a bus journey

It’s something I’ve seen in Mumbai….but to see it in Kerala-it is a surprise! Women do call the shots in most things in life nowadays-Agreed!! The boss at home is the Women, at work it’s normally the females who have the last say, major decisions in financial matters are taken by the women-they do make great leaders to follow. But please at least leave a bus-conductor’s job to a Man!! They are a few things in life that don’t suit women, and this is one of them!
Today, on one such journey in the KSRTC bus (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) Kottayam to Ernakulum, a two hour journey-I was in no mood to go standing all the way, the only seat to remain vacant was the one next to the bus conductor- I thought ‘What the hell!? I sat down, and the thing with conductors here in Kerala KSRTC buses are that they love their little conversations with fellow passengers, and since I was the one sitting next to his seat…I would be the one that he would want to have a chat with, not in malayalam of course (i have no clue how to speak the language), it’s gotta be in English…if he did not know English I guess then I could teach him a few sentences and by the time we reach our destination he would be better educated in the Queen’s language. So, as I plugged my earphones into my ears and simultaneously looking out of the window, a few minutes later….. A hand on my shoulder, as I looked back;

‘Ticket! Ticket! Ticket! ‘evideya chetta’ (that means where to brother?) The word ‘Excuse me’ is replaced by brother/sister when referring to people with respect (chetta/chechi-ie brother/sister)…..

Onnu ticket Ernakulum South, was my prompt reply.

irupathianchuh (25/- rupees), I handed her over the money and I thought ‘female conducter’? hmmmm, interesting….. Now that is something you do not see every day!!

A girl conductor …well ok! not a girl… not yet a women….she was let’s say in her late 20’s….and yes she was single…. 1 glance at her finger (no wedding ring) glance at her neck (no mangalsutra). After she finished collecting all the tickets, she came to her place to sit-that was the seat next to me. Since i had my earplugs on, she did not initiate any conversation….as i continued listening to my mobile phone playing to MLTR. Another round of ticket collecting a few stops later and by that time I was done with my music for the journey as I did not want my battery to drain down quickly.
Now in Kerala bus’s – males & females do not sit next to each other, the males occupy the seats at the back and the females occupy the front seats (for some strange reason). I was sitting next to the female conductor 🙂 she looked at me as she came back to her seat, I smiled….I knew a smile was enough to start a conversation, and it did…she did! She said something in malayalam, and I was lost! all I could reply was ‘malayalam illa’ [-I was taught to say that which means i do not understand malayalam-, (she smiled back and switched to hindi) the normal reaction to a statement like that would be to switch over to English I thought (very surprisingly, she chose hindi and not english] and a casual conversation begun.

A two hour bus ride is a lot of time to get to know people, and since there was nothing better to do, a chit-chat with the conductor was the best option. I asked her “what time will this bus reach ernakulam?” that was i guess enough to light the spark for a 2 hour long conversation that we had together until we reached. I always knew women luv to talk…they just have so much to say… all I did was open the tap, and her words began to flow. Let’s say by the time I reached Ernakulum, I knew her name was Bhavana, she was from Ernakulum, a teacher by proffession-until she took up the government job offered as a ‘bus-conductor’, when asked why did she chose this over teaching, she replied ‘a stable income coming in, and it’s under the government sector’, she did her B.Ed in Biology…..can you believe it, and now a ‘bus-conductor!’ what a shame!!….she was too pretty for a bus-conductor; she would make a very pretty teacher :)…. oh! And yes! shez just 29 years old she told me herself 🙂
My mind was itching me to ask for her phone number….but maybe I was trying to push my luck too far! Can’t say for sure she would have given it to me had I asked her! …. Well I took the bus no. down….just incase I make another trip to Ernakulum…. I might just ask for her number then!

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