Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blindfolded Eyes

She was a head turner the moment she stepped out on the streets, jaws dropped, eyes popped out, everybody wanted to be inside her the moment they set their eyes on her. She was the new air-conditioned luxurious deluxe bus that was launched by the government. She was the envy of the other buses that were on the streets. Every other driver-conductor duo looked at her with a desire to attain her, for she was of a different kind. She was a Volvo deluxe bus and was in pristine condition. Her driver and the conductor were neatly uniformed. There was music playing through the speakers that were installed on its walls. It gave the passengers a feeling that the bus was not being driven, but instead, was being glided. When the ignition was turned on, she purred to life without any fuss. The hydraulic doors opened with a hiss with just a push of a button. And when she left the bus terminus, those outside wished they had enough money in their pockets to go for a ride in her. She was the pride of all the employees who worked at the terminus. She was much like the foreign returned boy in every family of whom the parents spoke of proudly. She was the apple of their eyes.

Within the bus it was a world of comfort, the seats were comfortable and the AC worked like a dream. The highly priced tickets meant that not everyone could afford a ride in her. Thus, she was safe from the hooligans who called themselves “students” and created a ruckus in the other ordinary buses by banging on its sides, whistling, harassing every passenger who travelled in it and dancing to the tunes of some loud and crass Tamil number. But the Volvo was untouched; its beauty remained unblemished, for no sadistic mind would even think of destroying something that looked so regal. There was class written all over her. It had been a few months since she had first captured the people's imagination, she received rave reviews in the dailies, soon she found lots of fans who did not mind shelling out extra money to enjoy a comfortable ride. 

It was a hot Sunday morning as the Man waited for the bus at the terminus, all the buses looked the same- beaten up and looking like they might collapse any moment once you stepped on the accelerator. But the Volvo stood apart from the crowd, the sun was shining off her roof and she looked spotless, her wheels looked brand new. Her sleek headlamps glowed as she teased him to come over and try her out for a ride, he obliged. He fell in love with her the very moment he stepped in, it was as if he had stepped inside a  aircraft. There were a few passengers who were marveling over the Volvo's beauty, and her design. He rested himself in the cushy seat as he took in the plush environment, the engines slowly came to life as the bus began its journey. He got his ticket from the conductor which came out neatly printed from the ticketing machine. Half an hour had passed since the bus stepped out on the road, there was a faint music being played over the bus' sound system, people were busy chatting in hushed tones as there was an air of calm inside the bus which one does not relate with public transports. The silence was broken as an empty beverage bottle rolled off the floor, everybody looked around but could not fathom how it had gotten on the floor. The culprit did not come forward to claim the empty bottle, as the bottle rolled over the floor from left to right back to left with every turn the bus was making.

A few stops had passed and a few more crowd had gotten in as now the passengers started to walk all over the empty bottle which now lay crushed on the floor. Yet no one bothered to take out the bottle from the floor, the conductor was busy issuing tickets, the people were busy gossiping about Commonwealth games, reality shows and Endhiran that was now the talk of the town. No one bothered to take out the crushed bottle which now looked like a blemish on an otherwise beautiful creation. They all had their eyes blindfolded, they had dug their heads within the sand unwilling to see the crushed bottle lying on the floor. "It's not my job, why should I do it? I did not pay thirty bucks just to clean up the bus!" thought one, "I am not picking up the bottle, I did not drop it there" thought another, "If I do it people may think I am trying to become a hero, I don't want to go through this crowd just to pick up a bottle, I may lose my seat!" thought another, "Why don't these people have a dustbin in the bus, they could after all afford to spend so much! ?" thought an elderly gentleman, "They will clean it up when the bus reaches the terminus" thought a woman. The crushed bottle still lay there as the people were busy pretending that they had other important things to do. 

We refuse to cleanup the mess which others make thinking that it is not our job, or that it may belittle us, be it a piece of paper on the road or that beverage bottle in the bus. But when the issue snowballs into a bigger problem we all make sure that we tweet our opinions and point our fingers at others. But do we realize that when we point one finger at others we are pointing three fingers at ourselves?

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