the cab, was trying to cross the road. He hit the door so hard that the pain was still there on his chest. He was making a face of agony. I and the driver saw him and started laughing inside the cab. The old man saw us and he laughed too. The cab driver then suddenly asked me if I had change for my fare. My fare was eighty-five bucks. I told him I did not have as I had two notes of hundred and some coins of fifteen or sixteen bucks. I assumed we would have some problem with the change. The passenger came back to give thirty bucks. He also brought a hundred buck and was asking the change. He might have taken from some friend and came back quick. Fifteen minutes had already passed since I started. I was kind of frustrated, so I returned him a hundred bucks saying I would pay his thirty. He was not agreeing. I requested and told him the story of change and he finally agreed. He asked my number for returning the thirty bucks. I told him that it would cost more than thirty in process of returning the thirty bucks. He thanked me and we started again.
We resumed our journey and minutes later there was another call of pickup. It was a call from a lady. As he was talking over a phone, I got to know that the destination of her trip was Sarjapura. He dropped the call and told me that we had to take the turn to reach her pickup point. The moment the cab took a turn towards the pickup point, It started to drizzle and the new road was full of traffic on the right side lane. The traffic was not moving and it had a length of at least five hundred meters. After picking her we were to turn again to follow the traffic to reach our destination. We reached the pickup point. The lady was standing in front of her office with an umbrella. She seemed a girl to me as she looked not more than twenty-five. As soon as she got into the backseat, the cab driver asked if there was any alternate route so that we could bypass the traffic. The lady said there was a route and stated the directions. As we resumed our journey; the cab driver was talking about the traffic and all. The girl seemed to know the shortcut routes very well. She was explaining her pain of coming to office. The way she was explaining the route, I thought she was a local of Bangalore or she lived here for many years. I could not resist and asked her if she was a local. She said no!. She came to Bangalore a month before only. I laughed out loud. I added, “I have been here for five years and not know much of roads, how could you master all the shortcuts within a month”. She said that from past month she was suffering the Bangalore traffic. So she tricked the loopholes of Bangalore traffic in order to save her time.
It was really a shortcut and we reached my destination within a span of twenty minutes or so. I bade good night to them got off the cab after paying hundred and fifteen bucks. It was my first share taxi ride, it was a memorable one.
It was another regular weekend. Most of us were done with the weekend routines of washing clothes and relaxing. There was a gossip going on among five to seven people in room number 157; i.e. in my room. There were some regular topics in discussion. In those days, the topics were either cricket or about latest movies. Topics like incidents that happened in class; who got caught in some lawless act of making fun of teachers in class or who got poor marks in tests conducted in class assessments and others. The most interesting topic was about ‘butterflies’ of different departments. There were many departments where the ratio of female students was way more than male students. Departments like Cultural Studies, Food Technology, Sociology, and Literature had eighty to ninety percentage of girl students while the situation was quite opposite in engineering disciplines. So we ended up moving our direction from our disciplines to theirs in search of beauty. While they were discussing some girls, an idea came to me to go on an outing to a nearby place. I uttered my opinion and guys agreed with no disapproval. The plan was accepted easily as most of us had been bored of spending the entire weekend in the hostel. We decided to visit Kolia Bhomora Bridge as it was half an hour journey from the hostel.
In a span of an hour, we reached near the bridge. It was middle of April. The summer season in Assam starts from the month of March and extends till the end of June. Due to the rains in the last few days, the Brahmaputra had swelled considerably. There were many a huge stone in the middle of the river. In the winters, the water levels used to go down and the stones were vastly visible. Since the peaks of those were pretty flat, six to seven people could sit on them. Folks used to visit there in the evening for enjoying the scenic beauty of Mighty Brahmaputra.We got off the road and walked for ten minutes to reach the bank. One mid aged man was sitting near a boat which was docked and tied with a rope to a bamboo post in the bank. Some kids were playing with a plastic soccer ball near the boat. I reached to the boatman asked the charges for sailing. He asked twenty bucks per person. I told him that we were almost ten people and would round it off with hundred and fifty bucks. I lowered my voice, in a convincing way, while giving my proposition and he finally agreed. He freed the boat from the bamboo post and asked us to get on the boat. He made us sit in a way that each side of the boat had equal weight and he held the radar. After we all settled, our journey began. It was upstream where our destination was, so sailing was slower. By the time, the sun had already turned pale yellow and the giant tree leaves turned to yellowish green. My heart started pounding as we approached the middle of the river. The current drastically increased and I could see the turbulence of the water. In the midway, we passed under the Kolia Bhomora bridge. As we passed between two pillars of the bridge I could see how big the pillars were. We often ignored the giant pillars as we never had the chance to have a closer look. Within ten or fifteen minutes we reached the stones but could not get off the boat as the rising water level submerged the stones. We decided to return to where we started. The return journey was similar except in the downstream the speed increased a bit. By the time the sun turned yellowish to red, the moment was so much exciting and beautiful. The journey was quite peaceful except the splashing of water by the spade at regular intervals. I was gazing at the water and it seemed as if the water met sky in the horizon. Suddenly, I noticed a river dolphin jump out and go down the river. It was way too close to our boat and interestingly no one saw it except me. That moment, the feeling, was so overwhelming that I started feeling a mild pain in my chest. It was like; I was so close to nature and I was about to interact with the beautiful species other than humans. It felt like they were also enjoying the moment of the evening with us.
I can still remember that moment. You know there are some moments in one’s life which are cherish-able for the life. For me, this one is one of them and I will cherish this precious moment all my life.
The morning was bright. It rained the previous night, made the village street clean and it was green everywhere. We were so excited about the day, woke up before our regular timing, bathed and were ready for school to celebrate Independence day. My brother was two years elder to me. Our school was situated in nearby village. It was around one kilometre away from our place. My father had owned one hero Royal classic bicycle. But we were too small to ride bicycle of our own. So only mode of communication for school was walk. After quickly having a bowl of milk and puffed rice we started for school with full enthusiasm of patriotism. I was in third standard and in my curriculum I had already learnt about Shahid Bhagat Singh or Mahatma Gandhi or youngest martyr Khudiram Bose or how youngest martyr of Assam Kushal Konwar was executed. I learnt about patriot Tarun Ram Phukan and many more legends who fought and sacrificed for motherland to achieve that very day of Independence.
On the way to school I was murmuring our anthem and was trying to finish within a minute.We used to sing “Jana Gana Mana” in school every day before classes start. Brother was giving me lesson of India’s independence. He was two years ahead of me in textual knowledge as well as in general knowledge. So I had to agree with his arguments as I knew he had already learnt my class’s stuff and he had more learnings. But in rarest cases if he could not recollect some points or he accepted my argument in any topic that debate winning moments were like great achievement for me. In a moment of ten to twelve minutes we almost reached the school. The school was in between two broad streets. There was a huge field in front our school. The school and the field made the main street divided into two. We reached one of the main street and was taking the short cut to school which was a sloppy and narrow lane ending towards school field. Suddenly we saw one motorcycle was coming from other street towards school. The motorcycle entered the school field and stopped. That moment our School’s chowkidar uncle was preparing for flag hoisting. He already kept the bar lying in the field(which he used to keep in our school room’s ceiling) and was digging a hole for hoisting it in the ground. Each of these two persons had guns. We stopped at our position to watch the entire scene. One of the person with a gun hanging in his shoulder came closer towards chowkidar uncle and was saying something. The conversation lasted merely for a minute or half only. By that time other person walked towards the flag bar. He placed his feet on the it bent himself a little and with one hand was pulling the end of the bar and finally broke the tip of the bar. After that one of these two started the motorcycle. These two sit on it. They pointed their fingers towards chowkidar uncle and were saying something. It seemed they were threatening or warning uncle. The motorcycle gradually moved towards us. We were almost petrified but stood there only. As they came closer to us slowed their vehicle shouted “Go home or will get a slap”. The pillion rider was imitating a slap by raising his hand. The motorcycle did not stop though.
We felt so sad, angry and scared too. We were so frustrated that we quickly picked some mid-size stones from the street. It happened so quick and two of us did the same in unison though no one actually threw any stone towards the motorcycle as we already had the idea what they were. They were extremist. We discussed in our mere voice between us if we would throw and the stones did not hit or if only one person got injure or any of those situations they would later harm our family. In disappointment we threw the stones in the streets only. That was the last time I went to school for Independence day celebration. Those were the bitter taste of Independence day during my childhood. Hope there is and will be no repeat of those situations.
Bengaluru is a city of IT techies. People from different regions take shelter in the Silicon valley of India. As a result, this region has diversity in food habits. The taste buds differ from people to people. Most of the people from North like Chats and panipuris though some also developed taste in masala dosa or other south Indian foods. I am no different than the taste bud carriers. Hailing from NE I have typical hilly food habits. The diversity of life in north east bring different food habits including Indo-Chinese foods as most of tribal people or mongoloid people migrated from Himalayan regions like western China region, Burma, Thailand in early 2000BC and afterwords though Aryans migrated via Bengal region in 700BC. As a result our food habit has become little unique and it differs from rest of India. We prefer mostly boiled foods with less spices and less oil with rich vegetables or meat on it. Momo is one of our favorite dish and we never get out of taste.
Let me tell you the momo stall’s incident. This happened in the street of BTM layout. It is really a busy street remains crowded the whole week. Crowd is typically peak between 7pm and 9pm in the evening. And the roadside corner is full of temporary mini stalls which include momo, chat, bhelpuri, panipuri, dosa, pau bhaji and many more. Coming back to momo stalls whose owners are again typically from Sikkim or North east region. The narrow street during its peak crowd are full of so called techies whose days are spent fully tired by following orders from their bosses and their bosses following from mega bosses sitting across the globe.
Yesterday was no other day, same street similar crowd. I went to the momo stall and ordered half plate. People were surrounding the momo boy and he was busy listening to orders and putting them in queue in his mind while making the previous orders ready and taking money right after the delivery. Typically there remains some creature who tend to buy thing free of cost by any means. So he was also taking account of the people he delivered order already but did not receive money yet. After couple of minutes I received my order and paid the bill instantly. I was so hungry that I could not wait and was trying to eat hot momos which were just taken out of oven. It is always tasty to have momo served hot. Within a minute I cleaned up my plate. Suddenly a man approached the stall but said nothing to the keeper. I was observing this guy. He was in his typical black military boots, khaki pant and the khaki cap. He was wearing a black and blue windcheater so only khaki collar came out below his chin. He was a fat mid aged guy with his visible tummy. It did not take much long to figure that It was a cop. The shopkeeper gave twenty rupees and the cop went away. I was in no shock as I had seen these events quite a sometime. “Roj ka kam hai kya ye?”(does it happen everyday?) I asked the stallboy after the cop left. “Haan, Roj dena padta hai, tin log aate hai, din k hisap se. Bis rupiya hi dena hai”(yes, Its a daily job, three people come accoring to days, per day twenty). I did not know what to say and kept quiet. Then a teen aged boy from Bihar( guessed from his language) came close to us saying “Arre har din ka mamla hai ea. Samne waale chat k dukanwaale ne padso dus rupiya dia to agele din aah ke doso panchach rupiya fine bol k le gaya. Chat wale ne pucha to bole kal das rupiya dia to aaj doso panchach do. daily ka elawa bhi traffic ko to mahine ka extra dena padta hai. Mere dukan ka teen hazaar, enka dukan ka char hazaar mahine ka.” (arre, its a daily day event. The next chat shop gave ten rupees to the cop day before yesterday. Yesterday cop came back and took two fifty rupees saying that it was a fine as day before yesterday it was ten rupees only. Besides we have to pay extra to traffic police every month. For my stall its Three thousands and for his four thousands).”
I reached my room freshen up and was preparing for a quick nap. Suddenly evening’s incident caught my attention. I was thinking to myself what was really happened there and why it happened? And it did not happen for the first time. It is a day to day event now a days. I had no clue when it had stated wand when it would be stopped. I was thinking “whose fault is this, the stall keepers who illegally put their stalls to make their livings? The cops who let them put their stall and pocket money from them or the people who encourage the stalls in their sell as we keep buying from their stalls or the government which is so ignorant! And what is the proper step to make these grass root corruption disappear and what should be my role in it?
Around 7.00pm at Indiranagar KFC bus stop, every working day there is a crowd. You won’t find this crowd if the time is shifted by an hour more. For me it’s a normal situation to face these hundreds of people. Most of the time people wait for buses plying to Koramangala. For me any bus is convenient as my journey lasts till the Great Domlur bridge. So I wait for bus of different route to escape the crowd inside bus. Today after a long wait of twenty minutes got a bus and somehow managed to get in. The bus was moderately crowded and I fixed my position standing near the door, holding the right side seats. There was a middle-aged couple seating the seat I was holding and found that the seat was reserved for Senior citizen. Mostly senior citizenship in India is valid for people aged sixty-five or more and they looked pretty decent sixties only. From that seat to the seats till driver and except the driver’s seat are reserved for ladies and the passengers were the same only. A beautiful lady was spotted on the seat next to the senior citizens seat. She seemed to reach near her thirties and a newly wedded woman. Her hands were painted with mehndi as she wore pale creamy salwar with three quarter sleeves. She was probably a native of Bangalore or southern region of India and had very white skin. So the mehndi patterns were clearly visible with deep chocolate color. She kept her black silky hair open and cool breezes coming from the window were messing with her hair but she did not care. Then I spotted her dealing with two PDAs precisely one regular Symbian Phone and one Smart Phone from Korea … you know what I mean.
Now I knew I should not look inside someone’s personal things I mean devices, but could not resist myself without looking into her activity as it was like Core2 Duo processor “different tasks at same time”. She was tackling the two devices very smoothly. That moment I could feel that human brain is not simply equivalent to Intel or AMD multi-core processors but much faster and efficient. She was texting in her Symbian Phone as well as in Whatsapp in other Smart Phone. In Whatsapp, I could see there were two different accounts on which she was chatting. But chats were not visible as my Crizal has become older and more scratches were there. With all the hurdles I could sense she was dealing with two male persons and which seemed to be normal to me. Suddenly she got a call on her regular phone and she put microphone in and started talking. It was about five minutes to reach my destination, I observed something that just moved my mind thinking WHY? She took her smart phone and started deleting some of the messages of one of the chatting accounts but not the whole chat though and keeping some selected messages. So I just concluded with my evil sense, she might be hiding something from someone just like encapsulating the things and giving the public things accessible. Then I looked at the front seats where all the passengers were ladies and most of them were busy with their phones not necessarily only chatting but for talking or music. For a moment I thought what if most of them keep the type of encapsulation as the lady I saw. Even in boys case they would do the same.
Do smart phones or fast & easy communications really increase infidelity in society?