En route to the office every single day, there’s a lot of things that capture my attention. Some because of mere repetition while some because of its novelty. I have been taking the same route to work for more than three years now.
Boring as it may sound, somehow that one hour of work is something I look forward to each day. It’s one hour, to myself when I get to stay silent, mentally silent and at ease, as I have no one to answer to or talk to.
There is a lot of noise and chaos, people chasing missed buses, conductors calling out to passengers, people waiting for their rides and for a change, I’m just a mere observer.
As the bus ride commences, I see many people getting on and off. What comes to my mind is how each of them has their own story. A life that entirely defines them.
No two faces are the same, no two people smell the same, some are travelling in groups with friends or co-workers while a few, like me, are all by themselves.
I like to take the window seat on the second last seat of the bus. It was a seating capacity for three. I prefer it over the others, as most of the passengers like to occupy the front seats or somewhere in the centre of the bus, because it ‘jumps’ less when met with uneven roads.
More often, I got the whole seat to myself and it’s like I’ve found my own nook and corner in this public space.
I carry a small AT backpack to work. It has my wallet, a small notepad, pens in all hues, my lunch for the day, a book that reading (mostly fiction), at times my Kindle and a headset. I also carry a lot of change in coins to save myself from the wrath of the bus conductor.
Having comfortably settled myself in this space, I like to soak in the early morning sun which filters in through the bus’s glass windows as the bus rolls through the twisting hilly roads. The warm sun makes its way to me, through the tainted bus glass, in a straight path, illuminating everything that comes along its way. This bright path transports me into a world of wonder, giving me pleasure which no money can buy. This thought sets me free and soothes me at the same time.
I began to wonder, of all the things that I wish to do, that I want to do, the life I’m living, the journey I’m taking, the people I cross, some my companions some not and how each of these people perceives this journey of theirs.
When I was in school, my teachers used to call me, ‘Alice’ like Alice In Wonderland. Because I can so easily drift into a world of my own and this bus ride somehow makes the commute to my wonderland, seamless.
Time slows down, almost as if it’s no longer ticking; where all I do is just observe.
For some weird reason, I’ve always enjoyed travelling by public transport. Autos, busses and long train journeys are my favourites. Even thronged with people, I’m never bothered and in fact, I enjoy getting lost amongst them.
The very first step into my bus dismisses my individuality. For the next hour, I’m a part of this bus as it takes off onto its journey.
My ride has a special lullaby of its own. Humming through the roads, mixed with the sporadic honks and the cold, whistling air as it cradles you to sleep.
It’s like one of those summer naps in the meadows, where the sun filters its warmth to you through the clouds and leaves, not too less, not too much, but just enough to keep you warm. With the soft buzzing talks of your co-passengers narrating the events of their lives, you doze in and out of slumber.
These rides are more about observations: observing and be observed.
And isn’t this what life is all about? Observing and absorbing. Learning from the stories of others. Dreaming about yours.
Unknowingly a few lives are weaved together. You wonder, when faces which make a daily appearance in your story goes missing. There are shy lovers, mothers sitting with their children on their laps, curious eyes peeking into phones of passengers sitting around them.
Then suddenly, a thud and you’re back on that bus, sitting amongst the crowd.