Being a Delhi-ite I have a mountain of experience of DTC buses. This was a time when there was no metro and no mobile phones. The only mode of public transport were buses.
I used to board a bus for my office daily at 7:30am. We were four girls who used to be at the bus stop around the same time. One of them was Meena, a newly married girl struggling with her new life and job. Neetu, a jat girl, was in college. She was the daughter of the sarpanch of her village. Very bold and aggressive and would pick up fights everywhere. We always felt safest around her. And then there was Rakhi who worked in an office and was the solution center to every problem we had. I was the fourth one, just out of college and a nervous first timer at work.
We became good friends. Though we had different destinations but we would wait for each other at the stop and some times, we would even miss our buses while waiting for each other.
Every morning Meena would come in with a new problem which obviously originated from her mother-in- law. Though we were inexperienced, yet we tried to give her various solutions. Or at least, we listened to her as she kept ranting. Neetu would eventually say, “Such are all mother in laws. Don’t lose your cool.” Rakhi would offer something more logical, trying her best to analyse the situation. And I was always in “What happened now” mode.
By the end of our hour-long journey, when we bid farewell to each other, there would be a smile on Meena’s face.
Neetu studied in Delhi University. She was the one to arrange seats for us in the crowded bus and take care of us all through our journey. Attending the Delhi university was a prestigious thing in her village. She used to love that attention. And she had a bag-full of stories about how she rejected proposals from her village boys. She deserved the best, after all. I loved talking to them about my day to day life at home or at workplace.
We would discuss just about everything with each other. Our relationships, problems at work or at home, bitching about our friends or colleagues, even our deepest thoughts. We knew we wouldn’t be judged here. We were total strangers. We never exchanged addresses, never had phone numbers of each other, but still managed to meet every day without fail. In fact, we looked forward to our time together.
When time drifted us apart, I’m not sure. One by one, after a point everyone moved on. Its been so long now that I don’t even remember their faces now. It feels strange that at some point of time we were so close to each other, almost to the extent of inseparability. We used to enjoy our time together and I got my life’s best lessons from them.