A Journey beyond Pune Streets
There was a lot of traffic and noise emissions from motorcycles, cars, and buses. I was waiting for the traffic light to turn red so that I could cross the road safely and reach the bus stop as soon as possible. It was full of hustle and bustle at 5:30 p.m probably because it was the time when office usually gets over. It was surprising to see everybody waiting for the bus so patiently instead of a busy road and huge noise. Two young students were studying and explaining each other about current, resistance & voltage. It seemed they were preparing for the Physics test. From quite a bit distance, I just saw blur pictures of circuit diagrams which reminded me of my 11th grade. While I was trying to figure out those diagrams, the bus arrived and everybody rushed to the bus.
The bus conductor in khaki uniform hanging a ticket pad on his shoulder stood at the door of the bus. While giving tickets to the passenger, he carried a puncher to punch the tickets. I found that tic-tic sound of punching the tickets very soothing. There was a variety of people. Some of them seemed tired after their long work schedule while children seemed exuberant even after their late school hours, extra classes or tuitions. I was really tired but looking at these little innocent faces made me feel energetic. In spite of the huge crowd on the bus, people were busy with their smartphones. Some of them were seated playing 2048, temple run and floppy birds, some of them standing and listening to music or maybe a radio with their earphones turned on while others were just very tired and were seen sleeping and leaning against the window. While people were getting in and moving out at different stops, the sound of a single bell was making the bus a bit more noisy.
I reached my destination and like every other stop, there was a big rush when I moved out of the bus. Walking beside a busy road, I saw children in tattered clothes begging and others selling items. Followed by the tea canister of little Raju who was serving tea to people, I reached a nearby Sasson hospital. It was dim, dull and gloomy. Patients waiting in the queue, sitting and waiting for their chance to come were accompanied by their family members and relatives. It was clean but the smell itself communicated regarding the condition of patients. I just could not go ahead. It was really a sad moment for me. Indeed, a hospital is a place where we can forget our small worries and troubles and think about unfortunate people who face major health problems. I wholeheartedly pray that they get well soon. I just could not think about anything else that time other than patients. I did not know where I was planning to go.
I walked ahead and found the railway station that caught my attention. The sun was slowly going down the horizon. The birds were chirping and flying away to their homes. With an addition to this sound, the announcements made the station noisier. Besides, I heard the ringing bells of Suryamukhidatta temple which was near the reservation center. It was full of a queue. Some people were sleeping there with straps of their luggage tied on their hands. Outside the platform, people were scattered in groups. Some of them were sitting on the ground and gossiping, some of them were having dinner from their huge lunchbox while others were having vada pavs, Misal pavs, cream rolls from the food stalls. Moreover, women were fascinated looking at accessories, men were buying fruits, students had a look on book stalls. Furthermore, the cobbler was adding an extra luster to the shoes of gentlemen. Also, there were people in large numbers sitting around a huge neem tree and waiting for their respective trains. Passengers were rushing to and fro to catch the trains with their heavy luggage. Near the parking area, Auto drivers were sitting on the divider gossiping with each other. As soon as they heard the sound of the engine, they waited for the passengers and surrounded them.
In my school days, I found a railway station as one of the most interesting places in the world. But this time, I was scared. An old lady with a pale face, dressed in a plain cream colored saree with her sac bag was sitting on the ground and shouting at people. It seemed she was throwing words full of anger. I did not understand the words and I’ve no idea which language it was but she really seemed upset, frustrated and depressed. Without blinking her eyes she continued doing it. After 10 minutes, she stopped doing it and I gave it a thought. Maybe she was doing so to seek attention from people but it was sad for her nobody paid attention to her and she started shouting again. This time, she used her slippers and repeatedly tapped on the ground. Still, nobody paid attention but this time, I heard the ringing bells and yes, this was even more fearful. Thank God! I looked around and saw that sound of those ringing bells came from Suryamukhidatta temple. I wish I could go and ask what has happened to her but at the same time, I felt it would be risky too. I realized it was quite a long time for me keeping an eye on her.
While I decided to go back, I was struck by a gray-eyed blind man who was trying to find a place. Now, I got a bit confused, Was he really blind? When he saw me standing alone, he came towards me. Before he could speak anything, I walked and stood with one of the family to show him as if I belonged to them. He walked away and disappeared. I thought it was high time for me to go back. I took the bus and this time, huge noise in the bus was no more felt. The misery of unfortunate people made me quiet.