This long awaited post of mine is finally taking its shape today and finally I have managed to gather words to put together.
I was on my way home from office on 19th of October when this incident took place that really made me learn something thought provoking that our society needs to think about. Well I got the bus and since there was no place to sit, I was standing , accompanied by bunch of other women who were as exhaust as me, yet they had to reach home in time. So this mid-age bus conductor of the coach made a deliberate effort to get in the ladies compartment and started asking for Bus fare. One of the ladies whom he asked, said that “Mai ne apko hundred rupees diye to thay”. ( I had given you hundred rupees already ). To which he replied, “Yeh hundred kia hota hai?” ( What is this hundred ?) . So the lady replies “Hundred yani so. Itna bhi nahi malum?” ( hundred means sau in Urdu. Don’t you know ? ).
Now see what the bus conductor replied. “Agar itna parha likha hota tou yeh jaahilon wali naukri na kar raha hota”. ( If I would have been bit educated, I wouldn’t have been working as a bus conductor ).
This one line by him just bombarded in my brain and caught me from inside. Made me think about thousands of people like him who work in the public transport sector. Thousands of children, young men, adults, elderly men who have been in this profession for such a long time, yet they do not consider it as very noble and humble profession. It also led me thinking about the basis on which we categorize jobs and professions and the taboo of jobs only for educated ones is such a nuisance in the society that it needs to be eradicated as soon as possible.
Here is how I perceive a bus conductor. He is as good as anyone else on the earth. Let me make you count the number of skills he possesses that a very few people can even think about.
1. He is a mathematician. How? Well he collects fare from people, calculates and gives change to the passengers as much needed to be given. He has to keep track of the amount that he gives to the constables on different signals . He needs to keep up with the competition with respect to other buses and maintain the reputation of his bus so he keeps the head count of passengers too.
2. He is a multi tasking person. He helps the bus to have a smooth drive just like intel core-2-duo processor helps in multi tasking in a better way. He’s the money man, the advertising guy, the show stopper, the driver’s mate and nonetheless the one man army of the cheer leading squad of the bus.
3. He is the time manager. His watch might not be of Timex or Quartz but he is somebody who knows the value of time more than any watch brand does. He knows the movements of the buses before and after his own bus, he knows where to reach at what time, which distance to cover in what duration.
4. He is street smart : When there are crises in the city, he would route the driver to such a route that would be unimaginable by any of the passengers sitting in the bus. Making sure that all and sundry reach their destinations in time.
5. Communicator : Is it an easy task to see random people everyday and communicating with them as efficiently and as smoothly as you would do with any of your acquaintances? He does that! He knows how to ask for money from you, how to deal with you if you don’t have enough fare, how to make you happy if you don’t get to sit, how to convince you to make your place in the bus , telling you that “agle stop pe bus khali ho jaye gee”.
Is a bus conductor still a “Jaahil”? I don’t think so and I never will. He deserves as much respect and appreciation as anyone else in the society.
Spread the love, be it in the bus but make an effort and do so.