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An estimated 5-minute read

Bus Number 211

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I am interning at the Centre for Disability Studies at the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. My learnings here have spread their wings across the limitless sky of life. I travel for around 2 hours every morning to reach the Centre from where I am staying, and this travel has got to do a lot with my peripheral yet significant learnings about life.

I live near the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat and the MLA Quarters. There is also the plush Hussain Sagar lake nearby, which looks breathtakingly resplendent during the dusk, when my tired body and soul get refreshed by its nude innocent beauty, when the sun rays kiss its shimmering bodice.

I get to scout on the government buses twice, during the course of my journey to Shamirpet, where the ‘Justice City’ is situated. The buses which take me to Shamirpet are numbered 211 and 567, between who, 211 holds special prominence in my mind for the reasons and enunciations enlisted below.

Day before yesterday, Hyderabad city received its first ever monsoon ablutions from Mother Nature. The sultry city was transformed into a raging beauty. After the routine research work at the Centre, I boarded the Bus numbered 211 (which skips the detour and takes the long route instead, to teach me invaluable lessons!), to my way back home. As the bus journeyed through the narrow alleys and streets of various “pets”, I journeyed through the inner corrugations of my mind and soul. My eyes saw many a “STTAR HAIR SALOON”, “GANESH DECARATION”, “PICO, FALL” and “CHINES FAST FOOD CENTRE”...I sensed a slight smile crossing my lips, as I saw these innocent advertisements, oblivious of whatever that is which constitutes the “Queen’s English”. Hyderabad boasts of its own “Desi Nizam’s English” which speaks volumes of the city's flavour and mood. As the bus hooted through the various bazaars, my eyes caught attention of the abject poverty in which my compatriots are living in this so called “future super-power” of a nation. The people, their attire, their ‘homes’ spoke unequivocally about the dismal state in which they are ‘living’. Our Constitution guarantees – with a Godly power and authority – the right to education, right to equality, and right to lead a decent life, to every person born in India. But, these people have never felt the warmth of the Constitutional sun. They have been entrapped in the pitch dark ignorance of life and its ways. The horn of the bus, as if to highlight with a fluorescent colored highlighter pen, these thoughts that were being thought, reminded me that India’s GDP is growing at a whopping rate of around 8% to 9% every year. I groped for this ‘development’ in the eyes of the beaten bystanders at one of these ‘pets’, only to meet with disappointment.

By the time my mind had conjured up these thoughts and was struggling with the juggling ideas, I noticed that the bus was now in Secunderabad, which was a glaring contrast to the pale eyes of the Hyderabadis of the ‘pets’...Here I saw swanky malls, designer showrooms, branded clothes displayed, and footwears sold in A/C showrooms. I had to face the reality. Let us all face it. Richness and poverty should and do co-exist. There are no rich without the poor and the vice-versa is not false by any means.  Both of them feed each other. Why then, do governments all over the world dole out huge subsidies and largesse amounts to ‘alleviate’ poverty, was the question which sparked in my mind. Is it not the Rule of the Higher Law, that the good and the bad (not to mean that poverty is bad and richness good!) should and do coexist, and no mortal coil has ever been successful in hampering Nature’s super plans?

Yes. Realization dawned upon my ‘piece of mind’ that though it is the Rule of the Higher Law, man, through his extra ordinary capabilities and faculties, forever has been trying to give his best to make things easier for him and his fellow beings. But, I would be transgressing from the scope of this blog post if I go on into the analysis as to why man, despite his ‘sincere efforts’ in ‘alleviating’ poverty, has only increased the miseries of the unclothed. I thus concluded that fatalism should not be anywhere related to the modern day civilization and hence man has to do his duty with utmost attention and care; irrespective of whether the outcome is up to the mark or not.

So much to say about what Bus Number 211 taught me while on a journey in it. And not to mention the Hyderabadis, who have all been monotonously colored with the same paint by the Supreme Artist. An especial mention of the Hyderabadi men, those specifically at the bus stations, deserves its rightful place here. Amidst gaseous nebulae of dust, dirt and grime, amidst the screeching and mind harassing nuisance of the bus horns, and amidst the whole masses of people seemingly hurtling towards each other with senses-defying speed, the Hyderabadi men stroll around at a snail’s pace, with a serene smile on their dark faces, with their teeth shining white (but at times shining yellow!), as if they are on a romantic evening walk with their beloveds, no world to care for, no people to inadvertently pass by! And not to mention their expressions at the sight of a girl; it seems as if they have never seen one and they look like birds flocked together around their hard hunted prey!

The first day I experienced this, left me fretting and fuming. But then, the Hyderabadi lilt has taken me in, I guess. I now take pleasure in the various life lessons I am getting to learn, together with learning about my aptitude towards and patience with the research oriented internship work.

Bus Number 211 and the entire fraternity of Hyderabad, keep up your spirits the same way and rock on! Differences in statuses are here to stay, and it is but natural; the only thing which can be reasonably expected to be done is, minimising the gap between the extreme ends! May the mesmerizing melody of the City live forever! May God bless you!


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