“227 Bangur—B.N.R.”

Ever wondered, how two frail metal wires of negligible circumference, when connected, could produce a shine? That is science. 

Time flies. But ever wondered, what made Zahn think of inventing a device which could capture moments? Ever wondered, how the clock was invented, and seconds and minutes and hours were measured? Ever wondered, how large the space is? Ever wondered, what the end of time would look like? Ever wondered, that there might be another world as well, where your clone exists, and it is enjoying with all the joys of life and more advanced science? Time travel, for instance? Ever imagined, what is beyond black holes? Ever wondered what you will see after closing your eyes forever? Some things are deep. And remain unanswered. 

227 Bangur-B.N.R.

“Dada, Lake town?”
-“Ha jabe. Pechone phaka ache.”

Bus rides are hectic. Bus rides are for the below standard people. People, who can’t afford to buy cars, or take cabs all the way. You get on a bus, and it’s 6 bucks for 4 kilometers and 7 bucks if private. But, if you take a cab, it’s 25 bucks and then it rises. Private car? Don’t. Just don’t. Okay, even if you buy one, what about the fuel and the maintenance?
Actually, bus rides are fun. When you get to listen to all the conversations of different types of people. You halt at every stop, and the rap battles of the conductors. Damn. Not to forget about the vendors that get up at stoppages.

“Ei lojens ache, lojens. Tok-jhaal-mishti aada lojens. Khaben, abar chaiben. Dada ra didi ra, aada lojens bolun 5 takaye 10 ta”.

God! The vendors getting up the buses and making phrases and poetries and trying to convince people to buy the candies. Hysterically funny. The way they do that.
But, some routes are different. Some bus routes make their way to the heart. 

“Ei lojens ache, lojens. Tok-jhaal-mishti aada lojens. Khaben, abar chaiben. Dada ra didi ra, aada lojens bolun 5 takaye 10 ta”.

Everyday, I used to go to Lake Town, and at the Shyambazar crossing, an old man would get up selling the aada lojens, badaam bhaja and chanachur. 
The same old man in the same white white kurta and pajama. And the same spot. Shyambazar crossing. And then the bus would take a right turn.
The old man spoke incessantly about the good effects of the candies and how good the nuts were, everyday, to some different people, and to some regular passengers like me. I used to notice how no one paid heed and no one bought anything ever and he would get down after crossing R.G. Kar hospital.
I used to feel bad. He became an integral part of the journey and for those 5 minutes, from Shyambazar crossing to R.G.Kar hospital, he would tire everyone by the same old ranting. The old man became so important that the bus literally used to slow down or stop at the crossing for him to get up. But, no one ever bought anything. Who cares? Who’ll buy those cheap candies.
But on certain days, he used to be off duty. And the journey used to be unsatisfactory. He added colour to the same old boring journey by his same old rantings.
One fine day, I woke up to decide I won’t go to Lake Town anymore, because the aunt’s house I used to go to, was sold and my aunt shifted somewhere else. That day was the last day I had to go, for all the furniture and all other things were to be transferred. I waited for 227. And when we crossed Shyambazar, the old man wasn’t there.

“Buro lok ta aj uthlona?”
-“Na khoka, aj ei teen-chaar din holo buro bus ey uthche na, dekhao jachhe na okey”.

That is when I felt an ache somewhere. All the wrong thoughts came to me and crossing my fingers, I prayed about his well being. I felt bad, because I won’t be listening to the ranting of the old man, who could not sell anything. That was the last day I travelled by that route, and he didn’t turn up.
Maybe, my thoughts were too realistic to remain just as thoughts. Maybe, he had died in pain in a small dark room with no one to help. Or maybe, he had been hit by a bus or a truck fully loaded. Or maybe, he had sold all his candies and nuts to a passenger and with all the money, he had returned home to his family in his village.

“Ei lojens ache, lojens. Tok-jhaal-mishti aada lojens. Khaben, abar chaiben. Dada ra didi ra, aada lojens bolun 5 takaye 10 ta”
—still echoes. 
Every bus ride feels like the old man is just waiting at the next stop. Some things are deep. And remain unanswered. Blackholes, death, end of time, invention of the bulb and the camera. These are science. But what the journeys and the 5 minutes everyday taught me, can never be fathomed by science.
Bus rides aren’t poor. They are rich if you look at them the right way. Maybe the old man has now returned from his village and is back to business.

Image source: Google images

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7 thoughts on ““227 Bangur—B.N.R.””

  1. Being someone who hasn’t travelled by public transport much, this piece of writing induced an urge to do so more, in me. This also made me suddenly miss Kolkata so much. Thank you for writing this. It’s the small things in life that matter the most, and you brought that out through this post. An excellent piece of writing. Kudos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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