Friday, February 5, 2016

THE 11-NUMBER BUS






Pic.: Natrajan Ramsubrmani

I generally get into the waiting auto right outside our Tai Chi classes. But, this Sunday, I decided to walk some distance – half a kilometer at least – and then take an auto. On my way, I bumped into Dhiren Shah – we call him Dhirenbhai.

“How do you keep yourself like this Dhirenbhai,” I couldn’t resist asking him, “I know you for the last thirty years, you are 50, got two marriageable children… but, you haven’t put on a single centimeter around your waist… What is the secret, tell me.” I asked this moving my hands around my well-blown belly.

“No secret sir,” Dhrienbhai chuckled, “For the past thirty years, I have been taking only the 11-number bus.”

 “What?”  I asked surprised, “ The 11-number bus doesn’t ply through our area.”

“It does,” Dhirenbhai showed me his two lean legs!

Well, I know, in Dhirenbhai’s  Jain family, almost all men are lean and agile. It is a lot hereditary… But, that apart, there is a lot of truth in the 11-number joke… If you wish to call it a ‘joke’.

Some walk for miles and miles, everyday, out of necessity. Some do it for health reasons or to respect and value money and they do it by choice. Some do it to relax… and centre themselves… They get the best ideas and hunches when they walk all by themselves…

When I was in school, I, my brothers and almost all kids in our neighborhood walked almost four-to five kilometers (one way) to reach our school. It was done by us through necessity… We had no choice, because our parents had no money…

No argument…

We walked almost 8 to 10 kilometers a day and enjoyed the commute… It was fun… the 11-number route was a joyride, sir…

And, today?

“Times have changed,” I hear it loud and clear, “Don’t tell me your obsolete stories.”

Alright… I will join you guys to prepare for a quarter-marathon, at least… I am going to buy the trendy gear, take a few selfies with all the marathon-smitten around me and post it on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and whatsnot…

“Completed the quarter-marathon… Feel proud and blessed.”

“Like!!!!”

“Well done!!!!”

“God bless you!!!.”

Nobody said, “Well done” or “Proud of you” or “God bless you” when we walked almost 10 kilometers a day, round through the year and round through our school and college life… We never took selfies, sir… and we never posted on your Facebook, Twittr or WhastApp…

We took the 11-number bus out of necessity… Our Marathon was, indeed, a joyride…

Dhirenbhai, thank-you che!


GERALD D’CUNHA

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