I never thought that we would be waiting in the bus stop to go to meenakshi bazaar. We two were just stuck to the computer games all through the day. The clock had already crossed 6’O clock of the evening. We wouldn’t be able to see a lot in the place but it was better than just being inside the house.
“Are you sure that this bus would stop there?” asked John, my cousin, as I climbed into the bus going to periyar bus stand.
“Yep… I have asked thousand times to dad about the buses going there”, I replied.
I took two tickets to sedhupathi school stop, the nearest stop to meenakshi bazaar.
“But Joe… It’s bad not to know the bus routes and much bad not knowing it after living two years here, in Madurai”, he said. “And you are saying that you don’t know where exactly our stop would be”
That was true too. I have few weathered memories of that school when I had travelled across it. Within a couple of stops half of the crowd was gone. I always liked John and his way of talking which would be humourous and pleasurable to hear; sometimes including a piece of advice which showed him as a big brother.
“I think the next stop would be Sedhupathi School” I said.
“Sedhupathi School?” said a stranger nearby. “It is the previous stop”. “What..?” I turned towards John in a slow motion. He was neither angry nor laughing.
“What’s the next stop?” he asked calmly.
“Railway station”, I replied. “I am sure”, I added as he showed disbelief on his face.
“There’s the meenakshi bazaar”, I pointed towards the alley as the bus went across it. As I lowered my finger, the bus slowed down.
“What?” he asked as I looked out through the window.
“Looks like they have put the signal. We shall get down before it turns green” I said and was already on my way out of the bus.
But, to the great dismay, the signal turned green and the bus started moving before John could get down. The bus speeded up and I started running behind it, controlling the urge to laugh.
Soon it was passing through a couple of buses and then there were two buses of the same colour “red” there and both were going to periyar bus stand. I got confused. Which would be the bus I came? The first one… Nah… The second one.
To complete the despair, one among the buses turned towards another road which I don’t know. Was that bus could be the one..? No. The bus was going to railway station. Or was there any other route to periyar bus stand? There are hundreds of routes to periyar stand. Nah… Yes.
I had reached the point where the other road started. I was hanging my head down when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. I know it was him before I looked at him. He was laughing at my peculiar expression. I didn’t have power to laugh, so I smiled.
“At least you should have said before you got down” said John.
“You started saying something. But before I can hear it, you were out of the bus”
“Leave it. It looks like we have to cross the road” said John.
We crossed the road and went into the meenakshi bazaar.
“O.K. Then… Shall we buy the film CDs first?” I asked.
We bought a couple of CDs and then we began to take a look around.
“Ask whatever you want Joe,” said John. “Don’t feel shy about this”
“Nah, bro… I don’t want anything now” I replied.
“Then… shall we go back?” he asked, feeling bored like me after taking few rounds around the bazaar.
The time was eight-fifteen pm by then.
“This is the Sedhupathi School” I said as we walked across its entrance. “Hold on” said John.
I turned around. He was looking at me with a vivid expression.
“What,” I said. “Lost anything?”
“No.” He turned around and looked at the school entrance. “It looks like they are having some kind of function there”
“May be… So what……?” I asked. But, soon I understood. “No. Not now, bro. I don’t have any experience in this”
John had already told me about his tasteful dinners in various unknown functions along with his friend.
“But, my dear little brother,” he said placing his hands on my shoulders. “It’s the time for you to gain the experience”
He was dragging me into the school until I stopped fighting my way back.
“Great… They have started the dinner too” he said.
“But… Mom would have prepared dinner for us in home” I said, using every inch of my brain to find excuses.
“No problem. We shall eat in both the places” he replied so casually.
After few ‘look around’s in that place, it seemed that they are having a get-together for the old students in the memory of the head master who died a year ago.
We both were somewhat younger than the others there but nobody took notice of us. We had a nice dinner and then made our way to the bus stop quietly.
“It is simple” said John.
“Yeah… some kind of..”I finished the sentence with a sigh.
“I think this stop is the Sedhupathi school stop,” said John. “And the bus stopped here”
“Yeah… May be…” I replied blindly, still thinking about the last experience.
“There comes a bus,” said John. “Will it go to Thallakulam?”
“Don’t know. But it is going via Anna bus stand. Just climb in” I said.
Inside the bus, John asked a passenger whether the bus would go to Thallakulam but the reply was negative.
“May be we should get down in the next stop” suggested John.
“No problem. We shall get down in the Anna bus stand. It’s near Thallakulam only” I replied.
Within few minutes we were in Anna bus stand walking towards home. On the way I explained him a little about the buildings there- the collector office, the medical college (I don’t know how people are studying it. I never liked it), a Murugan temple (they say that some miracles have happened here).
Then, we had a little look around in the Rajaji children’s park where we enjoyed few rounds in a fake train.
“It’s the third time I have come to this park, I think” said John. “They have improved it a lot than the last year, it looks?”
“Yeah… sister said. But now only I have come here after these changes” I replied.
Then we returned home.
“Where you two have gone?” asked my sister, Jose. “When I woke up you two were absent here”
I replied, “Nothing big. We two were JUST having a jolly roam” and made my way towards the bed bidding her good night.