Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Napping Away

This is another post triggered by the bus rides that take me to work and back. It’s not that I observed it off late, but I never thought of writing about this earlier. Check the snap. I took it on my cell phone when I was comfortably perched at the last seat of the bus. The gentleman (X) was almost resting his head on the shoulder of the man (Y) beside him. Y was sleeping too, but he could keep his head firmly straight, except for a slight droop. Each time X’s head touches his shoulder, Y gives his shoulders a violent shrug. This alerts X and he sits up bolt upright. Before long he gives up his resolve as the cool breeze wafting in from the Hooghly river sooths his alert nerves. His head starts the sideways slump again. This continued repeatedly till X’s journey came to an end and he somehow pushed himself out of the packed bus.

It’s not a wonder for me anymore. Over the years I have seen passengers on the bus take power naps on their way. Many wake up from the bounce on the roads. Many naps are cut short by an elbow of the passenger standing beside him. Some have a lot of peace stenciled on their faces. It seems like this is the only time which they have to themselves. They can sleep peacefully without a wife yelling in the other room or without a teenage child hankering for extra pocket money. They don’t really feel guilty about taking it for granted that even if their heads end up on the adjacent person’s shoulder, there won’t be much harm done! Some don’t even apologize. Some get angry when they find a head on their shoulder. Sometimes quarrels are triggered. I have seen considerate conductors leave the sleeping passengers alone when he goes along collecting fares. The ones standing and swaying to the movement of the bus look at the sleepers jealously. What would they not give to swap places? Some people have all the luck, they seem to grumble. And why not? While they sweat it out in the humid interiors of the bus, with only very short intermittent gusts of wind striking their grimy faces, the better-off mortals are replenishing their energy reserves.

I am guilty of the same offense as well! There were quite a few times when I fell asleep on my way. But I don’t use the person beside me as a pillow; that much I can assure you! However, I allow children to use me as a pillow if they fall asleep! I make jerky movements to ward off adults looking for the same privilege. As for me, actually my mind starts to wander about the moment the bus starts moving. When it gets lost in a maze of incomprehensible garbage, I find my eye-lids getting heavy. Before long they meet secretly. Their hug is torn apart when the bus comes to a sudden halt or when the car beside honks unusually loud. I squint out to check where I have reached. If that’s far off from where I have to get off, I allow myself to indulge a little, with a mental note that I have to keep this short. Sometimes when I wake to see my destination just a couple of minutes away and I feel really sleepy, I have this mad urge to sleep on and come back on another bus! But I fight it off because our time is such a slave to others that even if we want, we cannot get it to do something for our own pleasure.


Varun said...

Nice post. The same thing also happens with me while traveling by local train. This type of scene is only noticed in South East Asia, why not in North America..

Sankho said...

True fact. Nice post. I love to sleep in trains when travelling long distance.