So I have had an extremely bad two days trying to discover new BMTC routes. I thought I’d chronicle them here as “Lord of the Ring Road” or “Richmond Circle – a new one every time!”, or “The Corporation Chronicles” or “The Raman Effect” (one of the stops in question was CV Raman Nagar), but they as usual turned out to be wordy accounts of absolutely nothing apart from boredom, lechers, frottesque experiences, “Are you queer or what?” looks, and an informal course in Kannada slang. This piece is not much better, you are warned.
So when I finally got onto a familiar route, and found a vacant seat, I proceeded to catch some much-needed shut-eye… atleast one good thing has come out of all those journeys from S’kal and back, I can sleep on any moving vehicle at will. And familiar route ensures I don’t have to stay awake the entire time looking out for my stop. So there I was, oblivious to all the rest of the world, when I suddenly felt a tiny hand on mine.
It turned out to be this kid probably five years old holding on to my hand to avoid being swept away by the crowd of people alighting at every stop. Now I’m not the sort who goes into raptures at the very sight of pictures of babies or live children, but I couldn’t see a kid get jostled about like that. So I did the most logical thing – I shut my eyes.
Ah… no, I didn’t… I put that in for the effect it generates. Soon the kid was on my lap. Enquiries as to who his mummy was yielded no results… why are these rules about not speaking to strangers so firmly entrenched, and not the ones about disturbing others’ forty winks?
The kid grabbed a nice nap for the better part of half an hour, oblivious to the jams around Silk Board, while I regretted not paying attention to congestion-easing algorithms in Nagesh Sir’s class that I could have figured out the best way to ease the traffic now. Then I also cursed myself for not paying attention for the past year to news items about Namma Metro that I could daydream in technicolour now about how good life would be in 2020 or whenever it is that the project is scheduled to be completed. By the time I was wondering about how effective a ban on vehicles ending in the digit 5 would be, this lady with a sleeping infant on her shoulder and another holding her hand started rousing the kid on my lap.
The lady smiled at me. I smiled back. And then she asked the kid to say bye to me. I didn’t mind that.
But why did she have to say “Aunty-ge ‘bye heLu”?
Remember the hair-dye ad that had this echoing line that went like “Aunty.. Aunty.. Aunty… Aunty..”? It felt worse than that.
I don’t have an issue with growing older… it’s just that the whole image the word ‘aunty’ conjures up is one of this responsible ladylike woman who is agreedly cooler with your misdemeanors than your mom would ever be, who knows the right way to go about anything, who knew to keep you away from mischief in ways you wished your teachers would think of, and who had atleast one trademark recipe you had never tasted before… I suppose you’ll agree that is too much to live up to.
So now I totally understand when my neighbor Jayanthi aunty Jay Akka gives me a scandalized look, and I don’t think I’ll even subject anyone to the torture of being called a “maami” or a “maama”.
A while back, Logik had blogged about the ignominy of being issued a half-ticket on a bus at age 21. When I’d read that, I’d given a sly grin and said that doesn’t happen to me any longer. I’m not sure I should grin that widely now…..