The decision to travel by train which leaves at 6.35 am was taken late in the evening. The car was at the garage for service. So my husband Sunny and I left for the railway station early morning by 5.30.
We walked slowly to the junction hoping to hail a passing auto. None came and we reached the junction. There was a bus shed and we waited there ‘cos it was a convenient spot for autos to stop to pick us up. Another ten minutes passed and I began to get nervous. True it’d take less than 10 minutes to the station at that time of the day. But still I was jittery.
“Let’s walk up to the museum", I ventured “We’re sure to get one there.”
“No”, said Sunny. “It is a gradient. You’ll find the climb difficult.”
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll manage.” I was really nervous. It was nearly six. “We’re getting late.”
“Relax Molly.” Cool as usual, was my husband.
So I tried to relax.
Just then a KSRTC city bus appeared and was drawing up to the bus shelter where we were waiting.
A strange excitement gripped me.
“Let’s take the bus”, said I, unable to keep the enthusiasm from my voice.
My cool as a cucumber husband turned towards me with unbelieving eyes and said “You can’t be serious?”
“I’ve never been more serious in my life. Let’s go.”
I grabbed his hand and started rushing towards the bus which had by then stopped for the passengers to board.
“This is the last landmark on my road to normalcy after my illness.” I explained. "You won’t let me go by bus alone. You won’t even let me go with anyone else. But surely I can go with you.”
Negotiating the high steps of the bus was not easy, I must admit. I could feel Sunny waiting behind, ready, I’m sure, to jump into action in case of a mishap. But I got in all right and he followed suit.
The bus was full. So I held on to the iron frame at the back a seat and stood in the aisle. I could see that Sunny had an eye on me, and was standing protectively close – without making it look obvious. The bus started. A couple of minutes later a lady, bless her, who’d been sitting in the centre of the last seat which had no aisle in between, got up and offered her seat.
I sat down facing the empty space of the aisle. Sunny looked at me with a beautifully pleasant and affectionate expression on his face and said something which I didn’t hear. I was sure he said something to the effect that I looked beautiful that day – such was the expression on his face.
"What did you say?" I asked eagerly.
He spoke louder but the expression remained the same. "Pidichurunno" (Hold on to something).
Why waste such a beatific expression for that boring instruction, I wondered glumly. Of course I knew the answer. He’s being protective without making it appear so, I thought as I held the headrest firmly.
I saw him look back a couple of times to see if I was safe and secure. Soon he got a seat a few rows ahead. Making sure I still had that firm grip on the headrest, he went forward.
The minute he sat down, I let go of the headrest and put my hand down on my lap, cos that posture was getting to be a little uncomfortable.
The bus hurtled towards the destination and I was looking out lost in thought when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
It was a lady, apparently a fish vendor. She looked at me seriously and said "Pidichurunno"!
A small incident, too insignificant to be blogworthy, you might think.
But for me, it was a giant leap. Getting into the KSRTC like I did today, once again being able to do something that I used to do with the greatest ease till a couple of years back, was indeed no small step.
It has been a long and arduous journey, but I’m finally back home.