Have you ever travelled on a public transport bus in Kolkata? They are generally full to the utmost level and capacity of the bus. There won’t be even space for breathing.At each and every stop, fifteen to sixteen people would get up and no one would get down and few people would even be hanging by the bus door.
Once, I had gone on a trip to Kolkata city and there I had got up on the bus which looked a bit empty. The conductor pulled the bell “ting ting” and the bus left.As I mentioned before, there was medium rush on the bus.But after the next stop, people started getting up on the bus like the people who overcrowd the stadium when going to watch a favourite football match.
It really started getting crampy and people on the bus were automatically pushing each other.It had become so crowded. In between that magnanimous crowd, the bus conductor came and said-“Ticket”.
I told him my destination and he said-“five rupees”.
Now, I didn’t have any change with me, so I gave him a hundred rupee note.
He told me-“ I will give you the change after some time.”
A bus conductor has to keep a note of how much change he has to give and to whom and that too before that person’s stop comes.
The bus became more crowded as it moved on to more stops.
In between the conductor came infront of me a few times, but he didn’t say a single word regarding the change he was supposed to give back to me.
For a few minutes, I had fallen asleep as it generally happens when bus journey becomes tiresome and hot wind starts blowing in from the open window and at that time a person may fall asleep.
But luckily I woke up as the bus gave a jolt and I saw that there were still five stops to go for my stop to arrive.
Now there were only three stops left, but still there was no sign of the conductor.
Two stops left, but still no conductor.
One stop left, still he didn’t come.
I got up and in that smelly and full to the brim crowd, I called him out-“ Sir, please give my change.My stop is coming.”
I got no response from him. I went towards the bus gate getting sandwiched in between people and also getting wafts of nearly everyone’s perspirations. As I reached the bus gate, I had given up all hopes of getting back my ninety five rupees back.
Only ten seconds were left for my stop to come, when I felt someone tapping me from behind.
I turned back and saw that the conductor was tapping me.He handed me the ninety five rupees change just in time and my stop arrived. I thanked him a lot and he gave me small smile in returns to my thanks.
After getting down from the bus, I congratulated myself on being able to get those ninety five rupees back as they felt like a gift to me, because as I mentioned before, I had given up the hope of getting it back.
When I told ma this incident, she said-“ It is not common for everyone to give a hundred rupees note as ticket fare and he knows which note belongs to whom and he definitely remembers the amount of change to be given back to each and everyone.Its his job and they are well trained for it.
I –“Yes ma. But still ain’t it a good thing that I got the money back?”
Ma-“It sure is.”