Today, just like any other day, while I was travelling, I witnessed a furious commotion in the bus. A guy of about 23 years or thereabouts was standing (for there were no empty seats) in the bus and lost his balance when all of sudden the bus jerked. He did not know where his hands or legs were going; his right hand grabbed an iron bar while his left hand clutched one arm of an old man’s spectacles and the spectacles came undone from the old man and fell where the bus driver sat.
Though the driver’s eyes were on the road ahead but somehow he saw where the old man’s spectacles fell, and while his right hand steered the bus, with his left hand he picked up the spectacles and cried, “Hey, hey! Take this!” The old man, possibly in his mid-sixties, with great effort reached the driver and the driver handed the spectacles to its rightful owner.
While the old man was doing a thorough examination of his spectacles, the young man (the guy of 23 or thereabouts) said sorry to the old man. “Sorry,” repeated the old man, “is that a medicine!”
“Old man,” the young man said, “do not grumble. Said sorry, na.”
“Hutt,” said the old man, “what a world! Throw my spectacles and say sorry!”
“You old man!” the young man shouted, “shut your ugly mouth, or do you want me to help shut it for you.”
The old man’s pride was hurt, but he was scared (perhaps his age was keeping him from fighting back). For a few seconds he did not say anything, but after a few more seconds the old man muttered something under his breath. No one heard what the old man said. Then, dissatisfied, he sighed. “But if it were broken,” the old man began, a little louder so that others could hear; “if it were broken, I would have gotten him to buy me a new one as compensation.”
“Buy you a new one, my foot!” said the rowdy young man. “Keep your spectacles at home if you are so concerned about it,” he added. It seemed the old man used the conditional statement keeping no one in mind in particular and keeping everyone in mind in general. But the young man felt, and was certain, that the old man was challenging him, and only him. “No,” continued the young man, “even if it had been broken, you would not have received any compensation, at least not from me, though I do not know about all the other cowards here.”
In his excitement and bravado, the young man had made a big mistake. He called everyone coward. It was a golden opportunity for the old man to get his lost pride back. “Brothers and sisters, sons and daughters,” the old man raised his voice, “are you all cowards? Is that so?”
“Hey you!” said a well-built man, pointing finger at the young man, “I am not a coward.” Then many voices were heard. Unanimously everyone claimed that they were not cowards. Everyone attacked the old man to prove they were not cowards.
Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS