A few days back I was off to Karur to attend a friend’s wedding. I was not new to Karur as I’d been there to spend so many vacations at my aunt’s place. This time it was just a weekend trip. But I somehow felt nothing much has changed except for a few newly built shopping complexes and renovated cinema halls. Jiji (my soul mate at office) also came along to attend the wedding. You can always spot us together at office. In fact one of our Managers calls us the Siamese twins :). If in case anyone spots us alone outside our work station, one can be sure that the missing person is out of office. We often take long coffee breaks and we’ll have so much to discuss every other day. More about Jiji later. Now back to the Karur episode.
My aunt was more than happy to receive us to her place. The moment I stepped into her house, all the beautiful memories of my previous holidays came flashing in front of me. The snake & ladder-Lock & Key-Raja/Rani games, the little fights with my cousins, the moon light dinners that we had, eavesdropping to all the late night gossips that my mom, aunt and grandma had, all the little gifts that my aunt gives me every time I went there, and so on. I suddenly missed all those happy times. Life was much happier and less complex back then. I don’t get my annual holidays now; never get the time to spend time with cousins who are not in my city. But yes, that’s how life is. And it has to go on. Occasions like this make me relive those days.
After our unwinding session, Jiji and I started discussing our work and about the people we work with. Given a pair of ears, Jiji will go on and on about anything she starts talking. And my aunt was so interested to hear all this, for nobody ever has discussed with her about issues with office colleagues and the pathetic politics at work place. It was already late for bed by the time Jiji and I completed session. The wedding next day was at 5.00 AM at a temple located 16 Kms from Karur. So we had to be ready by 4:00 AM, for which we had to wake up by 3:00 AM. And we got ready as planned and reached the temple well in time for the Muhurtham. After the Muhurtham, the reception went on till 12:00 PM. By 1:00 PM we reached home.
Both of us were so tired, that if allowed we would have slept the whole day. But we had to leave to Salem to catch our train to Chennai. Before leaving we had another chit chat session with aunt and then finally said good-bye to them and headed to the bus stand.
There was some festival in a town nearby and hence every other bus that left and arrived was fully loaded and people rushed to get a seat when a bus comes to the stand. Jiji and I hesitated to rush through the crowd to get us both a place to sit, but we dint want to go standing either, as both of us were dead tired. We missed around four buses waiting like this. There came another bus and the people rushed through again. This time we dint want to miss this bus and hence Jiji tried her best to get into it. But couldn’t manage to. The bus conductor watched us struggling to make it through the crowd. An elderly woman, who looked like a daily-wage labour, managed to get into the bus and sat on a two-seater. I could see how happy she was to, finally, get a place to sit. And when she was just about to sit, the conductor shooed her off and offered those seats to us. A surge of guilt brushed me as we sat there. The lady seemed very disappointed and she cursed her own fate and sat on the bus engine and contented herself.
On the one hand, I was so happy about this weekend trip to Karur as I had a chance to meet my aunt and cousins after a long time. And on the other hand this whole bus episode made me feel bad about people like that lady who gave us her seat, who couldn’t speak up for their own rights and they accept it to be their fate. I wonder how many such women are still unaware of their rights in the society. The worst part is that I became a reason for their ill fated day. And I still have a sense of guilt and shame for this.
All I could do that day was to feel sorry for that lady !!!