In my two years of travelling by bus to college, I had never seen passengers react to anyone as they did to a small boy who was getting off.
They were all smiling and waving excitedly to the kid. These were the same people who normally didn’t even glance at the person sitting right next to them.. what had bought about this wave of emotion?
That morning, the bus was surprisingly empty. After settling in, I tuned into the FM radio. At the Mahim bus stop, the bus suddenly filled with school boys, in the seven to nine years age group. They looked too young to be travelling alone. Once they settled in, the bus suddenly turned lively with their chatter. I took off my earplugs to listen in to their conversation.
The kids were arguing animatedly with their teacher who had got in with them. We both smiled as we listened to their innocent arguments on the IPL teams and Bollywood—Krrish and Hrithik Roshan being everyone’s favourite.
Just then I heard some sounds behind me. I hadn’t noticed the little boy and his mother since getting into the bus. But the little boy, listening to the other kids, had started talking.
Most of what he said was incomprehensible.. they were just sounds and not intelligible. I tried but I couldn’t understand a word of what he spoke, but his mother did. She answered all his questions patiently and with a smile. Her love shone on her face.. the way she looked at him felt like an invisible embrace. He seemed to be feeding off her positive vibes. He was mentally challenged but so full of life that it was heartbreaking.
Smile some more
They were getting off at the next stop. They made their way to the head of the bus. As he reached the front, the boy looked back and waved.
The boys sitting next to me and I waved back. Seeing us wave, he was excited and waved even more. His mother appoligised saying, “Sorry, he gets very excited when people wave to him as he doesn’t go out much.”
By then, everyone present in the bus was waving to him, including the conductor and driver. In fact, the driver even let him honk the horn and play with a few switches. Nearly everyone on the bus had a smile on their face and waved when the little child got off.
Life seems so difficult when our parents enforce a curfew, limit our pocket money, we suffer heartbreaks or the workplace causes too much stress. Our problems seem to loom large and we lose sight of the bigger picture. But today, all those mega problems felt trivial. I felt insignificant.. and that little boy seemed like a star.