Just another dreary Saturday afternoon on a slow moving L70. I'd boarded the bus very near Ambattur (its starting point) and hence was able to secure a seat in the only place with enough leg room - the row at the very end, which is usually the very last place that other non-leg-room-challenged folk would choose because of the innumerable speed bumps.
But me, no, I don't get such luxuries and I've actually kindaa gotten used to it. Although my fellow passengers always have a weird look on their face whenever they see me decline a seat for so trivial a reason such as lack of leg room. Anyway thats beside the point and I will probably talk about it in a future post.
So there I was minding my own business seated at the fag end of the bus when along came the Thundu Guy and sat down right beside me. I wasn't too perturbed because these guys aren't much of a problem after they've attained nirvana ( in their case it is the act of securing a seat). Boy, was I wrong!
On a crowded bus waiting at a traffic junction in the sweltering Chennai heat it can be said with certainty that the likelihood of a good ol' fight is very high. And hence all personnel not trained in the fine art of bus banter and bickering must make way for worthier competitors. We'd just reached Padi and the bus was boarded by Bijli. I have no words to describe her. Suffice to say that even if Narasimha were to touch her then either Captain would be the one electrocuted or the entire Universe would implode. She was Vijay Shanthi + Sornakka + Neelambhari , all rolled into one.
Now the back row in a bus is a topic of fierce debate between the two genders of commuters. Whether its allotted to the fairer sex or if its free for all is still unclear. Me, I don't take any chances. I'm used to standing in buses, so what difference does it make if I were to stand for that extra couple of minutes. Unfortunately I'd just then gotten a call and was pretty busy on the phone when suddenly I realised I was about to be caught in the cross fire between Bijli and the Thundu guy. The initial barbs had already been thrown and bijli was ready to unleash her rage. Having seen a few such scenes in person, I did what every guy on that back row should have done. I fled that area. The fact that bijli's arguments were drowning out my mother on the other end also weighed pretty heavily in my decision to move to quieter surroundings.
By the time I'd disconnected the call I could see that bijli was really at the very top of her game. And the Thundu guy, was not gonna just sit around when he was being dis-nirvana-ted. When cornered, the two options available to any organism is Fight or Flight, and in choosing the former, the thundu guy made the biggest mistake of his life. What followed was a verbal bashing of the 2 generations on either side of the thundu guy's family. The thundu guy just about managed to drop the cliched 'Do you know who i know' line only to be confronted with an astute listing of possible characteristics that he and his 'political' friends possessed.
I am a good fan of a well paced "Podi" like the one in this song, but to use that as your only convincing insult repeatedly after the kindaa barbs that you've been getting. Lets just say that the journey from Padi to CMBT was a lot of things for a lot of people.
Entertaining as hell for everyone but one soul.
Hell for that one soul.
Educative for me.(all those new word-combos I wasn't imaginative enough to think up earlier...)
Life Affirming for bijli.
Much like Padayappa's thundu which falls to the ground at the end of the most amaklamatic scene of Tamil cinema, everyone on that bus saw that metaphorical thundu fall to the ground. And right then... the Thundu guy became just another guy.