The city bus was jam packed. I was a lonely tall gentleman amidst — what seemed like — a sea of young women, mostly shorter than me and presumably are college students too. It was an early morning ride (mind you, I am not an early riser) and it was quite a bit refreshing to see so many people buzzing with activity.
The ride was a long one. An hour into it and I am pretty tired. I have been standing in a bus cramped for space and I could barely move my feet or adjust my shoulder blades. Just then, someone in the seats was about to get down. The empty seat was right in front of me. I thought maybe my legs could use some rest. No, not really. I heard a voice. It was sweet. I heard the voice saying ‘Excuse me.’ The owner of the voice was motioning towards the empty seat. I knew the seat was in the general section and realized what it was all about. I shrugged and forced a smile on my lips. ‘Give me a minute’, I told her. I squeezed and made some space for her to get to the seat. She took the seat and didn’t reciprocate my kind gesture. I tried hard not to care.
Some were deeply involved in their own conversations. The laughter felt genuine. I found it comparable to watching the deep dark sky filled with stars. The tenderness and the grace wasn’t that easy to miss.
As I found myself in an internal monologue, I was reminded of this beautiful verse from Na Muthu Kumar’s poetry.
அந்த கடவுள் அடடா ஆண்கள் நெஞ்சை மெழுகில் செய்தானடி
அது ஒவ்வொரு நொடியும் பெண்ணைக் கண்டால் உருகிட வைத்தானடி
For the unfortunate who can’t read Tamil, here’s the translated version:
That God made men’s heart in wax
And every second it sees women, it melts
It seemed very apt for what I was going through. I found myself mouthing the lyrics. I don’t think anyone noticed me do that and that wasn’t my intention anyway. Soon enough, I hopped off the bus at my stop.
The whole episode got me interested in getting out of my comfort zone and explore more. I now simply want to get comfortable out of my comfort zone. And I mentally prepared myself for another early morning ride. This time a train.