Sunday, March 4, 2007


As I waited in the bus, already packed, there was still some time left before we would depart. My friend, a keralite, had gone to pick up a news paper. We were at ernakulam central bus stand, and the destination was koothatakulam. I could never pronounce this name, the way keralites do it, but then I asked my friend to write it down for me, and now after so many years, 17, to be precise, I still seem to remember the spelling. I have always felt that all names have a sanctity of their own, and should never be misspelt.

As I looked out of the window, absorbing the noisy scenes, and the chaotic commotion, typical to all bus stands, a dapper looking girl, wearing a typical keralite dress resembling a gujarati chaniya choli, entered the crowded bus with a bunch of cards. She must be in her early teens, and had bright doe like eyes. They all have those dazzling, poetic eyes in the southern part of the country.

One of these days I will dedicate a full post, on the crush I had on all those attractive acresses from the south, once upon a time, during my Kuwait days…… from suhasini, shobhana, to revathy, amala, to gauthami, ambika etc. and all because of those inquisitive, and talkative eyes…!!

This girl distributed all the cards amongst the passengers in the bus.I also got one card from her. She then left the bus. I tried to figure out what was written on the card, it was all latin to me. So, not knowing what to do, on an impulse, I let the card slide out of the window. To my surprise, this girl returned after a few minutes, and started to collect the cards back. All the passengers, silently gave the cards back to her, some also offering 1 or 2 rupee coins with it. woww what a novel way of begging ! this too was an effect of the high literacy rate this state enjoys, i thought to myself, and this high tech begging was new to me. When the girl came to me, I was a bit stumped, but then I indicated I had thrown the card out of the window. At that moment, this docile looking creature turned into a chandika, and started to abuse me in the choices of malayalam explicitives, she kept on and on for a few minutes, till a fellow passenger talked to her in Malayalam, he must have asked her to pick up the card from outside the bus, and close the chapter. It was only then that she left, but not before she gave me a long and acidic stare, with the same doe-like eyes, that looked so attractive to me a few minutes ago.

And then my friend entered, carrying the local English daily, and 2 huge bananas. Or banana pakoras I should call them. They were slit length wise, stuffed with jaggery and grated coconut, and deep fried in a batter made of rice flour. Its an ultimate delicacy, you must try them someday. So then, I explained the whole episode to my friend and he had a hearty laugh, at my expense. Finally the rickety bus departed, and very soon we were going past chequered paddy fields, dotted with palm trees, swaying gently in the December breeze. An amusing incident in the bus, had kick started my divine 6 day journey into god’s own country……..


J.KANNAN said...

It looks like a NOVICE way of begging rather than NOVEL way.

Having read through your posting between lines I failed to grasp at which point you "FELT LIKE GOD in GOD'S OWN COUNTRY-may be due to my poor grasping power !

The similar kind of begging is familiar in other parts of GOD'S NOT OWN COUNTRY too, as I have seen in trains from Delhi to Madras(then) and Bombay to Madras, the only difference is in train its in wholesale and in bus in re-tail and I have contributed on this on some occasion.

Every one'destiny of way of living has been determined and Begging is one of the ways and one has to accept this fact.


Sandy said...

The docile nymphet turned chandika proves that "Appearances can be deceptive". Begging is becoming an art which is being refined day-by-day.