Life Chronicles

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta
(Mumbai)

I was traveling in a bus the other day, when I realized there is so much more you can do than just sit aimlessly, cursing the traffic or being lost into your latest gizmo. Every bus-ride has a small story unfolding in it, or many small stories; if you push your imagination a wee bit. Many of us have been de-sensitized to such an extent that it bothers us no more what is going around us. Agreed, the quest for survival hardly offers any respite. The way Davies put it, we have “no time to stand and stare”. But one should, sometimes, take a break and look around, for there is so much unraveling each minute. A bus-ride when you get a seat in Mumbai’s otherwise crowded mode of transport can be quite engrossing. I had to take a long ride from Chembur to Dadar where, after many days; I occupied the window seat. I had not traveled for a long time by bus now. There was slight drizzling and a nip in the air and my creative energies started running overtime.


I looked at the streets that had many little shops. A child was ardently choosing a bicycle in one shop, where as in the other electronics shop, a lot of hustle and bustle went on. Little school children, clad in their uniforms and with an umbrella in their little hand, walked slowly to school. Remembering the times when I was a child, a smile instantaneously bloomed on my face. Once the traffic light turns green, the journey paces ahead. It is a delight to look at the roads, give a quick glance to everything happening around.

When I eat alone at a restaurant, I often see people giving me almost sympathetic glances in most places, which is strange. However, I believe that unless you cannot relish and eat in your own company, it is difficult to do so with others. The reason I say this is because, for most of the part, we have somewhere down the line lost touch with ourselves. We may be in touch, sometimes without need, with random people over the internet or on our gadgets, simply to pass-the-time. While there’s nothing to complain about here, one should also take time to reflect within. Taking bus-rides is one of them. I took several when I was unemployed, and I used to be in deep thought looking at people around me. Call me an eccentric writer if you fancy it so, but it is an exhilarating experience in itself. Very few people have the madness intact, life; after some years may seem to force you out of it.

It was one such time when I traveled to a rather plush street in Colaba, during last Diwali when I saw something I still vividly cherish. During the festival, there are a crowd of flower-sellers in the city who sell colorful, sweet-smelling, hue drowned flowers. I saw one such lady who, on a busy street was drowned in her work. Meanwhile, her small child was lying on a tattered bed-sheet spread close to her. Oblivious to anything around, the child slept peacefully. So powerful was the image, that I could not resist taking a picture. Like I said, when you see around, you see so much, you learn about other people’s lives, sometimes identifying and the other times; being a mere spectator. In any case, it is worth taking a momentary lapse from present life, now and then, from time to time.

I leave you with a thought. How many times have we actually been in touch with ourselves? Is the monotony of everyday life creating havoc in your life? If it is, it is time to pick a day to spend in the company of you and your loved ones. We often find excuses like its raining outside, or it’s too hot to go now. Thing is, it is never too unfavorable not to go, its all in the mind. Go ahead, celebrate a day in life. Take pictures; etch memories deep in your hearts. It undoubtedly connects you deeper to life.

Looking forward to know your bus-ride experiences!


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Jan 04, 2012
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Beautiful thoughts
by: vimala ramu

Beautiful thoughts of one who enjoys her solitude.

Jan 04, 2012
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Life Chronicles
by: Sneha

How well you understand me, Vimala!

Jan 04, 2012
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Sneha...
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

Reminded me so much of my bus rides in Kolkata when I came face to face with life. That is why I like a train journey much more than air travel. You get to see so much. Learn so much. Photographic and cinematic glimpses of life. Likewise I enjoy my metro ride these days. In spite of the crowd and underground travel (when you cannot see outside) still many a story gets disclosed. I have this very bad habit of listening to other people's conversations. Not exactly eavesdropping but they do give you so many ideas!

Yes, we have sadly lost the opportunities to "stand and stare." I remember an Urdu couplet - " Jisse bhi dekhiye woh apne aap mein gum hain, zabaan mili hai magar hum-zabaan nahin milta"...Behold the muted voices around, tales untold in dearth of enthralled hearts...not exactly a translation though!

A lovely read.

Jan 05, 2012
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Life Chronicles
by: Sneha

Wow, Geetashree...The verse you've described is so poignant and true to life. I too miss those bus rides since other trivialities of life seem to have unfortunately taken over. However, I do make time to engage in such travels regularly. And yes, I have been to Calcutta and travelled the metro. I know exactly what you mean.

Thank you for your lovely feedback.

Jan 06, 2012
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Thank you for the most enjoyable bus ride...
by: isabel

It's nice to hear or read stories about someone else's bus ride experiences. Beautifully expressed and it was quite a ride Sneha, as if I was there with you... What a lovely bus ride I've had this time. Thank you...

As for my bus experience; I can not recall mine nor consider it memorable... I guess I was a sore traveler :), especially public transportation in the city. I can not tolerate the heat [it's like being roasted inside an oven alive] and the suffocating smell of the dark diesel smoke. Perhaps because I was cursed with this motion sickness, so I would always bring with me four cotton handkerchiefs, [to cover my face and wipe off the dust, soot and sweat] a bottle of icy water, a handful of crushed fresh guava leaves [to combat bouts of nausea/dizziness] and my grandmother's abanico to fan myself.

This was just an hour bus ride, imagine me if it’s four hours or more. I will be bringing a suitcase filled with cotton handkerchiefs, towels, a case of bottled water and the entire leaves of our poor guava tree! My Inang Maria will be furious with me again! She got mad at me one time when she asked to start a fire in our outdoor stove, not because I refused the task but because she saw me wearing a turban and a handkerchief on my face! Even more when I stated my reasons that I do not want my hair to smell like burnt corn silk nor inhale the smoke. :)
[I was 13 or 15 yrs old then.]


Jan 08, 2012
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Thank you
by: Sneha

Thank you, Isabel. Its so interesting to read your experiences always. I love your comments the most since they are always so detailed and it also exemplifies how you read stuff published in-depth! Enjoyed reading...And crushed guava leaves sound so tempting! (The color that is)

Nov 04, 2015
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LIFE CHRONICLES
by: Yunus mohamd

There is no place better, but in the bus where one is able to talk to a stranger, or let the mind travell to far away places.

gerat read, great memories.

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