Rockstar Rider

Leather makes him
And weather strengthens:
He is seasoned by the earth.
Ever free, the quadrilateral isn't home:
He dwells amid the hills
And the rain and green thrills,
Though posterity misses by inches,
Pity him not an ounce.
Analysing each isolation,
Not a cheetah, he wouldn't pounce.
~Priyanca, Biker

Unlike most Bambaiyyas who have a routine for everything including catching the 8:20 bus to commute to work, I've not yet "settled" into any such comfortable schedules. I reach work any time between 8:00 and 9:00 am, which is a huge margin even by Bombay standards. And I seldom give it a second thought. I never know how long it will take me to reach by bus- sometimes it takes me just 15 minutes, sometimes a whopping 45. Of course, what route I get on is an important factor.

Ruts apart, the city's been resurrected for me. Just when I thought it's lost its charm, reclamation's come to Backbay once more.

The stop closest to my hostel gates does not attract the AC buses. Well, not officially, at least. The average drivers are faithful to their vardhi and discourage taking on and allowing passengers to get off away from assigned stops. They don't want to be the cause for traffic ever, which is an excellent attitude. They also always avoid accidents and road rage. They're almost a whiff of fresh air as compared to the regular fellas.

But the AS-2 route rider is an exception. Not in stopping where I wait for the mundane 88s or 93 Ltds, when I wave, but in this: a nod, a smile, a good morning!, reciprocation for recognition of a human face. And when my cold-ridden throat squeaks askance, "aap yahaan rok doge," he responds with, "mai wahaan bus rokta hoon toh yahaan kyun nahin?"

The warmth in those words glued me right back to this place. The redemption of a people I once thought were heartless, relentless.

1 comment:

Srishti said...

For a second, maybe more - i was tempted to bunk work and go catch that bus, AS-2. Only to feel a bit of warmth come my way, from ertstwhile unexpected, now expected, quarters.

"Reclamation's come to Backbay." "Ruts apart." Lovely. Keep writing.