After a real long time, I was traveling in the bus. Well, one of the reasons, was the autowala was asking me to shell out a 100 bucks to travel 2 kms, which under ' not peak' hours would have been 15 bucks. I spent Rs 2 in the bus. The journey is an experience. A microcosm of sorts. And if you're in Hyderabad, and have never traveled in a bus, I urge you to do so, in sane hours only.
I was traveling back home after some shopping. I was running a little late and I had to reach home by 6: 30 PM, thats when Driti's secret alarm goes off and she realizes mama's not in yet. The woman sitting next to me also seemed to be in a hurry. She kept looking at her watch and outside the window, as if that would frighten the traffic and clear the way for her to reach her destination.
I think she saw me looking at her, 'cause she turned toward me as if explaining the reason for her very 'natural' behaviour. " You see my son's exams are happening, and I need to reach home on time, so I could study with him", I think she meant to say, she had to make him study. "If I don't go, he won't study me". Again I thought I should hear that as 'If I don't go, he won't study without me'. I was hoping it was not English she'd be teaching him. " You not making children, so you can't be understanding" Translated to " You don't have children, so you can't possibly understand, you kid!", " As a matter of fact, I do. I do have a child"
" Oh I see!" ( no translation required), " You looking like college student, with bag and all" (she was refering to my laptop bag. I had gone shopping directly after work). " How old?", she quizzed me, as if I were lying to her because of some hidden agenda, she wanted to find out.
"Oh! That's ok", she dismissed, as if to say a 1 year old was much easier to handle than her school going kid. I wanted to invite her home that minute, so we could have a contest on which of us does the real work in bringing the child up! But I decided against it. Perhaps in a couple of years, I'd look younger, what with running around when my kid's exams are 'happening'. So I did the most diplomatic thing I could do. I smiled.
She kept peeping out the window so much so that I wanted the bus to fly down to her place. " Small children only crying for food, and sleeping. Big children, making us cry" , she laughed. I smiled. Now waiting desperately for my stop. It was just round the corner.
" Boy/ Girl?"
"Girl children really quite. Not as naughty as boys." I was wondering how bad it'd have been. My daughter was in no way silent. She was definetely not the docile kinds. She is an outdoor 'person'.
" Oh! I won't know', I answered.
"I telling no?"
" My stop", I said. "Oh you came of first aa?" translated" Your stop is here before mine?"
"Yes" I replied, secretly thanking god, for the little miracle, before I forgetting english speaking.