The dynamics of passengers aboard the private buses in Delhi is amazing. Living in Delhi for all the 23 years of my life, the private buses have become an integral part of my life. My role is generally of the attentive girl, who appears (or thinks she appears) to be engrossed in listening to the radio on her cell or reading the fat book with absurd names by prominent authors. The other characters playing pivotal roles are:
- The Mr. Know-it-all uncle: keeps caressing his moustaches between his knowledgeable observations on the Indian politics, the bad performance of the Indian cricket team, the conditions of the roads, the corruption that plagues the traffic police officers and also the treatment for cancer.
- The driver: views the clear roads of the New Delhi area as tracts of formula one, other buses on the route as fellow racers, passengers on board as skilled gymnasts who can balance perfectly leaving behind the perfect 10 scores of Nadia and enjoys the banter which increases in volume in a desperate attempt to over shadow the volume of the tape recorder playing copies of oldies by Mukesh sung by the understudies of Altaf Raja.
- The Young Turk: the representative of the rebellion who finds it essential to protest and negate everything and anything said by the Know-it-all uncle. His logics are more often than not without any base. The sole purpose of opposing is to oppose. Sometimes the quips are funny for sure.
- The aunty who forgets that the days when she was a petite little maiden are bygone. Her bag and bums cover an area where two people can sit for an hour long journey experiencing the luxuries of deluxe bus service. Her constant fidgeting is the icing on the cake of tribulations one has to endure in the buses.
- The charming Romeo: who has a smile that can make the bus Juliet go weak in her knees. He stands only for his Juliet others in the bus are of no importance to him. He seems restless on the days when the Juliet decides to board some other bus or worse decides to take an off.
- The demure Juliet: is dressed perfectly. Her jeans pant is bought from the Sarojini market only last Saturday. The hair is streaked with the bleach that was left over after application on the face. The purse dangles in a fashion that tells the Romeo and all the other potential Romeos to vacate a seat for the lady before she trips off her high heals again bought from the SN market with all the dazzlers in place.
- The conductor: is the sole artist who forms the link with all the characters of the bus. He notices everybody. After the officiating the process of ticketing he enjoys the pleasure of interacting with everyone. He skillfully instigates the know-it –all uncleji, according to his mood supports or opposes the Young Turk. While skillfully moving through the passage of the bus amidst the crowd of passengers he smiles a conspiring smile at the Romeo and a smile that tells the Juliet that her secret is safe with him.
This is why I so enjoy the daily trip in the bus. The characters are same. Their traits are same. The faces change. Sometime even the storyline takes a different subject but the characters remain constant.