An Eventful Hour on the Bus

I had to wait for about ten minutes before the bus arrived. I was headed to the dentist.

Buses are usually full at that time of the evening. Between my home and my destination, a church was conducting a festival they conduct on a yearly basis for a few days and because of that, traffic was much, much slower than usual. Vehicles moved ahead by a metre or so every ten minutes; that slow.

When my bus arrived, I wasn’t sure there were any seats empty but I had to get in because I was running a little late, and I had to get through so much traffic. Upon climbing in, I realised I was right and there was no place to sit. So I just grabbed one of the handles hanging from the rod attached to the ceiling of the bus, and stood in the aisle, as a few of the other passengers were doing. I assumed I would eventually get a place to sit when passengers disembarked on the next stop, or maybe the one after that.

The traffic near the bus stop wasn’t that bad, but after a kilometre or so, it got worse, and even worse after that. Vehicles were virtually standing still, for as far as the eye could see. In the opposite lane, though, cars were coming towards us at normal speed and traffic was pretty manageable there, even after the arriving lane had been reduced from two parallel lanes to one; the other one being used to divert traffic from our lane and reduce some traffic here. Needless to say, it was working about as well as a band-aid on a fracture.

I just looked around, at the people in and out of the bus. There were a couple of college-going guys quite like myself, sitting in the backseat and talking about some games and apps on the App Store, their compatibility, and their opinions on the same. There was another dude sitting at the front of the bus yelling into his phone, speaking about how he was definitely not going to pay “that asshole” INR 25,000. You know, in India, places are so crowded and people are by default and quite literally, very close, the concept of ‘personal space’ isn’t as elaborate as it may be in other countries, like, say, the US. People don’t mind if there’s other people looking over your shoulder and into your phone screen when you’re texting your girlfriend. Hell, they’ll tell you if they think you should be typing whatever you want to say in a more “conservative” manner. At least its this way in Mumbai, and after that shouty dude finished talking on his phone, a bald guy sitting next to him asked him, “Aaj kal aisa hi sab chalta hai desh me, sab paise ke peeche! (This is exactly what is going on in the world today, everybody is after money!)” The two talked for a good twenty minutes before the bald guy had to get off at his stop. They even exchanged cards before doing so. Friendships on the bus.

The bald dude was the last to disembark at his stop and the bus driver immediately started the bus once he had. There was a lady about twenty metres away, running towards the bus just as he started it. He must have seen the lady, but since she wasn’t at the stop, he didn’t stop for her. Lucky for her, the signal ahead just turned red so she caught up to the bus there and climbed in through the front door, which, mind you, is strictly meant for disembarking and only senior citizens/differently abled people are allowed to embark from there. She looked really tired but angry. As soon as she walked up to the door, the driver told her to, “Please, get in through the back.” She just climbed in to the front instead and started scolding the driver for why he didn’t stop the bus for her when he clearly saw her trying to get to it, back at the bus stop. The driver explained that he won’t stop for every other person on the road, the bus stops only on signals and at bus stops. She then threw the ‘but I’m a woman’ argument at her. At that point her net level of respect in my mind and presumably in that of most of the people in the bus, fell quicker than Kim Kardashian’s reputation. After a while she realised her arguments were losing steam and now that the bus conductor and a couple of passengers had also chimed in with the driver, she acknowledged she was outnumbered and outmatched by sitting down in a huff.

I decided not to plug in my headphones this time, and in retrospect, it was a fruitful decision since I probably wouldn’t have been able to write this post as well if I had.

A Rare Breed

During the latter stages of school and for most of college, complaining how bad your teachers are, is pretty commonplace among student circles. At least that’s the way it is here. And its no different with my friends, and friends of friends, and the friends-so-distant-you-don’t-even-know-they’re-the-least-bit-related, and the people I overhear complaining about the teachers. But occasionally, that too if you’re lucky, there comes a teacher who you just cannot nitpick about. And its not just the teaching part that she’s so good at, but also the being-a-likeable-human-being part. Remember how I said ‘if you’re lucky’?

Well, here’s what happened. I switched subjects this year (I’m in the 12th Grade, or the second year of Junior College), from Mathematics to Philosophy. I had taken Math in the 11th owing to some general advice of a school teacher and also an administrative misdirection by a college official, and Math didn’t work out for me. In the meantime I had also decided that I wanted to pursue Psychology as a career (still working out the details, doing some research). Since I didn’t want to continue with Math, the obvious choice was Philosophy as opposed to the third option of History, since not only is Philosophy an immensely interesting subject to me, personally, but it is also a good subject to have a background in if you want to pursue Psychology.

Now, the procedure for switching subjects like this was no doubt a lengthy one. I started inquiring about it towards the end of my 11th and the process dragged on all through my pre-12th vacations and well into the second month of 12th until any official announcement came from the college. So right until it got wrapped up, from my point of view I had a very realistic chance of 50-50 of having Philosophy as a subject to study. When it did get wrapped up, it was a relief like no other I’ve felt in recent times. But that’s not the point of this post.

The teacher I’ve got for Philosophy is, in short, pretty much awesome. There’s different kinds of awesome when it comes to teachers, and it depends on what kind of student you are. If you’re the kind that likes the subject to be stimulating, something that makes you think, genuinely be drawn to the subject in a natural, progressive way, then awesome would mean a teacher that explains the subject very well, makes lectures not seem like lectures, makes them interactive, doesn’t stick to the text, and does not give you everything on a silver platter. That’s the kind of teacher I’ve got. Not only that, but she also takes interest in every student, she knows a lot of our names, and comes off to me as a very pragmatic but passionate person.

About a week or so back I had to go pay a small amount of money to the college as administrative fees for carrying out the whole subject change process. But the time they’d allotted for us to pay the money fell smack in between our Philosophy lecture of the day so I missed about half an hour of it. I thought I’d still go and try to explain why I was late. When I got there, to my surprise, the classroom was completely empty and our teacher was sitting by the table on the podium, reading something. She was still expecting people to turn up, because as soon as I walked in she asked me if I knew where the others were. These kind of things happen sometimes, everybody decides to bunk the lecture on the same day, knowingly or otherwise is something I won’t comment on ;).

Anyhoo, since I was there, she asked me whether my subject change process had come to a close so I could finally concentrate on Philosophy, and I told her that it was done now that I had paid the money. She looked genuinely relieved, and for a second, almost as much as I was. I’m usually a talkative person if I feel comfortable in the company I am and such teachers usually are that way, so we talked about this and that for a few minutes. Naturally, as a teacher she asked me what my plans were, academically, after I passed the 12th Grade. I told her I was pretty dead set on Psychology but was still considering the exact options I had in that field and had it narrowed down to Counselling, Sports and Criminal Psychology. She expressed surprise at the fact that I was so sure ‘so early’. The fact that I have a blog also came up. She was even more surprised, in a good way. During her lecture a couple of days back she had told us she was quite into fiction, especially the Agatha Christie kind, so there was more surprise for store in her when I told her I had started the blog primarily for the purpose of fiction, the Agatha Christie kind. She told me she was very impressed, and that made me feel really good. Like I was on the right track, more or less. The fact that I was from a reputed school and a reputed education Board, and had done well there, made her even more impressed. Then I realised I may have set the bar too high for my own sake because she told me she expected me to score at least a 95% in my 12th Board exam. sigh

Guess I’ll just have to get down to the books now.

See on the other side, folks!

Kinda Confused What The Title For This Should Be

Ever seen a platypus wandering in the desert? Or a man born in 1846 teleported to Times Square of 2015? Obviously not unless you ARE the platypus and the man out of time.

But have you ever entered the wrong room? Like, you have an exam, your Finals maybe, and you’re scared shitless, because, let’s face it, you’re underprepared, so you’re walking in the hallway, your head bowed down, skimming as speedily as it can over the book you hold in your hands. You bump into every other kid, but at least you’re not looking down to your phone screen, right? There’s a chaotic typical Middle Eastern bazaar kind of situation in your brain, with exam material shooting from one end to another, interspersed with thoughts about self-worth, including, but not limited to your attire at the moment, your hair, whether you’re giving off a too-nervous vibe, and tons of other stuff. Among all this hullabaloo, your brain messes up with your memory and serves you up with the wrong classroom number, which you obviously believe is right and walk into it. You don’t see your serial number on any of the benches. What are you now?

I’ll tell you.

Confused is what you are.

Believe it or not, that little thing above was all just an introduction, a prelude, a prologue to this post.

But yes, confusion is what I’m talking about. There’s a considerate amount of confusion going around in my life these days. And I think about it now and then. Sometimes it overwhelms me, but other times I’m like, “Yeah, I got this,” and then I sort out all the shit in my head but it gets un-sorted before I can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. So I’ve learnt I should write stuff down.

I’m 17 so you kinda get the different kind of things that may be confusing me.

I’m not naive to think that adults don’t get confused. I was that way a few years back but I get it now that there’s a few things that never go away.

But the 16s and 17s are a weird age. 18, 19 and 20 are probably thinking right now, “Oh, we gonna come in like a wrecking ball, yeah!”

I’ve seen posts on Facebook and stuff that go, ‘2015, go easy on me” or “October, please be gentle” and at first I’m grinning a bit and then later I’m like, the hell is that about? You want to do the exact same thing you did in September and you expect October to be easier. How in the world do you expect to have luck that outrageous? So yeah, your grades aren’t going to shoot up if you’re still playing Battlefield all day.

I kinda drifted away from the topic, confusion.

Basically, I was thinking about the blog, and writing in general and brainstorming today morning. And I was reflecting on the last few posts I’ve made, what I think works and what doesn’t.

And then something dawned on me. I don’t know if it can be classified as an epiphany but its definitely something. I was thinking that I created this blog for the primary purpose of writing fiction. I used to think that I will probably write something more than that but I always thought I would have enough fiction pieces to not need too much more to keep the blog ticking over. But I was wrong (yeah, pragmatic part of my brain, you can say “I told you so,” now).

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. One thing I understood right at the beginning is that this blog is something I want to have for a long time to come. I want to write, for a long time to come. I also understood that things like this evolve, over time, into what they are meant to be ultimately. What I didn’t understand however, is that what I’ve started out doing, may not be what I end up doing.

There's a lot of confusing stuff in the world, but the good folk over at 9gag just solved one of them.
There’s a lot of confusing stuff in the world, but the good folk over at 9gag just solved one of them.

What I mean is, I started out with this blog to write fiction, 90%. In the end the pieces may not fit that way. That’s what the confusion is all about.

I get the feeling that fiction is what I want to do. But at this point in time, its non-fiction that’s coming more easily to me. Maybe its just a phase, but its certainly made me think.

As I said, the 16s and 17s are a weird age, and I’m discovering so much right now. And I don’t mean discovering stuff on the internet, I mean discovering, coming to realisations, borderline epiphanies when I’m just sitting around looking into the sky, thinking. And this is going to happen a lot these days since my holidays have started and the number of things I need to do add up to a staggering number of nil.


You just witnessed an outpouring from my mind. You should probably sit down and process if you read this from one of those stand up desks I hear you people have at workplaces now. Contrastingly, you should probably get up and take a few rounds around your couch if you were sitting in the first place.

Once you’re done, do let me know if you guys have ever been through stuff like this? Epiphanies, confusing thoughts, too much time on your hands, whatever, let me know about it 😉

Normal Conversation

Friend: So, what are you reading these days?

Me: Textbooks. I’ve been reading textbooks.

Friend: Your exams are a month away. Guy like you would top them even if you started a week before they begin.

Me: Sure.

Friend: LOL, seriously though, I’m sure you’re reading something good. Back to Grisham for good or still lingering on Baldacci?

Me: Yeah, there’s this real awesome book I know. You’d love it. Its the best work in crime fiction so far.

Friend: Best? Is it new?

Me: Very.

Friend: So that’s probably why I haven’t heard of such a book. What’s the name?

Me: I haven’t decided yet.

Me: (smirks)

Friend: (rolls eyes)

Awesome Quotes: Quotes

No, that isn’t a typo. I didn’t type ‘quotes’ twice, while suspiciously sneaking a colon in there. Quotes, is this Friday’s theme for Awesome Quotes. That’s right, quotes about quotes. Pretty neat, huh?

200 (6)
“Turn to page three hundred and ninety four…”

“Life isn’t about quotes about life.” – Unknown

“Life itself is a quotation.” – Unknown

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.” – Ambrose Bierce

“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A. A. Milne

“Speaking one’s mind once is more honorable than quoting a thousand men.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“I quote others only in order the better to express myself.” – Michel de Montaigne

“I called an insurance company to get a quote. They gave me one of Oscar Wilde’s best.” – Jarod Kintz


Aaaaaand that’s it for this week’s Awesome Quotes! Hope you enjoyed this little rabbit-out-of-the-hat thing (quotes about quotes) because I was really excited when the idea to do something like this struck me a couple of days back.

Come back next Friday for more Awesome Quotes! 🙂