Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A girl walked in to the bus

He looked at her. She wore Jeans & a T Shirt. Had her hair lose. She was carrying a backpack & was looking at her ticket. She then looked at the seat numbers & walked in.

He wondered if he would be lucky enough. He had the isle seat & the window seat next to him wasn’t taken yet. Would she come in & sit there, he thought.

Almost as if the girl had heard his thoughts, she stopped at his seat & looked up to check the seat number again. It read ‘11W 12’. She then looked at him & said “that’s my seat” pointing at the window seat next to him.

He only nodded & stood up on the isle so that she could get in.

The girl sat down. She then looked to him & said, “can you give me a minute, I’ll just pull out some stuff and then I’ll put this up”

“Sure no problem”, he said and tried to distract himself. He looked around the bus. He saw another passenger getting in to the bus. Some other people behind him were settling down. Every now & then he looked at her. She had pulled out a shawl, a water bottle, an eye mask. She had zipped the bag & was out in the aisle to put the bag in the luggage compartment above.

The bag seemed heavy when she lifted it up. It was also fully packed with absolutely no space to squeeze in something. She found it difficult to push the bag in. He had been watching her struggle & volunteered to push. Just about when he got his hands to the bag she gave it one more big push & it finally went in. She turned the bag around such that the top loading zipper was in the front, probably for some easy retrieval later.

She said thanks to him & went over to her seat. “No problem” he said and sat down.

He wondered if he should initiate some small talk. He also thought of what he could ask that didn’t come across too intruding or too personal. He didn’t seem to get anything then. He however was excited that a nice pretty girl was sitting next to him. She looked like she was in her early twenties. He went ahead and put a number to her age. He thought she must be about 24 years old. If she is on the way to Pune, then probably she is either studying or working there. He suddenly felt the air around him becoming warm. The girl looked out of the window & had her shawl & eye mask on her lap. She had placed the water bottle in the bottle holder on the front seat. He noticed that she had only looked out of the window ever since she took that seat.

While he continued to ponder whether he should initiate a talk or not a rude thought struck him. He suddenly wanted to reconfirm if he had occupied the right seat. He immediately pulled out his wallet from his pant pocket & took a look at the ticket that was in it. Seat Number - 12 it read. He immediately got up to look at the seat numbers. That seemed to alert the girl. She turned & looked at him. When he realized she was looking & looked back at her, she smiled. He smiled back.

“I was just checking if I have taken the right seat”, he said. That was to her but he just said it without looking at her.

“So are you in the right seat”. She asked.

“Yes” he said & then looked at her. Her face looked pretty close. She didn’t seem to be uncomfortable by that closeness. It was also clean sans any make up & blemishes.

“So you going to Pune”, She asked.

“Yes”, he said & continued, “Guess you are too”

“Yes”, she replied.

“Are you from Pune?” He asked her. This time around he had moved himself back a bit. The extra distance between their faces seemed more comfortable for him now.

“No, I work there”, she said.

“Nice. Well I work there too. I work in a Recruitment firm. How about you” he replied.

“I work in a BPO”. She replied.

He didn’t think of asking her the company name. He felt that was not right. He also felt he should not be thinking like that & let the conversation simply flow. After all she had started it & it seemed she didn’t mind talking. So what was the harm after all. But some how he felt it was not right & didn’t pursue asking her the company name.

The Volvo bus they were sitting in was slowly getting full. The seats around them were all occupied. A couple of seats in the front & back were yet to be taken. The driver had got in & taken his seat. He switched on the engine & the AC. Somebody in the front seat had just started complaining how hot it was inside.

During the course of the next few minutes, the boy & the girl learnt a bit more about each other. She was in Pune for about a year now. She was from Bangalore & had worked there in an Insurance BPO. A better position & pay came up with the Pune based company & she decided to take it up. Her parents were not very excited by the idea, but luckily there were a couple of relatives in the city & their assurance on Pune being a Student & Employee friendly city, got her the go ahead. She didn’t stay with the relatives. She said it wouldn’t make either of them comfortable. She was anyway in the UK shift & that would also put some unnecessary strain on the folks who had got used to a particular kind of lifestyle. The guy worked for a Recruitment firm & was also from Bangalore. He had been deputed in the company’s Pune branch to help some local company find some call center boys & girls for them. She had asked for how long he would be in Pune. He had replied may be two months at the most.

All the passengers seemed to have taken their seats. The conductor walked down the aisle to the back checking if every seat had indeed been occupied. He returned to the front of the bus & instructed the driver to get started. The driver it seems had to only put his foot on the accelerator. The bus started to move. The TV was switched on & “Jab we met” began to play.

“It’s a very sweet movie”, she said.

He turned to look at her. “Yeah it’s a great movie”

The titles started & the girl began to open up the shawl. In the process her left hand touched the boy. “Sorry” she said. “its Ok” he replied. As if he could say anything else to her.

He felt very nice at that moment. He seemed to have forgotten about the task ahead for him in Pune. A nice movie was playing on the screen. A pretty girl was sitting next to him & more importantly they had started to talk. The girl had covered herself in the shawl & was watching the movie. He could notice only so much from the corner of his eye. He pushed his seat back a bit & relaxed. She followed suit soon after & pushed her seat back as well.

They didn’t speak a word thereafter. Both were engrossed in the movie. Every now & then they could hear each other smiling & laughing or just reacting to the movie. He continued to feel nice & at some time he pushed his seat fully back & dozed off.

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