I had booked Volvo to move on Friday evening for Dussera holidays (3 days). As always, was excited to go home. I came to office on Friday, smiling, waiting for hours to pass. All looked happy in office or maybe it was a reflection of my inner self; it was a busy week after all. The office was decorated with jasmine, sunflowers etc on the eve of Ayudha pooja. The aroma was exquisite. The lighted lamps ensured the required cultural look. We had ayudha pooja and were given sweets and fruits. I left office around 6.15 pm and reached room around 7 pm. My bus was at 9.45 pm and it was an hour drive from my room to bus stand. So i had lot of time left. I sat on my bed eating fruits and sweets. After that i lay on my bed, not to sleep but to relax, but the day had different plans. It was 9.40 pm when i opened my eyes, I yelled “oh god” and felt like slapping myself for my idiocy. I was dumbstruck, later relaxed for 2 mins. There was no buses still morning as all the buses were booked and i would waste 1 full day for my idiocy. My cell read the message from KSRTC (Bus service), there was a cell number of conductor. I called him immediately.
Me: Sir my PNR No is —-. I’m caught in traffic at Ramapuram i can’t make it to the bus stand in time. Please can you say from which route the bus will travel so that i can catch the bus in the middle.
Conductor: Sir the driver is new he just knows the route but he doesn’t know which place would be near to ramapuram. I will check with someone and call you. The bus will leave at 9.55 pm see if you can make it.
Me: No sir i can’t. Please check the route and confirm so that i can catch the bus from middle.
Conductor: “ok sir”.
I ran towards bathroom washed my face, hand combed my hairs and put on my clothes in 5 mins and left the room. An auto stood idle just close to my room. I spoke with my broken Tamil (local language). The drunken auto driver demanded a huge amount. I was not in a position to bargain so i agreed and strongly demanded that he has to ride fast. As the auto rushed towards the main road i called the conductor.
Me: Sir where should i come??
Conductor: Sir there is a flyover about 10 Kms from ramapuram. The bus will be there by another 15 mins. Please come there.
I gave the phone to auto driver to confirm the address with conductor so that he can drop me at the exact location without any ambiguity. The auto driver took shortcuts and rushed. He said me the auto did not have brakes with a laugh (showing all his teeth). I was shocked, without brakes this drunken auto driver rode his auto like Ferrari, at one point he almost crashed a woman walking on the side of the road and suddenly deviated the auto. He was scolded by all the travellers for his rash driving but he didn’t care. I said him to be careful. The auto jumped over the humps and raced. The auto driver seemed to enjoy his night ride; he kept on laughing and saying the auto has no brakes. I was scared to hell as what may come. I thought i will meet with an accident or if iam lucky enough will catch the bus safely.
Meanwhile i got a call from conductor “Sir we have reached and are waiting for you from 5 mins, where are you? All the passengers are complaining”
Me: “Sir i will reach there in another 3 mins, almost there. Please wait.”
The auto driver said he didn’t know where the bus would stop exactly and he has to ask the local people who are there for the exact route. I was breathing heavily and thought i will miss the bus for sure. I was angry on myself. 3 mins passed the auto passed through the narrow shortcut roads of Chennai (God knows where i was travelling; all i could do was trust this auto driver and motivate him to ride faster). *Phone rings*
Conductor: “Sir we have waited for 10 mins, all passengers are furious and angry. Where are you exactly?? “
Me: “Iam getting down from the fly over bridge (I lie). Sir I’m really sorry for the delay, please wait for some more minutes.”
Conductor: “Sir we will wait for another 5 more minutes, if you don’t arrive we will leave”.
The auto driver said we are near the flyover and he has to confirm where the bus would actually pass through. He asked a person and the person said he has no idea”. I grew anxious. I asked another person, He confirmed us that we had to climb this bridge and get to the other side and it was nearly a 1 km from here. I said the auto driver to rush. It was already 5 mins and my phone rang.
Conductor: “Sir, sorry we are leaving its too late.”(*I could hear the engine start*)
Me: “Sir i am just 2 mins away, I can see the bus from top of the bridge (I lie). If i don’t reach there in another 3 mins you can leave. I have exams tomorrow (I lie), please help me.”
Conductor: “Okay sir you have another 3 mins, the engine will be on. Make it fast.”
Meanwhile the auto raced like a Ferrari and almost covered 600 to 700 mtrs. Auto driver confirmed we will be there in a minute. I gathered the money to pay to the auto driver. The auto finally reached the spot and i could see the conductor looking at the road, anticipating me at any moment. The auto stopped and the bus was on the other side of the road so i had to cross the 4 lane Highway. I payed the auto driver and said him thank you many times. He was happy as though he landed on the moon. He was surely a hero for me today. I waved at the conductor and he signalled to rush. It took me another 3 mins to cross the highway as it was packed with fast moving vehicles. The conductor at the entrance advised me to apologize to the passengers for the delay. I got into the bus and said out loud “Sorry people i couldn’t make it up in time. Big thanks for your patience. It was really important for me. Sorry again and thank you”. Some old man yelled back “its okay, it happens”. The crowd gave *It’s okay* kind of expression. Finally i sat on my seat sighing loud and closed my eyes for 2 mins. The girl next to me asked “why were you late?”. I said the truth. She smiled and said “OMG this is one hell of a night for you then!!”
Me: “Yes this is one hell of a night” *Smiling*. Yes that was one hell of a night.
It’s been a while since i have even thought of writing. Lot of introspection done, questions asked (To myself) and answered. Away from all social networking sites and only thinking about myself to find answers about my life. Finally i now know what i want, what keeps me happy and am working on it.
Until Next one,
Be thankful, Keep smiling.