“Annu… wake up…wake up. It is 6 o’clock, dear.” My eyes saw the day-light following mother’s wake up call. It was chilling outside and to think of leaving bed was the most unfortunate task for me. For any delay in leaving bed I would fail my bus as I would be taking time to prepare myself. When the thought of bus struck my mind, I could not but threw the rug and straight away began preparing myself. In chilling winter the most unfortunate and hated task happens to be leaving the soft and hot embrace of rug and bed. My brother and my sister Ginni were sleeping as I was burning in sheer jealousy. My brother was a sleepoholic and if he had not to attend office at 10 am, he would sleep past noon!
When I was yet to get any employment, I would think, what a memorable day it would be to get a job! But when I got one, I got a chance to know all those parallel problems running along with a job. Initially, I would go to the college with uncontrolled enthusiasm. But now thinking on the job, I would feel thorns pinching my body.
Anyhow, I finished my breakfast and sped to the bus stop. The bus was yet to arrive. There was a big tamarind tree beside the bus stop under which all bus-users and service men performing duty from home would wait for the bus. But I would feel somewhat awkward standing there. My time would go in seeing my watch or changing my bag from right to left hand and reverse.
Hardly did two minutes passed in the meanwhile after my arrival at the bus stop, when a boy riding a bicycle came rushing towards me. He negotiated close to me and forced me to flinch back a step or two. Had I not stepped back I thought he would have banged onto me. Seeing me stepping back some three or four boys standing at a little distance were jeering and laughing. In anger and helplessness, I could not but kept mum digesting the shamefulness.
Today, boys have become so immodest and wicked that words fail me to say something about them. Certainly, I think the wind has become wicked and whomever it touches, it seems a pair of wings comes up to his back.
Bus came in the meanwhile. A swarm of bus-users was seen rushing towards the bus. Somehow I became a part of the rushing crowd. I boarded the bus anyhow. Obviously, there were no rooms left as I was boarding midway. I had to stand on the isle. An aged gentleman was standing in front of me. And I thought it suitable to adjust myself there only. With a sudden jerk the bus started. The timing of the bus was so suitably arranged that a majority of boys and girls studying in the Science College would catch that bus. When the driver would apply break to the bus everyone would feel imbalanced. Boys standing behind would seize the opportunity to balance the unbalancing girls by extending their hands. And those standing in front would feel fortunate to get the same opportunity as a dole.
The driver it seemed was bribed to apply such sudden breaks in regular intervals. I felt a touch of a hand on my hand griping the railing and I saw it was of that aged gentleman standing behind. He was conversing with another one of his elk standing behind. I thought his hand movement was spontaneous and involuntary and I adjusted away from his griping hand. After two minutes, I found my hand feeling similar griping. Cocking back I found him as usual busy in conversation. I tried to snatch my hand but now the grip was somewhat tighter. This time, I was shown a pair of fearful and bulgy eyes. I snatched my hand despite knowing the fact that I would feel imbalanced doing so. I didn’t want to be the cynosure of the people on board by starting a brawl with the so called (Un) gentleman. It is but a tragedy of girls that the male people would tease them and if any girl would protest, she would face such unbearable consequences.
But I was surprised with the behavior of that so called gentleman. He must have been around fifty years. Then I thought I was incorrect initially to pass a judgment on the grown up boys. Adolescent is such an age that makes one somewhat wicked as new and new age related wings come up. But I had nothing to tell on this aged fellow who was behaving like an adolescent. Can they send their growing girls like me alone with this trait of behavior in them? Can they repose faith on person of his age about the safety of their daughters? It is but an irony that there is no dearth of such (un)gentlemen who always strangulate the courage of the girls.
I was a disciplined lecturer of my college but inside the bus I was like a docile and innocent girl. This double personality in me would surprise me coming out of the bus. Perhaps after age I would emancipate myself from this double personality after some more years or experience.
There was no let up in the wickedness of that old man. He was continuously rubbing shoulder with that of mine. On the other hand, my hand was also itching to slap him hard. The bus was so over-crowded that I was not able to move an inch inside. To my happiness a lady passenger called me towards her as room was available there. Thank God, the old man was spared as I was about to imprint my palm on one of his cheeks.
My stoppage approached near. When the bus stopped, holding my bag I came near the gate. There was clear imprint of my face in the faces of the boys sitting in front. Stopped to the isle I alighted from the bus. I was feeling relaxed and relieved alighting from the bus. Just strolling two steps I heard someone singing, “Age seventeen, tresses long and umpteen,” Then it struck my mind that for fear of delay I had left my braid unbridled. My hand mechanically thought to bridle my braid but then I became a bit rebellious. Why not, I thought and left it as usual against the wicket wind and declared a war against the wicket wind.
This is a translated short story originally written in Hindi by one of my online friends Vandana Awasthi Dubey who has got multiple blogs with following Titles:
The original story written and posted in her blog can be found following the link below. http://wwwvandanaadubey.blogspot.com/2009/05/blog-post.html
She is a prolific word artist who weaves beautiful and meaningful wreaths for her admirers to read and enrich.