Tue, 25 Jun, 2024

The Seat By the Window

By Bhishan Bhandari

Lucky today, a fine seat at the second row patiently waits for me. A big fat man insists me to stay to a seat with the window while he remains to my left. The conductor on top of his voice tries to collect passengers while I think on my own, it's a skill. The driver must be satisfied to have a fine conductor like him. He says softly, “To the last seat sister”. A whistle blows, Oh! There's a traffic. The driver slowly adds motion to the micro bus.

The man beside me manages to find his ringing cell phone almost at the end of the ring. I do not understand why he put the call onto loud speaker. Saudi Arab, is that the word I heard? Yes it is. He belongs to some manpower office I guess. “The salary is same but the company is different”, he said. From the conversation it's clear that the caller was supposed to be sent to some other company while he has his flight after 2 days to an anonymous company. That’s sad, isn't it? But he can't deny as well. Every year the number of applications for flying abroad is ascending and at this point it seems like every single youth wants to find a way to work abroad. That’s okay I suppose unless you have a situation like this one. I see no guilt in that face sitting beside me. That’s his daily dose, may be.

Two biology students (girls) seated in front of me with a heavy load on their bags are discussing about their schedule today. General anatomy of Rat. So, they are going for a dissection today, I say to myself. I've done that as I too used to be a biology student sometimes back. This reminds me of a mischievous act a close friend of mine did. He had the tail chopped off from the body (Rat) given for dissection.

Brakes, another stop. The driver cunningly managed to stop the micro bus somewhere near a huge crowd of people waiting for local transport. The horn of the bus behind us wants to move us away to have that crowd of passengers. The man beside me finds his way out of the vehicle. There is a hot discussion regarding the micro bus fair with another passenger and the conductor. She argues “You can't take fare of this child.” while the conductor won't let her go without the fare paid. I can see the smile on each passenger's face. I know what the cause for the smile is. He must be somewhere around 12 to 13 years of age. Yes the child the woman was arguing about. To every parent their children seem small but this doesn't mean you skip fares like this.

 3 inches?, I ask to myself. A white skin with a pencil hill of that height approaches to the empty seat beside me. Even children in the micro bus must have felt the manliness inside them. She was beautiful but I'd rather like to say sexy (at least here in Nepal).

Two men behind our seat are talking about a house they want to buy. Are people in Nepal getting richer? The other part of my head says, how about the one's selling the house? Every part of Kathmandu has been densely populated with the cements and bricks. All the facilities are concentrated within the valley. Equality development is something clearly ignored in Nepal. The life style of people in the capital city is getting better while the people from some other part of the country still starve. I position myself to see people struggling to adjust inside the micro bus. “Quality lifestyle?”, at least not in the bus.

The silence…. This remained for a long time until a voice from the back summoned the conductor to stop the micro bus. It's not a valid station says the driver rolling the tire some meters further to find a suitable place to stop. Aggressively, the man shouts to the driver. The driver denies tolerating the disrespect throwing harsh words back. Passengers in the bus including me stay calm until the quarrel settled. People relying on local transport experience this on a daily basis.

Two men seated next to the driver are loud enough for me to hear them. I wonder why people interested in politics have a loud voice. I personally get irritated with louder voices. I have no idea of what they're talking about. With a weird face I whisper, not my cup of tea. Thank god. The music…. Not amongst my favorite tracks but at least better than the annoying talk. I'm sure the driver got bored too.

“Here, brother the money.” I repeat “here brother” as I felt the boy didn't hear my voice. Near to my station. He visions a student identity card in my hand. I see he is not entertained by passengers like me (students). The conductor asks the driver to slow down. I twist my wrist to make sure I'm not late. Its 8:40 A. M, I have 5 minutes to reach to my college. My head says you're not late. I wonder how come my head judge so fast. I'm a genius. Haha. The door slides to let me out of the bus. With the softest tone I utter “excuse me”. I see the smile in her face as she allows me to leave the bus. WOW….

(Bhishan Bhandari is a student studying in the second semester at DWIT.)