one hand straight up holding the chill iron bar and another into the warm pocket. your body is so unbalanced, people pushing from every side, no gaps maintained and you feel you are hardly breathing. This is what happens in a normal local bus in kathmandu.
This was the exact condition with me today. I was traveling from Naxal, kathmandu towards Lalitpur. As usual there were no seats available to rest myself, I had to stand. Legs aching, so was the condition of hands. I was frequently changing my hands just to ease the pain of holding those cold iron bars in the bus. There was no sign of any space but still the bus was being stopped at different stations to force people inside.
While the conductor was playing some tricky game to bring people in, I was lost somewhere in my feeling but when I retrieved myself to that horrible situation, I discovered a girl standing just in front of me facing the opposite side. I couldn’t see her face but just her black silky hair and her backbone covered with red hood. Her purse hanging by her left shoulder and the right arm was busy maintaining the body balancing with the support of the same iron bar on which I was sticking. Even though I couldn’t see her face to know who she was but her perfume and the sweet saint of her hair conditioner or shampoo was attacking one of my sense organs in a very aggressive mode. I didn’t want her body to be touched but the crowd within the bus didn’t let my wish be fulfilled. Yes, I couldn’t maintain the gap between us. That let me feel the saint of her perfume even more and I started feeling a kind of pleasure within that wretched condition.
After a while, I heard someone’s phone ringing. It was some english song being set as the ringtone. And there she was fishing her phone out of her purse. It was a Samsung branded phone. It wasn’t my intention to look over her phone but inadvertently I saw her phone screen where it was displayed,’Mom calling’.
“Yes, mom. I am in the bus, I will be home after around 20 minutes.” she replied to her mom who must have asked when she was coming home as the darkness was hogging the day.
I was shocked, I was surprised as the voice which I just heard was something like I had heard before. My brain started accessing and comparing the voices that were stored in there against the one I heard a moment ago. After doing that arduous job, it confirmed a match. I finally reminded myself about a girl who was my classmate back in the college days. It was her voice.
Now, my heart wasn’t in the normal condition. It was hardly finding some space to bounce in that slender gap between us. Ok, fine that she was the girl from my college. She was one of my old pals with whom I had lost contact since then but why was my heart thrilling so intensely? why was I feeling like that?
For which my heart replied, “You weren’t just a normal friend to her once remember? she was someone special to you which you haven’t revealed ever.”
But, still I couldn’t confirm that the girl standing in front of me was her only by hearing her voice. I wanted to inspect her face as well to make a solid decision which was quite like impossible in that condition. Later, with multiple attempts using different techniques I managed to see half of her face, the left part. Her hair running down her lovely cheeks covering the ear was so adorable scene. Moreover, I saw her wearing a mask to protect her vulnerable lips. Else the blast of wind from the windows could have kissed them for free.
My confusion was still not cleared. I once thought of calling her and talk but I just couldn’t because of the fear of being considered as some kind of jerk if she wasn’t the girl I was thinking. I let her become mysterious further. But, as I was letting the mystery to continue, my curiosity was increasing more and more and I wanted to talk to her right away.
Suddenly, the conductor shouted that we had reached ‘purano bus park’. Almost half of the passengers stood up to get off there. As I had to continue my journey with the same bus I was wishing her to do the same. I had already planned, there would be a number of seats available after few seconds. I would go sit with her and then unravel all the mystery behind that voice. But, as people were paying and getting off the bus, I saw her queuing up to get out as well. And yes after a minute, I saw her stepping out of the bus leaving the sweet saint of her perfume glued with me.
There I was resting my aching legs but regretting. A moment ago, I didn’t want to call her up in public and now I was in regret of not doing that. I was in complete disaster. I started tormenting myself. What a kid I am? I didn’t have guts even to speak to her. Who knows maybe she was the same girl I was thinking and maybe something would turn around after today.
I couldn’t withstand. I just got off the bus and looked around for her. And there she was walking towards another bus which I knew she was heading towards bhaktapur. This reduced my doubt over her as the girl from my college is from koteshwor. I thought she was the same girl and I have to catch her and talk to her anyhow. As I was following her steps down the road, someone heavily tapped my shoulder.
I paused right there. I thought someone noticed me chasing her. Now, I’m caught up in some issue.
Making my heart heavier, I turned around. It was the conductor of the bus. “Aren’t you paying me?” he asked with aggressiveness in his voice. Then, I realized that she had solely dominated the control over my mind. Apologizing to him, I paid his money and continued chasing her.
“Hey”, I called her.
She turned around. Within the few milliseconds she took to turn around, I wished she had turned herself more gorgeous than she was. She took off her mask to respond to me.
And all my mystery became crystal clear. She wasn’t the girl I was thinking.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t intended to you.” I said and left.
Thinking how foolish I was, I went back to the same bus.
“Didn’t you catch her up?”, the conductor smirked. I found that he had noticed that I was chasing her.
“No”, I replied him sincerely and entered the bus just to discover that every seats were packed already. I regretted again. Then, I chose the same place where I was standing earlier before I heard the mysterious voice, trying to feel that sweet saint of her perfume and hoping the real one will appear someday somewhere.