It was pouring out at the bus stand and the journey to Hyderabad from Panaji is about 14hrs.
A couple with a two-year old in tow. A senior citizen couple who were diabetic. The bus was on the roll, the ticket collector came around checking if we had our tickets and our identity proofs.
“My identification is missing, I am returning by flight and they won’t let me fly without identification papers she wailed.”
“Madam, where are your papers?”
“How far do you live from here, we could wait for 15mnts can you get someone to get it for you here.”
The girl now threw a tantrum, there is no one who can get it for me, I will get it myself, and you wait for me till then. The driver tells her I can wait 15mnts not more. She said, okay you go ahead; I will join you in the next stop. The girl leaves her, baggage behind and gets off.
The bus ambles along and at the next stop which is normally a 5mnts one the bus waits for her royal pain in the**e who takes 1hr. To arrive. The driver ascends the Amboli Mountain faster than he normally would as he had to make up for the lost time.
He was still about half an hour behind schedule. We stop for dinner at a tavern, which the driver prefers as he can keep an eye on the unwanted intruders entering the bus. Our girl now throws a tantrum at the quality of the restaurant. While most of us who are particular got our lunch from our homes.
Finally at 3am about 20mnts later than the schedule time the bus arrives at Gulbarga the place where this girl had to get down. From 2am she was on her mobile loud coordinating with the person who was to pick her up and when did reach the designated stop her escort was not there and there emerged the next tantrum, she wanted the bus to wait till her escort turned up.
This behaviour from a MD Gynaecology person had me thinking. That are we the so-called educated class so self-centred that we don’t think twice about the nuisance we are to others.
What surprised me is neither did the driver or the conductor bother about the disrespect this person had for the other 44 on the bus. Nor did he bother about the passengers who were waiting for the bus by the roadside. I stand corrected it is not about the passenger’s disrespect to her fellow passengers, it is about the disrespect the driver and his conductor had for their passengers.
Worse still were we the other passengers who let an ill-mannered Gynecologist, an irresponsible bus-driver disrespect us. There we people among us who had to attend interviews next morning, there people who had to get into connecting buses. We fretted and fumed but we did not take a stand for ourselves.
We of course have the right to laud ourselves that we were considerate towards a “girl” so we turn a blind eye to the inconvenience we doled out to our fellow passengers, to the four girls waiting on the road of Belgaum. The cook at the Tavern whose last guests are from this bus, he then has to wind up and clean the restaurant for tomorrow.
My husband shares an experience he had at Portugal, where a set of teenagers were drawing graffiti the wall of an underground train. One boy saw an oncoming train he stepped aside without realizing that there was another train on the track that he stepped on, the train ran over him resulting in his death.
Four days after this, event as his family was grieving him the railways sent his parents a bill demanding compensation for the nuisance created by their son to the railways, and the other passengers.
Think about it, achche din aayenge, we shall prosper whatever only the day we learn to respect ourselves and others.