We both are late. We stand in the long winding queue at the ticket counter. Luckily for us, we got seats in the bus. We both drag our heavy luggage into the bus and try to find a better seat to sit. The bus has 3-seaters on right and 2-seaters on the left. There are no vacant rows in the 2-seaters. Hence, we take our seats in a 3-seater row. He sits at the window and I place my heavy bag to the seat next to him. I squeeze into the aisle seat. While we are wondering whether we will reach our destination in time, a middle-aged person (from now on, we will call him MAP, short for Middle-Aged Person) interrupts us.
“Could I sit here please?” he asks, pointing to the seat that is occupied by my fully-stuffed black bag. I look around the bus to see if there are any vacant seats available so as to be able to shoo away this guy. But no, there ain’t any! I get up to lift the bag and place it onto the passage between the seats. This MAP sits beside me. The conductor shouts as the baggage is obstructing the passage. While I struggle to lift the bag to place it on my lap, the MAP comes to my rescue by placing it on his lap. I smile back a ‘thanks’ to him.
My friend and I exchange looks. He whispers into my ear, “May be he’s interested in you!” “No way!” I shout back frowning. My friend takes out two buns that he bought at the bus station and we both start munching. He even offers one to the MAP. We observe the MAP appraising us.
“Where are you traveling to?” MAP asks me.
“Got to catch a train at 8”
“No problem. The bus stop is not that far to the station”
A thought occurs to me. As my friend and I do not know the city, if I continue to chat with this MAP for some more time; we are bound to extract more information from him. MAP and I chat along, while my friend gives me those teasing looks.
“Do you think w will reach in time?” I ask.
“What is the best way to go to railway station?”
“No problem. You will find plenty of autos,” he replies and pointing to the luggage is says, “There is more luggage, so it is better to take an auto.”
While I was gathering all these details, even my friend starts talking with MAP. “How do we go to airport from the bus station?” he enquires. Now the MAP looks a little confused. However, he responds, “The airport is out of the city… around 20kms or so. You can go by auto.”
When the bus reaches Coimbatore, we got down. The MAP helps us carry our luggage and comes all the way till the auto-stand to see us off.
“So, where have you decided to go?” he asks. And looking at our confused looks, he adds, “railway station? Or Airport?”
“Both,” I reply, “He will drop me at the railway station and go to the airport.”
The reply seems to have shocked him.
He looks stunned and that is when realization dawns on us. All the while, he must have thought that we both were eloping! More so, because of us being at marriageable age, but not married yet, having so much baggage for traveling, eating cream-buns in buses and asking for others for directions! We both clutch our tummies laughing and it was now the turn of the auto driver to give confused looks at us! J