One of the greatest nightmares for a software engineer is not the bugs in his program but the rush in the morning bus he has to board in order to get to work.
From day one, I have been boarding this particular mode of public transport since it was the fastest and most efficient way that was available.
I live with four of my college friends, who fortunately have jobs in Chennai but none of us work in the same company or at least travel in the same direction.
So it was a usual morning and I came to the bus stop a little late than usual, missing the bus that comes at 8.05 am. The next bus available will be coming by 8.45 and heck it will be too darn crowded. I was praying that the bus wasn’t too crowded.
Once I got into the bus, I was able to find a spot near the first seat of the bus and stood there with the nearby pole as a support. Balancing my bag in one arm I passed a 50 rupee note to the girl who was standing near me and told her that I needed a ticket to Navalur.
She passed it to the conductor who was at the other end of the bus and asked me for one rupee. Apparently the conductor has been shouting at me to give me the said money and I didn’t notice until this girl nudged me.
As I passed on the coin she returned the ticket and the change to me with a smile. I don’t know what the reason behind her smile was.
May be she was listening to her favourite song through her headphones or she was smiling at me…
I kind of shrugged and concluded that it was the former. The later was highly impossible.
After some time she got a seat right next to the front doors and sat down with her sling bag on her lap. My stop was a good 30 minute ride from where I was now and since I didn’t have anything else to do I started watching this girl.
She was happy that she got a window seat and was so interestedly seeing out the window that she never noticed me. I was silently thanking her for not noticing though.
She must be around 20. And she is definitely not working in any of the software companies. She just did not look like the software job girl. I might be wrong, but my intuition said that she is not from any of those companies in the IT Park.
The bus was suddenly stopped with a big jerk and she got a little scared. I could tell by the way she held on to her seat and closed her eyes for a moment. Her hand flew to the area where her heart is and then she looked at me. Guess she was wondering if I knew the reason for the sudden brake. But I was as clueless as she was.
The driver started the bus again after 10 minutes. But those 10 minutes were the wonderful time I spent this morning. We both kind of locked our eyes on each other and she studied me. For a moment I studied myself. Off all days I had decided to wear formals today and I think I look pretty well for a 23 year old guy.
Once the bus started running she looked out the window. But every now and then she would look at me. I started smiling like a goof I was. I could see that I was nearing my stop and had to get down. For the first time in my life I wanted to take a day off just to go behind her. But a stupid voice inside me said it wasn’t worth it and I decided to follow that voice’s advice.
My office was right opposite to the Navalur bus stop. I got down and started walking towards the zebra crossing area. The bus started moving again and I turned around just in time to see the girl looking out the window at me. I smiled and she smiled at me. Her smile grew wide at my smile and I felt like I had won the world.
Just for a moment I forgot that I was supposed to cross the road and reach my office. Instead I was there standing there at the bus stop, smiling like an idiot and staring at a bus that was slowly receding.