Being Women

Love In A Bus Journey

Tiyas finds herself amidst the chaos of a city life, grappling with the challenges of crowded buses and missed romantic opportunities.

“Lansdowne! Rashbehari! Gariahat!” the bus conductor yelled while banging against the door. In between coaxing the people on the streets he turned his face and yelled at the passengers, “Keep moving, keep moving ahead towards the rear.”

On any other day Tiyas would have laughed at the apparent contradiction in his words – how can you move ahead, towards the rear? But today she could feel her eyes stinging. Of course, she was not going to cry. It was just frustrating. She had felt so certain that today Adi was going to confess his love. It was difficult to meet on a weekday. Adi had just got a job in an IT firm. She was studying B.Ed. It was difficult for her to meet him on weekends since her parents were usually at home. Fortunately, today Adi had got a compensatory day off after pulling an all-nighter. As a newbie, he did not have enough heft to disappear during the day. What a colossal waste of a day! Adi was normally reticent but she did not expect him to be a blubbering idiot. At least Adi could have told her that he loved her. That would have been enough.

In her anger and frustration, Tiyas had refused to stand near Adi. She stood in the opposite direction. “Let him steam,” she thought waspishly. There was no chance of getting a seat. It was during peak hours, and all seats were taken by regular commuters as the bus departed from the terminus. Tiyas struggled to protect her tote bag filled with rolled charts from being squashed. She should not have stayed out so long. The man sitting in front had a huge parcel on his lap. Otherwise, she would have requested him to hold her bag. By this time, the bus was totally packed. Still, the conductor called out, “Get in, get in, it is all vacant inside,” prompting the passengers to complain. “Go and call people from their homes,” someone taunted. Tiyash was so immersed in her thoughts that she had not realized how crowded the bus was and suddenly she could not even move her head freely, cramped by the sweating bodies which appeared like a single mass all fused together.

She could suddenly feel a hard ridge pressing into her back. She knew what it was but could not move away. She was holding on to the rod with one hand and clutched her bag with the other as the bus rolled. She could feel a cloud of nausea threatening to engulf her as she understood what the abominable man was trying to do as he slowly started to rub himself on her back. Usually, in such a situation she used her elbows to push back or stamp on her assaulter’s toes. But today lost in her thoughts she had been careless and now she was so cramped she could hardly move. And she had chosen a place to stand where she could be groped from all three sides.

Suddenly, the pressure on her back eased with a jerk and a man indignantly protested ” What are you doing?” Before Tiyas could turn her head she heard a familiar voice. Usually it was gentle but today betrayed a barely contained anger. “Don’t even pretend. I know what you were doing. I will stuff it in your mouth if you say one word.” It will remain a mystery how her assaulter could slink away in that crowded space and jump out from a moving bus so fast. Suddenly she was boxed in between two strong arms which held on to the iron rod on either side. Still their bodies did not touch even when the bus lurched like a drunken man. Instead, someone whispered in her ear.

And in that cramped bus, encircled by sweaty bodies, amidst the cacophony she barely caught the words “I love you.” The sordidness that had assailed her vanished instantly. Her heart blossomed like a desert bloom after an unexpected but heavy shower.

By Anindita Chowdhury

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One Response

  1. You have an ability to weave words in a way that one can visualise the world you want us to see! Kudos my friend!

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