The man wore a colorful shirt. It wasn’t the flashy, flowery ‘I am holidaying in Hawaii’ sort but it was colorful. It was colorful but not distracting. He sat right opposite to the driver’s seat in the Nepal Yatayat talking to the driver. And I sat right behind him. The driver was a young chap. He must be one of the new generation of NY drivers who were ex-conductors of the bus. The man got off at Tangal. And right before getting off the bus and after rising from his seat said,” Ma alikati hindera janchu. “(I will walk a little distance). The driver signaled the conductor (who looked of the same age) not to charge the man for his fare. The conductor said “Pardaina” (No need of the fare) when the man tried to reach for his purse in his back pocket. And no sooner the man started his ‘short distance walk’, the driver stretched his body to face the conductor and said “Barha hajar talab khancha yo. Tel chorna paucha ni. Akhtiyar ko driver po hota.” (He earns 12 thousand for salary. He gets to steal oil (petrol) on the top of it. He is a driver at the CIAA (Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority).
“What an irony!” I thought. “If you don’t even charge a man earning 12 thousand bucks for his fare, then I should by default be given the ‘free rider’ status too! And just because this driver says the ‘man’ steals oil, doesn’t mean he does? Ki ke ho? And how can you investigate abuse of authority when people make real yet fake bills? What power and influence can the CIAA have over anyone in a society which thrives on the notion that a Bato manche (clever person) is the one who knows how to lie and cheat? And if Charesananda can end up as VP of the country, what difference does any freaking investigation make? Why believe in the existence of the good and the bad, the right and wrong in a hypocritical place like this? WHY?” I stopped thinking.
The bus reached Chinese Embassy and it came to a sudden halt for a pedestrian right past the embassy. The woman sitting to my right (facing the opposite direction) grabbed my right thigh to keep up with the speed. No, it was not touching. It was grabbing! It is my thigh for heaven’s sake, not the bus seat or an iron handle to grab! I forgave her anyway, I acted cool. It wasn’t her fault. And it wasn’t my fault that I was sitting right beside her in the speeding bus either. She must have mistaken my leg for a part of the bus or something or that it happened unknowingly… or just by reflex. But fellow travelers please see what you are ‘grabbing’ for support before you do so! Riding on a public bus doesn’t mean having equal access to all the people inside it!!! Gawd. What a ride!