Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Friday, January 28, 2011

118. Concern

I had to travel from Jodhpur to Udaipur.

The primary teacher at Shiv (in Barmer district) Mr. Balaram had assured me that the Roadways (State Transport) has a good frequency of buses from Jodhpur to Udaipur. I wanted to leave Shiv early in the morning - but that meant disturbing the whole family: I was staying in the house of Mr. Balaram. So, after his insistence I agreed to catch 8.00 am bus which was supposed to take me to Jodhpur by 11.30. With the simple calculations everyone assumed that I would be able to catch bus at 12.00 noon and would safely reach Udaipur latest by 5.00 in the evening. It meant at least 9 hours journey at a stretch. But I had no options.

The Private Bus arrived at Shiv at the right time - sharp 8.00 in the morning. With the usual village concern, the driver and conductor were requested to take care of me. The conductor nodded and offered 'best' seat to me. From the window I was able to watch beauty of Rajasthan.

Suddenly the bus stopped. On the road, a group of 10 young men were waiting for this bus. The driver and the conductor got down. There were loud discussions - I could not understand the cause as they were speaking in the local language. But something was serious. After lot of deliberations the matter was resolved and the driver and the conductor returned to the bus unscratched. Looking at me, the driver smiled, and said, "Don't worry Madam". I know when to worry and when not to worry - I knew that the situation demanded the second strategy, and hence I was relaxed. My only concern was lack of knowledge of local language - I almost missed that exciting conversation.

Shiv- Jodhpur bus reached at Jodhpur at 12.15 in the noon. I was not worried as I was told that the Jodhpur -Udaipur Roadways has a good frequency. The auto rickshaw driver suggested that I catch a private bus, but I rejected his suggestion and went to Roadways' terminus.

After reaching there, I was informed that the 12.00 noon bus had left and the next bus was only at 15.00 hours. On my question "'how much time it would take to reach Udaipur?"- I was told that I would reach after 10.00 in the night. The journey from Jodhpur to Udaipur was of more than 6 hours and not 4 hours as I was told.

I came out of the bus stand. An old auto rickshaw driver approached me. I told him that I want to catch a bus for Udaipur and asked him to take me to the right Private Bus terminus. He looked at me.
He asked, "Are you from Udaipur?"
"No, I am going there for work", I replied.
"Do you often go to Udaipur?" he had one more question.
"Oh! Not many times.. but I have visited the city earlier." I patiently answered.
"Are you traveling alone?" he asked another question.
I was little worried about this conversation. I mean it was none of his business.

"Yes, I am alone." I told him.
"Do you have any relatives in Udaipur?" the man was unstoppable.
"Come on Uncle, let us go", I tried to pass that question.

"Now, don't misunderstand me. But if you are traveling alone and you are new to the city, it is better you travel by Roadways," he said calmly. I was amazed at that statement.

I gave him a neat look. He looked tired, little older than his age. He was clearly a poor man, in need of money. His eyes were soft. He was not smiling because he understood that I was irritated at the conversation, but he was firm. I was not sure what to make of this.

"See Madam, I can take you to Private bus stand and I will get 50 rupees for the drive. But the Private Buses are reckless sometimes. The road is lonely, if some accident happens on the way, what will you do alone in the night time? The road does not have mobile range at times. So, I think it is better for you to travel by Roadways." he added very softly but confidently.

I could understand his concern. I had a fresh experience of Private Bus in the morning itself!
"The accident can happen to Roadways too", I muttered - not challenging him as such - but provoking him a bit.
"You are right Madam. Accident can happen to any bus. But Roadways drivers are not drunk - not at least when they are on duty. If something goes wrong, Roadways has its network and they will provide alternate vehicle to travelers up to Udaipur. Roadways won't ditch you on the road, it won't leave you to take care of yourself." he added.

I started smiling. That gave him more courage. He added, "And Private bus will wait for passengers and waste lot of time. On the other hand, Roadways bus moves on time. You will at most reach by 9.30 even if you catch a Private Bus at 1.00 noon. Why not wait here, have food, read paper, and then travel safely?"

I decided to follow his advice. I turned. But stopped. I said, "I understand that by giving me this advice, you have given up an earning of fifty rupees. I would like to pay you something for this good advise. I appreciate your concern. " By saying this I handed him a fifty rupee note.

He refused. I felt guilty because he actually was offended by my offer. I said "sorry" to him.

Then he said., "Don't count everything in money. It is my duty to make you aware of the dangers. I am happy that you are not adamant. I am glad that you will reach safely and that is my reward. Women when travel alone, should be more careful" he said.

Then he hastily added, "not because you are not empowered enough, but because the society is not sensitive enough!"

If only everyone around has such sensitivity! If only everyone is concerned in Right Way!


  1. Wonderful narration ! I so wish we had more people like him.

    On a side note , my late parents often did the Mumbai Pune route by bus, and they always travelled by the MSRTC buses, because they had first hand experience of what happens when buses broke down. The passengers were accomodated in the various MSRTC buses that came by, with the priority being for senior citizens, families with small children, women, and bachelor types last.

    Private buses just left you to fend for yourself...

  2. Ultimately everything we can’t count in monetary form…….Do U thinh who has soooo much currency or so called prosperous, wealthy that human being would not have behaved like this ……….. JITKE MOTHE TITKE KHOTE…………………

    Good quality public is there in the world ………it’s true ………. So we should not be frustrated rather upset always on the social order ………..really chan watale wachun

  3. Loved reading this! We do have such ppl in the country and makes me feel proud of it yet again! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ritu, :-)

    Surangatai, I generally prefer Government buses for the reason that they try to provide services to remote areas ... in the process it has to deal with loss!

    Ashlesha, glad you enjoyed this. We need to highlight good experiences not to overcome bad experiences but to believe in being good too!

    Swarm, welcome to Times Change. Yes,such people make me too feel proud that I am a human being!

  5. What an experience!. Still there are people around who are sensitive and sensible.

  6. A very touching experience, narrated with sensitivity!
    Sometimes somewhere humanity appears in different forms!!

  7. Touching!

    Maybe,humanity still does exist! :)

  8. It's so heartening to know and meet such wonderful people! :)

  9. Subramanianjee,Vidyadhar,Anu :-), Shilpa, thanks to all of you!

    There are indeed sensitive and sensible people around.. they are so unselfish too!

  10. Thank you.

    What can one do when someone does one a favor like this and only "thank you" is socially acceptable?

    I will tell you what I have told other people who have been helpful, "Please ask someone you cherish to give you a hug for me."

    And, for this story, and the light you gave to my day by sharing it, please ask someone you cherish to give you a loving hug for me.

  11. A good narration of real life experience with people.


  12. wonderful narration of a beautiful experience

  13. I wish there were more people like this gentleman !

    Inspirational !

  14. David, :-)

    Thanks Himja, Deepakbhai and Kavi for your encouraging words.

  15. It's for some people that the world still spins...
    good one.

  16. wish many people in our country were that honest and sensitive.. most of the people just try to dupe and make money..

  17. Gyanban, seems that world moves on due to such kind of people!

    AK, welcome again, you are here after a long time I guess. Believe me, there are many such people .. they don't make it to the front pages ..that is the problem!


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