On my way back from office today, I took the bus. My mood was a little off already and I didn’t need anything more to make me froth between my clenched teeth. But nevertheless, ‘incidents’ never fail to fall into my lap and here’s what happened on the bus:
Incident #1: A group of giggly office-goers pushed their way into the bus. The bus was empty-ish all this while until this group of four took up some empty seats. Their bottoms were so huge that they seemed to ooze out of the seats. There were three women and a man. The women were typically thick-bodied, salwar kameez-clad, curly hair parted with generous amounts of vermilion. Their hands bore the most obvious marks of marriage- the white and red shankha pola. The man seemed to be younger in age but obviously enjoying the company of the boudis, one of who kept patting his knee as signs of approval. They were discussing their boss in colloquial Bengali. The man even impersonated him a few times. My guess is that the impersonation must’ve been spot on as it brought out peals of laughter from the ladies. The man, who was lanky, had on a very ordinary pair of trousers, a polyester shirt with prominent sweat marks at the armpits. The women wore identical dresses, almost, all all three of them looked shapeless in their kameezes and leggings as salwars/churidars. Their calves bulged out of the tights and no amount of heels (these were typically 90s stuff- platform and looked almost like bricks) could help elongate their stubby legs. The group caused a great deal of commotion and intensified my headache with their loud chatter in horrible, suburban Bengali.
Incident #2: A man selling digestive pills, amloki in Bengali boarded the bus. He anchored himself firmly to one of the handle bars above the backrest, cleared his throat and started screaming at the top of his voice. No, not screaming. He was merely selling his stuff- small packets of hand-made amloki. His voice was so shrill, so piercing that even the office-goers had to stop giggling for a moment. And this amloki-seller went on and on about how the amlokis can help clear bowels ASAP. He didn’t stop at that. He even went into the gross details of the color, texture and smell of the er…stools of a person suffering from constipation and how his ‘special’ amloki can help make the process of er…defecation more…er…smooth and hassle free. People listened with rapt attention for two minutes. That was about the maximum that their attention spans could allow. As the bus lurched at a bus stop, this bowel-man almost fell on one of the bovine ladies in the office-goer group eliciting a string of condemnations from her about not knowing manners and standing close to the ‘ladies’ seat even as she kept her left hand firmly on the lanky man’s thigh. To convince how effective his pills are, bowel-man hands out free samples to all the passengers. Happy at being offered a ‘free’ sample, everyone gladly accepted his offering, the bovine lady with her hand on the man’s lap, being the first one to pop it into her mouth and relishing its sweet and sour taste. 2 20 gm packets cost as less as Rs 5. But no one bought a single packet. They were content ‘tasting’ free samples. Before I could witness any more tamasha, thankfully, my stoppage came and I escaped from the tomfoolery.