I sat on a ladies seat | #City Diaries1

Stay with Dad and don’t get lost. I chanted in my mind.

I was feeling like a three year old kid and if I think about it now, it is kind of very embarrassing. I was for God's sake an eighteen year old young man but there I was, about to piss my pants wet. I tried to keep my gaze focused on dad’s head as he strolled ahead of me amidst a hundred unknown people. My dad was fast, too fast for a fifty year old dude with hyperthyroid stuff hanging from his neck. I almost had to run to keep up with him.

I saw him stop ahead of me. A lot of people were standing there facing the road. I realised it was a bus stop. We didn’t have bus stops back in my hometown. Golaghat doesn’t need buses, it is so small. I looked around the place. It wasn’t anything like they showed in TV. There was no girl eating a chocolate and a boy asking for a piece of it or middle age men with half buttoned shirts passing obscene remarks at female commuters. Everyone looked normal.

In the time as we wait for a bus with empty seats, I wondered if feeling so nervous was justified. I couldn’t probably get lost, I had navigation apps in my phone but I was not sure if it's map can direct me to my house if I typed ‘that place I am staying’ because I had no idea what that place was called. I was 300+ kilometres away from home, I was out of my luxurious room and I was out of the range of people I am comfortable with. I was bound to feel nervous. I had always been like this, a bad socialite and an introvert person. Anything new – people or place – wricks me out. Guwahati was a new place filled with new people.
The worst illustration by none other than Me.

A bus, almost empty stopped in front of our stop. ‘Let’s go,’ Dad said and moved towards the bus door. I quickly looked at the side of the bus where it was written Basistha – Paltan Bazaar – Jalukbari in Assamese and went into the bus. It was rusty inside. Definitely not the best interiors. The seats were covered with a blue velvety material and I could see that there was a very tiny amount of cushioning in them. I saw dad sitting down in a seat beside another man. My mind quickly decided where I would seat. I rest down my butt in a seat across the aisle directly to the left of my dad. I was right; there was no cushioning in the seats. I was about to mentally curse the bus owner when I saw Dad looking at me.

‘You are sitting in a ladies seat,’ He smirked at me.

I was like ‘huh?’ and looked around. In the glass above my window was written in red and bold ‘Ladies’. I immediately stood up. I had no idea that buses had reservations. I had no idea how the bus network worked.

Luckily there was only one female passenger on the bus and she was sitting on the seat ahead of me. I hoped she didn’t see me. But four other male passengers obviously saw me. It didn’t look like they cared. I walked back through the aisle and sat down three seats behind my dad, this time on the general side.

As I rested my back on the hard seat, two emotions surged through me. I was embarrassed. Totally embarrassed. If I were fairer, my cheeks would have been red too. But I was also feeling good that female commuters had a way to peacefully travel around – in a country like India, in a city like Guwahati.  

Disclaimer: This post is a part of the series City Diaries inspired by my short stay in Guwahati. There are bits of fiction added too. I certainly wasn't going to piss my pants. Duh!
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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