One crowded bus…
Scene: Me holding a heavy bag in one hand, standing in a ‘VERY’ crowded bus, trying to get to the exit before the bus arrives at the next bus stop where I needed to get down.
I was blocked by the conductor and a zillion others from moving forward to the bus’s exit stair. All of a sudden, I hear a shrill girly voice mouthing some gibberish in Hindi-Urdu mix (sorry, I am not good with either language) and on the side, I saw the source of the sound… a Muslim girl (about 15yrs of age) making some rude, jerking movements with her hand towards me. I understood that she wants me to move on and not stand next to her mother or aunt… the Muslim lady who happened to have the aisle seat near which I was stuck.
Apparently, in my twisted pose of having one hand raising the bag above to avoid hitting people and one hand holding the overhead rails for balance, I had brushed against the lady’s arm. And now she thinks I have no better job than standing there and wants me to move away.
I stammered some response to the effect that ‘I can’t do anything because the bus is crowded’… but my thanks are due to the gentleman who explained to me that the lady feels its ‘Paap’ or ‘sin’ for a man to brush against her… he also basically let off a swift line of words that basically said ‘STFU’ (for the uninitiated, its ‘shut the f**k up!!’) to the ladies. Now the ‘ladies’ began to shout at him.
At that time, the bus came to the stop where I needed to get off. Grabbing my chance, I slipped out between the gaps (with a bit of shoving and pushing, actually).
I wish I knew enough Hindi to say just this:
“It’s a bloody, super-crowded bus, and I need to get down at the next stop. I cannot jump out of the window and have to go ‘through’ the crowd to get to the exit.
You ladies hop on to a bulgingly crowded bus, take the aisle seat and then complain that your religious sentiments are hurt because of some man brushing against you when he is trying to get out of the bus? Too f’ing bad! Hire a bloody auto or taxi next time you want to travel… let’s say, unbrushed?!!”