Monday, April 3, 2017

Bus Journey #atozchallenge

B for Bus Journey

Being in India, buses become a part of our daily lives.  There were times where cars were a symbol of  luxury and shows the financial status of a family.  Now its more of a convenience and we can see it became so casual for a normal middle class family to own one or even two.

In my school, college days our daily commute was via buses. Being in an extreme remote part of the city our place was connected only by bus routes. Whether it is to the inner part of city or to a different city our commute means was one or more buses..  I rarely remember going via train; it was a real different experience to write.

My place has buses usually off schedule, though the almost 2000+ populated place completely relies on them. So always it is crowded and overflowing with frustrated / tired people.  During college days with a heavy bag I remember many times we stood near the entrance half way through the journey. We heard many love stories happened during the bus commute.

Running into the moving bus and catching places to sit was a usual thing to do, without any hesitations though completely aware of the dangers. Mostly all the shopping was done by my father for the entire family due to that kind of bus commute. We never really complain about not taking us. The fewer visits to my grandma's place in the city were by buses and felt really long though the actual ride time was 40 to 50 minutes.

My dad travels to different cities for Sports camps and took us with him and usually those long journeys were via buses... those 9 to 12 hour rides were most memorable though tiresome.  I remember reading the milestones and calculating the distance and the time left.

Days moved on... Moving to a different city for work, again the daily commute was via buses; this time it was so comfy with push back seats and no standing crowd. The journey time of 60 minutes were mostly spent on calls to my family away in a different city, solving Sudoku puzzles and a nice nap.  The 9 hour long travel to my home town happened via buses too and mostly spent on sleep as they were night rides usually.

Moving to the United States, the bus route to work was so scenic and fresh in my mind.  Again, calls to my family in India and hearing songs become the routine during the nearly one hour journey.  The spring, autumn and winter rides were all different and beautiful in its own way.

These days in India, I rarely take bus to work or for any other place.  Buying a car became necessary; almost all the commutes happen via car or auto rickshaw.  My 3.5 year old son has never really traveled by bus till a couple of days back.

Marking completion of his pre-kinder garden year, an annual day school function was arranged in the school's main branch.  The rehearsals happened a day before and kids were taken by school bus along with a parent.  I was unsure how my son will react with the hottest March weather ever recorded and non A/C buses.  He was used to longer car journeys and even had his first train journey a month back. He was excited though and we packed a lot of snacks and juices for the ride.

The 1.5 hour journey went smooth and he enjoyed the to and fro commute really... we planned to go to the annual day function by car, but my son insisted that we go again by bus. We three enjoyed the ride though the weather was way too hot and it became a memorable ride again.

Friday, April 11, 2014


My Grandmother (paternal) - born in a very orthodox Hindu family, grew up with five siblings, got married at 14 years, went to her husband's place and lived in a big family with four brother in-laws' and their families. Delivered all eight children at home and raised them without much help from any one; not even her husband since he had to travel 25 days a month due to his work.  Lost her first son to cholera when he was just 9 months old; after which she became so very cautious and strict in raising my Father, her second son.

Got all her children - 4 daughters and 3 sons married, and saw all her thirteen grandchildren grew up and three great grand children's birth. Victim of a burglary at the age of 80, kept on working till she went to her sick bed; struggled with kidney failure for 3 months and passed away at the age of 85.

It has been more than 3 years since she died; but I can feel her wonderful smell when I think of her.  The first and most pleasant smile that I know; next is my baby boy's:)

When I was just 3 months old, my parents had to move to their first home they bought in the outskirts of the city.  Since my grandpa was sick and couldn't stay in a remote place far away from Hospitals, my grandparents decided to stay in the City with other two sons and their families.

Though we moved far away from the city, my grandma still managed to visit us more frequently.  She used to bring all the groceries required, carried them all alone and managed to catch the first bus to our place. She spends the whole day - helping my mom in all chores, planting new seeds in the garden, improving the home with her many ideas and playing with me, she leaves by the last bus.  

Her visits gradually reduced once my grandpa was bed ridden.  Rather we visited her frequently.  Very rarely I get a chance to spend a week of my summer vacation in my grandparents' place. During the time, I learnt many little chores from my Grandma.  Those were the days I loved most as a kid.  

My visits reduced to twice or thrice a year and stayed with her for a couple of days. Later, I went to work in a different city from my native place.  Once I returned home, I was surprised to see her at my parents' place.  I still remember her running like a little kid to open the door. I can still feel her tight hugs and her tears; later I understood the tears were not only out of joy in meeting me but also of the loneliness she felt.  

Few years later, I took my parents along with me to the city where I worked.  My father who visited her frequently, could not travel that frequently - it was 8 to 10 hours commute one way.  Then I had to travel to the US for a couple of years.  Meantime, my grandma fell ill; and I was not informed of the same.  

Few months after me returning home,  my grandma's condition worsened.  She suffered a lot during her last days; and we had to travel a lot to my native city to visit her.  She was in the hospital mostly.  One late morning, while at work, I got a call from my dad that my grandma passed away in the ICU.  I purchased a top quality Fleece for her from the States, which I never could give to her!

I still feel that I could not spend as much time as I wished with my Grandparents - especially my grandma.  I wish she is around so that I can tell her stories of my travel; I wish she is around to witness my marriage and I wish her presence most when I delivered my first child.

My mom, is one such woman, who loved her mother-in law more than her mother.  She respects and still follows her Mother in law's way of doing things.  I understood more of my grandmother from my mother.

Now, after marriage, with a seven month old son, I still like to hear a lot more inspiring stories of my Grandma from my mother.  I still amuse at the patience a woman has had in raising each of her eight children obediently and the bonding she created among all of them; how she created a happy, safe environment for each of her children; and how she took care of each of them and their little families too.

Whenever I loose my nerve or feel lazy, I remind myself of the woman who created a wonderful Family - which definitely needs a lot of patience and self discipline.

Baby, Boy, Blue, Busy but Best...


It was a complete surprise when we heard that we are going to have a baby!

It was because of the prescribed X-ray test, where we were denied an x-ray as the lab assistant needed a letter from my PCP on my health condition, we went back for a blood test. I was shaken when my PCP called me the very next morning to confirm it is a positive for pregnancy!

We saw the little sac in Ultra Sound when it was just 3 weeks :) Each and every moment thereafter was / is sweet and precious.  


My husband and the entire family was expecting a boy when I was wishing for a little girl.  Somehow, I was having a very clear intuition that we are going to get a little boy soon. 

After waiting for 38 suspense filled weeks, there HE came - the sweet, little guy.  It is and will be the most awesome moment in my entire life - hearing his first cry, staring into his puffy eyes, kissing on his red, little lips- I was sobbing, tears running down my face.  


In addition to the happy blue, there were these "Baby Blues" as well.  The pain of recovering from a surgery, constantly crying baby and other emotional aspects tore me down.  

Whatever the pain,  this little pinky cheeks were the best medicine I had.

Busy but Best:

Even after getting help from my Parents, this little boy is keeping me quite busy.  That too, am still on Loss of Pay.  It's really hard to think how busy am going to run after joining work!!

Experiencing each and every minute with this new person, wondering at the little surprises he give, caring on his diet/sleep, receiving the most beautiful smile ever, tapping of the beautiful pink feet -  this is the Best part of my life so far.  Expecting more 'Bests' from this little love of my life!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Angels around you

A - Angels around you

It was the month of January - the harvest season in Southern India. I was eagerly waiting to go to my home town to spend the Pongal holidays (South Indian festival very similar to Thanks Giving) with my family.  It was just 4 months, since I joined as a trainee in a firm in a different city.. Also, it was the first time away from home for me and I was feeling terribly homesick. I even missed 'Diwali' - the festival of lights - holiday for the very first time in my life, since I was not given leave.

Fresh from college, very less exposure to the outside world, in a new city with less known people - Me and two of my girl friends from my town started to the bus terminus; we didn't had any reservations in hand.  We thought we could just catch a bus on the go.

We started from office at 6.15 pm and still hadn't reached half way even after 3 hours.  The entire city was struck with traffic. We reached the terminus at 10 pm.  It was an utter shock to see the rush there. It was like the entire city was migrating.

We slowly went to the place where buses to our city were parked.  Each and every bus was full and people were rushing in to catch seats.  It was like chaos everywhere.  We were unable to rush through the crowd with our luggage and literally were pushed by the crowd to a corner.  So we started to wait.  It was 2 am and we were sitting like so many others who were still expecting to catch the special buses to their cities.

We were sure that we would not catch a bus.  Also, we were unable to return back to our hostels, with our very poor knowledge in the city route buses and their timings. It was something we never expected to happen.  Rather than getting scared, I was completely angry and felt bad about not going to my home.
In addition, we are receiving calls from our parents continuously on our whereabouts and how we are going to return to our hostel.  Unable to answer and unable to accept the fact that we will not be going home this time, we were simply sitting and staring one another.

Fighting my tears back, I was staring at a distant bus. Suddenly, someone called me behind my shoulder. Two boys from our training batch were there; waiting for their buses :)  We were relieved to see them there.
Though we were working at the same place, we never talked much and I was very scared for one of the boys used to do his pranks on me whenever he got a chance and made me cry before my friends.

I was surprised to see him with a serious face expression rather than his usual smiling and funny reactions. He asked me to wait there with my friends and disappeared in the crowd.  After few minutes, all I could hear was "Run, Run!" - he was bursting from one direction, grabbed my bag and ran towards the direction he came from.

Thinking that was also going to be a prank, and unable to leave my luggage I was running behind him.  My two friends were following me with their bags.  I found him getting into a bus which was flowing with men, women and children. He got into the bus and disappeared in the human heads.  I was madly running behind him, got into the same bus, shouting "My Bag, my Bag...".  I found him sitting on a seat with this other guy.

I was crying with this added frustration; and shouted at him.  He smiled, got up from the seat and said - "we saved the seat for you girls.  Go, sit and happy holidays!".  He waited there till we three settled in the seats (which could comfortably occupy two, but that was the least thing to bother at that time), and managed to get down from the bus and was ready to wave us good bye from the nearby window.

I was still shocked with what had happened; and very excited that I'm finally going to my home :)  I happily waved good bye.  After a very tired, drowsy and slow ride, we reached our home town after 8 long hours.
I was glad to find my Father waiting to pick me up.  On our way home, we stopped at a little tea shop and I called this boy, who made this holiday an unforgettable one.  Me and my dad thanked him and heard that he was not going home and would spend it with his friends.

We became very good friends thereafter.  And for this past 8 years, he is this good, dear and best friend I have.  Even then he plays lot of pranks on me; but still he is the one whom I remember as an "Angel" who helped me to have a nice holiday time with my family.

Whatever the situation is - OK, Bad or Worse, there are angels around us who make us smile during tough times. Now, share your story when you felt an unexpected "Angel around You".