My eyes moved from the first row and it got stuck to the second last seat by the window in the left. It was empty and it looked cozy and welcoming. The bus I just boarded for home was practically empty with just a few college students and 3-4 elderly people sitting here and there leaving the back of the bus alone… in darkness…
The untimely shower had made some people miserable and had disintegrated their lives leaving the streets deserted and making the city look like a distant, sleepy suburb at 8 PM. But they had to admit, the rains left its beauty behind washing up the unbearable dust and bringing down the temperature for people to take a sigh of a short lived relief. I loved it.
Leaving everyone behind, I reached to the seat that I had already assigned to myself inside my head. As I settled down after folding my 3-fold umbrella messily and trying to dry off the marks of the rain from my soaking head and arms I dunked my head inside my bag searching for the headphones only to realize that I left them in the office drawer post the lunch session music time. Helpless but somehow relieved that at least I hadn’t lost them I checked my securely handkerchief-wrapped phone for the time, still around 40-45 minutes till I reach home.
5 minutes of Facebook, whatsapp and instagram each later I was done mingling with the society and my peers. My hair was still dripping wet! Bloody umbrella didn’t help at all. But it was useless to blame that tiny thing as it tried its best and bravely got killed in process to save me from those big drops and gale that almost blew the fragile-framed me from the face of earth. Resting my head on the window adjacent to my seat I at last looked outside. The view was indeed wonderful. All the trees retained back to their green colour when the rain washed out the layer of brown dirt from them. The roads looked the darker shade of black after getting the water therapy that evening. People were standing, walking running on the pavements with umbrellas and rain-coats of different colors making the place look vibrant. I realized that the time had hastened and slowed down all at the same time with people running all over the city to take cover from the rain as well as making the place less populated and isolated thus making the time go sluggishly.
The college kids were chattering up the world within themselves making the bus feel homely and warm. The other elderly people were either looking outside the window carelessly or snoozing away the moment they got into the bus. I on the other hand was observing each and every one in the mode of transport we were in. Sitting all alone noticing how the girl in the red jacket was playing with her hair while talking, how the guy in the three-quarter trousers was laughing on almost anything he said himself, how the guy in the blue T-shirt was staring into nothing and smiling lightly while all his friends were busy talking to each other.
After I finished looking and getting silently acquainted to everyone I now needed the rest of the time to myself. Though work load was immense but I was trying pretty much to leave office work in the office. So once again I peeped outside the window and started humming softly to myself. Traffic was moving slow and I wasn’t complaining at all. I somehow liked the ambience inside the bus. It felt at home.
The bus driver was honking its way through the road, adding a sort of beat to my humming, maybe even he wanted to go home soon, to his family and enjoy the weather. I didn’t mind the noise either. The dim-lit bus was adding an effect to environment. I continued my song.
Being an introvert never bothered me; I loved the time that I spent with myself, not mingling with a lot of people. It didn’t mean I never talked to anyone. I had a lot of friends and loved spending time with them, hanging out, talking and doing other worldly things people do, but not on the sake of my own time. It was not agreeable to me. I needed some time with just myself. And today was just appropriate. Rain, a not so crowded; mostly empty bus, a good weather and just me with myself was a good combination.
I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder all of a sudden that brought me back to the bus from afar. Since when was this guy sitting there in the back seat? Did he hear me humming? I hope I was not very loud.
“Is that the iktara song that you are humming right now?” asked the guy.
“You were humming hey soul sister before that and Rimjhim Gire Saawan before that, right?” he asked.
“I am listening to you from the last 15 minutes, You hum really well. Do you sing this well too? I guess you do”
I, now mute and perennially confused couldn’t make out what happened in the last 50 seconds. Just a few words escaped my mouth “Hi… I’m Ankita and you are?” and I immediately cursed myself for speaking like a fool. Maybe it was because he looked so divine amidst the darkness with red and yellow lights in his background coming from the vehicle head/tail lights almost making a halo around his head. In that full white soaking shirt and blue jeans, straight but ruffled hair caused by the rain, his deep bass voice (he must be a good singer himself) and maybe by the ease with which he talked to me. I again realized I was staring at him now.
He smiled at me or maybe at the foolery that I just performed in front of him and extended his hand towards me for a handshake saying “Hi, Daksh.” “I see you in this bus every day, aloof from the rest of the world, beaming within yourself but observing people. I must say I noticed you too. Sorry for that. And I must add I like the way you are.” He said clearing his throat and smiling again with a hint of inhibition. That smile on his face was never ending and it was distracting as well as attracting me deeply.
How the hell is it possible that I never noticed him! Why did he say he notices me? Why is he sitting all alone? Is he someone like me too? An introvert. I needed answers now… and from him.
True that I took time to open, approaching a person and talking to them was not really my forte. I used to go by my intuition. But this time it was different. I wanted to know this person. In this bus full of hardly 10 people it seemed like I had connected with one today. My mind was telling me I was not alone, I had gotten a companion. I felt happy. I thanked god that I had forgotten my headphones. This was a beginning of many things. Home was just a few minutes away the rain had stopped and I was ready.
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