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  • Sonal

Bus Journeys

Updated: May 2, 2021

One fine day, when I was four,

My mother took my sister and me

On a bus ride to Mausi's place,

Back in 1998, it was a forty minute ride

From Bhubaneswar to Cuttack,

That is, if I try and exclude

The traffic at Badambadi Chowk;

We took your standard wobbly intercity bus,

And by the time we reached Rasulgarh -

Which was literally ten minutes

Away from where we had boarded the bus -

There were no less than seventy people,

Some sitting, some standing,

Some plastered onto the door

And other passengers on the bus;

Thankfully, we luckily had a seat to ourselves,

Perhaps because my mother was

A woman travelling with two kids

Aged eleven and four, so fifty points

To the empathy of the people around us;

It was summer, and I know this

Because my mother has recounted

The journey to our entire clan

One number less than infinity,

(the latest recollection being last night)

My sister had slept off throughout the trip,

Something that she still does till this day,

And well, like most four year olds,

I kept turning my (not-so) tiny head

Here and there, with an attempt

To make sense of God knows what;

At Badambadi, most of those plastered people

Got down the bus, and some new faces joined in,

Although this time, only a couple of them

Had the luck to become the lizards of the bus,

And in this new batch of people

Was an old man, not ancient old,

But old enough for my mother to call him "Mausa",

And my mother being the embodiment of compassion,

Offered the man a seat, my seat,

And I was shifted onto her lap,

While my sister napped in her seat,

This man, a complete stranger,

He looked at me, from what I know from my mother,

For at least a minute before proceeding to ask,

"Did anything happen in your family

After she was born", pointing towards

My seemingly confused face, but more than me,

It was my mother who was confused;

"I'm sorry, I didn't get you", my mother answered;

"This child, she is destined to do great things,

And I know it from the aura she exudes",

My mother, still confused,

But not wanting to be disrespectful

Smiled at the man and thanked him,

And woke my sister up from dreamland,

Because Shelter Chowk was finally in sight;

At twenty six, every time I fuck things up,

Which, mind you, is on a very frequent basis,

My mother tells me how the poor man

Was fooled by whatever aura he saw

In a four-year old potato and asks me

The Estimated Time of Arrival of the "great" event,

I then remind her of the time

When another co-passenger she had met

On the bus on the way to college

While I was yet to be born, had told her

That her second child would be

"A dark-skinned, mischievous boy",

But here I am, the googly result.

//NaPoWriMo, Day 25

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