Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh God! Why Me?

It was 12.30 in the noon and my friend and I ran frantically between one bus to another bus to get a seat aboard some decent A/C bus to take me to Chennai. I had finished my TOEFL exam in Bangalore and had spent an extra day in Bangalore thereby loosing my reservation on train and the only way to get back seemed to be on road. Which, of course was completely booked. We finally got a set on a Karnataka State Transportation bus which I think was the cheapest fare I had traveled in my entire life between Bangalore and Chennai. And I have done that trip a million times.

My friend who dropped me in the bus was hesitant and asked me many times if I could postpone my ticket for a couple of days. I wished I could but I had to be in Chennai that night so I could take my GRE exam the following day. I walked inside the bus dreading the journey but to my surprise I saw this girl who was my brother's classmate's cousin. We had met at a party and for some odd reason, we knew her parents well and her own brother was my junior in college. The minute I sat down next to her she said, "please don't tell my dad or brother or my cousin that you saw me on this bus." I promised her wondering what her secret was. Which I eventually found out through another friend. At least I had nothing to hide so I saw down feeling a bit better that I had company with me on a bus which had maybe another woman on board.

We chatted a while before each of us got absorbed in our silence, she was not like my best friend or very close to me. We obviously lived different lives, one in which I told my parents everything, well almost and never traveled away from home without informing my family. The journey seemed painless and we assumed that we would reach home early before sunset and I started to relax. I told myself that this was not as bad as it seemed and for Rs.30 I could not have asked for more.

When we got close to Tamilnadu-Karnataka (Hosur) border we heard a lot of noise outside and the bus came to a sudden halt. I did not think it was much to worry for a few seconds before a handful of men walked into the bus with such propriety you would think they owned the bus. They had heavy logs of wood in their hand and the famous South-Indian Veecharuva (sickle). They walked into the bus looking high and low and screaming, "if you are in here come out, you are not going to escape alive." They walked past us and then stopped by us for a few seconds, we were the only two young girls in the entire bus. The two of us bent down looking at our bags intently and did not dare look up till the bus moved again. I think my legs were jelly and my stomach was running at a higher rate than my heart. My friend and I held hands and did not let go for a few minutes. 

The entire bus heaved a sigh of relief but I can bet no one would have come to save us had they wanted to walk away with us. Phew! Thank God! 

When we got to Chennai, my friend reminded me one more time not to tell her family about seeing me. I don't think I met her after that day but I still remember the events so clearly...of course things happened in slow motion freaking the daylights out of much for a non-exciting Rs.30 travel day!

I can imagine to a certain extent what each of them might have gone through. Fear is the same when you feel overpowered and unsafe in any situation. It takes a lot for anyone to put aside their life and stand up for anyone else. 

Anyways...thought I will share!


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