I was returning back home from other part of the city, this time I was taking the bus ride - unusual corporate me. Mostly I tend to incline myself to the 2 wheeler or if am too tired to ride then I take complete advantage of the gifted, yet stubborn auto fellows for a drive. It costs me several bucks which I hesitantly shell out, but rather forget about the fact when the eventual event is worth it.
Since the scorching sun was right above my head and not a drop of water had trickled down my throat from a couple of hours, I was bathing in vehemence. Adding spice to the already provoked anger, the smell of shit and urine hit my nose every step I took.[This is the case in most of the bus stops - Wonder where all the tax paid has gone to?]. Battling the sweat and avoiding the street hawkers I finally managed to reach a counter where I could get some refreshment to quench my thirst. On the menu I could either opt for a bottled drink or a freshly squeezed cup of cane juice hinting a bit of lime and ginger. Considering the previously iterated detailing of the smells around, I chose the much hygenic bottled cold badam milk. [I can hear a few hushes out there. Nope I am not acting like those foreign returns here. I still drink cane juice at other outlets, happily gulp pani puris or gol gappas on the roadside. But this was an exception, merely because of the filth that surpassed all my tolerence levels.]
Soothing my throat with the cold fluid, I next dared a little to walk down the pathway, where city buses rushed down to thier bays, in of course the very much known hapazard way. Less familiar with the bays, it took me about 10 minutes to get hold of the right one. Though not the direct bus I thought of doing one stop hop. So I was there trying to get into a bus which came halting with a screeching sound almost scraping through my right arm. I was at the door when it stopped at the bay, but the crazy crowd attacked the passage, that I literally managed to fight through the lot, just to be the 10th one to board it. I held on to a seat on a 3 seating arrangement. Another struggler who looked to be in his late 60's succeeded and sat on the neighboring seat.
The third seat was also occupied in no time. The bus was full, yet the driver was in no mood to leave. He was waiting for more passengers probably to meet his deadlines by the end of day. Various perfumes mixed with the smell of Jasmine flowers, Jhonson's baby powder applied to a tender kid, the not wanting odor of sweat. This cumulative effect was almost in the verge of knocking me down, right then driver switched on the engine, fresh air blew to keep me still grounded.
I generally dont start a conversation with any stranger and neither do I shoo away the ones who try to have a general talk with me. This old Uncle sitting next to me, named some XYZ kicked off by asking the favourite stranger talk starters - "What you doing madam?", " Are you from this city?" , "Where do you live?" to which I vaguely responded with one word or maximum by a single liner.
We had crossed a signal or two and there was a fat lady who was managing to handle two kids and a huge bag in the little space she was standing. Before I could get up and offer a seat, there was a sudden burst of shout from a fellow lady passenger trying to become the heroine at the scene. She goes on with her low language terms which I could not even understand as it was in her own local language. I responded back by letting her know that I was ill too and I was not even given an opportunity to request the mother of 2 kids to take my seat. She was not ready to listen a word and continued with her bad mouth shouts. I ignored this and asked the poor lady to shift to my seat as it was getting really difficult for her to handle 2 kids there - amidst the cruel nauseating crowd. She kindly obliged with a thank you. I continued to stand next to the same seat as there was only enough space to breathe, not move.
While I stand this stranger goes on "So how much do your company pay you ? Must be high ahhh!? " I gave a look of a sarcastic "Yeah" and replied some amount $$$ definitely way below my payscale. He was on a rapid fire set and I was now getting concerned about his intentions. Still I portrayed my calm profile not giving him the exact details.
Few more Questions that poured in were:
"you married? Do you own a house or any other property?"
"you invest in Gold or any mutual funds?"
"Why dont you get into some business to deal with on weekends?" - This was some suggestion I guess.
My responses were a No, No and not interested with a humble smile. By now the 3rd seat occupant had to alight and so he gets up making way for me to rest again. I thought of ignoring this next seat stranger but he did not give up. Next in order to keep the conversation active he said "I have a daughter who resembles you and she is settled well off in Saudi. She and her husband in total earn way lot more than people here. I am a retired defence official and currently I do consulting for real estate and property." When he saying all this I kept nodding my head and at the end of it I realized that he is yet another agent who keeps roaming in the city all day, catching hold of young innocent techie's. If these victims are not smart enough, they end up loosing a huge sum into some dummy investment or the like.
He tried to execute his well practiced plan on me, only to end up with a rejection for all the policies he tried marketing. I glanced out of the window and was delighted when I saw the bus moving to the destination bay not because I was scared, but I was half way home. Another 20 minutes and I would be in front of my plate having my lunch. The thought of it made me happy.
Beware!! there are such high profile agents trying to cheat on you. Not that everyone is a cheat but you should be clever enough to draw the line.