Thursday, 4 October 2012

Coming a full circle with a School Bus

The memories of the school bus slowing down at a place that looks comfortingly familiar, we standing one behind the other and moving towards the door to disembark are so fresh in my head- even today. After school, the bus journey to home is a crucial part in the memories that fill up our association with school life. Grabbing the window seat, opening the test papers to wonder where we lost out on marks, our ONLY bus friends, seniors bullying juniors,  the Conductor bhaiya who is trained to NEVER be friendly with his little travelers,  Driver bhaiya who is perennially sweating, by hearting every stop till our stop comes, throwing paper balls at those in front, emptying water bottles on those who have just gotten down and pass our window and so much more....I am dramatically emotional hence I still remember my last day in the school bus, when as I got down and it went past me, I stood on my stop holding Rahul's hand and waving it Bye. Rahul (that is why) is also an important character of everything I remember of my morning School Bus- I have carried his ID card, belt, comb, almanac, tiffin box, exam board in my bag because he woke up late and was too hassled to bother about them :).

12 years on, from the day my school bus deserted me forever, there is another School bus that is shaping my memories of a lifetime. Every single day at exact 1:07 pm, I pick up my car and drive down to V and N's bus stop to pick them. The distance is not worth a car journey but I pamper them in summer months because after a whole day at school, I don't want them to walk 2 considerably big lanes. Trust me- this daily routine of mine is one I am extremely proud of. Its bliss to see your babies come down the bus, brimming with joy and energy on seeing you. I hug them every day, offload their heavy (yes they are heavy) school bags from their tiny shoulders and ask with a renewed vigor each day- "How was school??". The question may be the same but the answers are different and that is exactly why I repeat it everyday. Our little car journey to home is enough for both of them to gobble out every minute detail that made that day special. 

As I wait on the stop, being the observer I am, I feel a little out of place because I do not apply lipstick or even comb my hair especially to make that trip. The other mothers are prim and proper, they talk non stop (about their husbands or holidays) and look every bit dressed for the occasion. It seems okay if the bus is delayed for a few minutes because that would mean more conversations! There are some maids and grandparents too who are treading this path more out of responsibility than will. I am the odd one out who is there to pick up 2 boys who the Conductor thinks are twins, who is always punching into her phone (to avoid eye contact with the manicured mothers just so that they do not indulge in small talk), or if the bus is taking way too much time- pacing back and forth on the pavement desperate to see the Yellow and Blue bus emerge.

I am lucky we are able to build these memories. These small things which may not matter in the long run when kids are big enough to come back on their own from the stop, but I have definitely paved way in these initial years of schooling- of a definite happiness of finding your mother waiting for you each and every day with a tight hug, a bond that we share because I am as bound in this routine as they are and a sense of fulfillment in myself because no phone call, no meeting, absolutely nothing else can come in the way of this duty of mine.

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