Last night prediction came true and it started raining while I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop at Baghati Kanipora. How science has influenced our lives, I was thinking this and the bus appeared out of nowhere. Anyways, I tried to get into the bus but failed on the first attempt as one lady nudged me and told “ladies first”. How strange it is here, from one side they talk about equal rights and from other side they seek reservation…even in getting into the bus, this thought prevailed over my mind initially while I was standing in the aisle of the bus till a big jerk was felt by all the passengers. We feel cloistered when there is no one in the bus whom you know and can use as a tool to kill your dreary travel time.
One lady with a baby began arguing with the driver for the brake he applied suddenly without knowing that this was not driver’s mistake but he was ordered to stop the bus instantly by the armed forces who were stationed at the Nowgam railway bridge. I heard people murmuring about the cause of stopping the bus. “They are alert now after recent militant attacks in the city,” said one old man sitting at the back seat with her small grand-daughter who was to be dropped at her school.
It took us half an hour to reach Natipora which is just 4 kms away and normally takes 15 minutes. I was feeling strangulated inside the bus as no window was open owing to cold climate but more specifically due to callousness shown by the bus conductor.
“Is public transport of our valley elastic” this was the enigmatic thought to get born in my mind. Hardly 30 passengers can make it in a mini-bus comfortably but I guessed there were no less than 50 passengers, out of them more than a dozen were drooping outside the bus. Even after that wherever any person was waiting on the road; the bus gets stopped as if automatically. I could hardly breathe now.
More than myself I started worrying about two premonitions: breakage of the laptop in my bag and fear of missing the first class. I wanted to know the time but tried unsuccessfully to see on my mobile, then asked one passenger who was sitting on the seat. Sometimes we get trapped in such situations that prove very costly later on.
Hardly had we crossed the main chowk there, than a cortege preceded us and bus again got sufficient time to make the business. One coin was dropped by the bus conductor and he rummaged through beneath the seats, just scrabbling without knowing the whereabouts of the coin. Meanwhile the bus scurried across the Rambagh bridge and the “great” traffic jam began now.
I was shuddered at the thought of missing my favorite class as the first class was “Literary journalism” being taught by Shahnaz Bashir. I began thinking: “Today we are having the assessment of Hadji murad and one hundred years of solitude.”
After an appaling one and a half hour bump for just 7 kms, we finally reached Iqbal Park and I sighed a great relief as I could breathe freely without need of any ventilator…which might have been used if journey had continued for few more moments.