I am on the Government rolls but working for a schedule oriented organisation like ISRO means as good as working for a MNC and reaching home late is but inevitable. In addition to the work schedule, once in a while I party with my friends though I am a teetotaler. None of the reaching home late was as dramatic as the first time I reached home late.
My debut in reaching home late happened when I went to pay the fees for a professional course. At that time I was in second year of my degree course and was passionate about becoming a cost accountant. I was staying in Banaswadi and the institute was located in Basavangudi atleast 25 kms away from my home. Given the pathetic state of mass transport in Bangalore at that time, this was quite a distance to travel. My mother would not let me go by cycle and hence I was forced to go by bus. I reached the institute pretty late at 7pm, though I left home at 4pm. The queue was lengthy and at around 8 pm, I reached the cash counter. The clerk pointed to me that I did not enclose photocopy of certain documents and asked me to get one. By the time, I could be back it was nearly 8.45 pm, I paid the fees and went to the NR Colony bus stop. I had to board a bus to Shivajinagar. A bus going towards the Majestic bus stop came and the conductor urged me to get into it saying it was the last bus. I would have none of it and continued to wait.
It was getting close to 10pm and I began to feel jittery since I have never been away from house all alone. There was no phone in my home or any neighbour nearby to communicate the mess I was in. Since I was fairly adept at the geography of this locality, I started walking towards Gandhi Bazzar and there I just missed the last bus to Majestic. My heart started thumping because I did not know how to reach home with the limited cash of Rs.20 I had in my pocket. I madly started walking towards National College Road. On the road, a cop stopped me seeing my helplessness. I explained him my situation and also that I had only Rs.20 in my pocket. The good guy he was, he gave me a twenty rupee note and asked me to take an auto. He stopped an auto and asked him to take me upto my house, where I would pay the fare. The auto driver understood my situation but explained to the cop that since he was driving from morning he could not drive that far and assured him that he would drop me till Shivajinagar. The cop took his details as well as my brother’s office number and sent us.
As promised, the auto driver dropped me upto Shivajinagar at around 11:15 pm. After paying him I was left with Rs.10 in my pocket and a distance of 10 plus kms to travel. Having reached Shivajinagar, I heaved a sigh of relief. I knew another 5 to 6 kilometers of walk, I could reach my nearest relative/friends house. I walked for a couple of hundred meters when I saw a HAL bus coming. I just waved my hand and asked him “Banaswadi”. He replied “ Maruthi Sevanagar”. That was ok with me, because this place was only 3 kilometers from my home. I hopped onto the bus and the employees inside asked me what I was doing there at that time of the day. I explained them the situation and the driver refused to take money from me.
I got down at Sevanagar at around 11:50 pm, only to find my Father standing at the bus stop frantically looking at each passing vehicle. I thought he would thrash me but he understood something wrong should have taken place and asked me “What happened?” I explained him what had happened and he just smiled it off appreciating my quick thinking after 10pm. He was equally critical of my inability to take the Conductor’s advice. The next day the cop called up my brother to check up if I had reached home safely.
I always had a negative thought about cops but this cop changed my perception. Till date, I don’t wait for a direct bus no matter what time of the day it is. These were the two biggest lessons I learnt from that eventful night.