That day I woke up, as usual, to get ready for college, completely unready for the ridiculous journey I was going to witness.
Looking straight into the mirror, I took my own sweet time readying myself to look as perfect as ever.
Packing my lunch into the backpack, I swiftly went to the bus stop wearing it. Being the first person to board the college bus, I have to reach on time.
Greeting the driver, I took the shotgun seat next to him just to avoid overcrowding of the bus.
Dropping the bag behind my seat, just when I was about to enter that comfort posture, we reached the next stop in the journey.
Not seeing anyone at the stop, I checked my watch to see if we have arrived early which turned out to be true.
Eyes piercing through the glass window, we scanned for any known faces approaching the footsteps of the bus.
To our dismay, we didn't spot anyone.
Thinking whether to wait for some time or to continue ahead with the journey, the driver looked visibly anxious.
Tilting my head to rest on the window, my eyes were constantly switching between capturing his longing expressions and trying to spot the familiar faces in the crowd.
Eager to take a call on this, he called out to me and asked whether I could check out for people on the other side of the road.
Typically to reach our college, there are routes allocated for the buses to cover. There is a nearby stop which is covered by another bus.
Crossing the two-lane road, I reached that stop and looked for people who might be waiting there thinking that they had missed the original bus.
To my surprise, I didn't notice them.
The stop was full of people who were waiting for their designated bus.
Just to confirm, I approached one of the people and asked whether anyone from our stop came there to which I got no as an answer.
Fidgeting, I turned around to catch my bus and tell the same to the driver.
To my utter dismay, I saw the bus moving ahead, slowly picking up speed to continue with the rest of the journey.
Though initially shocked, I calmed my nerves saying to myself that he might have gone ahead to avoid the usual traffic and be waiting at a further spot.
I quickly crossed the road to check for the bus that was probably waiting for me.
Nah, you have guessed correctly.
I didn't sight the bus.
Slightly dejected and feeling deceived, I tried to cross the road again in hope of boarding the other bus.
But as luck would have it, the bus arrived, picked up the waiting passengers, and left the stop in a flash right in front of my eyes.
Not knowing how to react, I was dumbstruck by the turn of events.
After the shock subsided, though a bit furious, I took the decision to return home as travelling to the college by bike wasn't allowed, and availing the public transport was such a pain in the arse.
Subconsciously trying to feel the shoulder straps of the bag, I continued walking in a bid to reach home and call it a day.
But something felt off, I couldn't sense my backpack. I put my hands hurriedly on my back to check.
Yes, you are right. I left my bag on the bus and stepped out.
I couldn't leave my bag alone and go home as it contained important documents of mine disregarding the books.
Feeling agitated, I cursed fate murmuring why such things happen to me only.
Taking a 180-degree turn, I reached the same stop—where the whole story began—to avail public transport.
Thinking if I had enough money in my purse, I tried looking for it in my pockets.
I searched again but to no avail. I had left my purse in the bag itself.
Sighing, I was about to curse fate again but sensed some papery stuff deep into the pocket.
I took it out to see what it is, and on closer inspection, I figured it was a folded paper currency worth 50 rupees (0.68 dollars).
But I didn't know if it was enough.
Scanning for people, I finally approached an elderly man and asked him the directions to my destination with the money in hand.
I don't use public transport that much and certainly haven't used it for going to college before.
The only way I know was a bit expensive which costs 4 times the amount I had.
Luckily I got to know that with the amount I had, I could make it to college.
I had to board three buses or two buses and an auto-rickshaw to reach the destination.
After waiting for 20 minutes, the first of the three buses slowly entered my field of vision.
Eager to hop on, I was preparing myself to board the bus.
But the feeling was a short-lived one.
The bus was overcrowded already with the people near the footboard trying to hold on to their dear lives by stomping on each others' feet.
It was an easy choice for me. I let it go.
The waiting game had just begun.
The boredom induced by standing still was testing my patience.
Crossing my arms, tapping a foot on the road, I indulged myself in counting the taps—in a bid to lessen the boredom—as they matched the harmony of my watch ticks to create a perfect illusion of ticking time.
Another 20 minutes have passed by and I was having second thoughts about my decision.
Just about when I was ready to give up, a bus somewhat reasonably filled reached the stop.
After cross-checking the route number on the bus, I boarded the bus and took a seat.
Paying the money for my ticket approximately 20 rupees (0.27 dollars), I tallied the amount left.
Viewing outside from the window, I reflected upon the turn of events and had a tough time deciding who was stupider between me and the driver.
30 minutes later I have arrived at the first intermediate stop to board the second bus.
By then college had already started and I contemplated whether he felt any remorse (if any) for the actions he took earlier.
Boarding the lifeless bus, I went into deep thinking of my own trying to frame words filled with rage to use them as a weapon against him.
Soon I reached the last intermediate stop without me realizing it.
Stepping out of the bus, I re-tallied the amount left again, and the sum turned out to be 15 rupees (0.20 dollars).
Having just enough money, I boarded the last bus thinking of all the possible scenarios.
Generally in our college, a student is not allowed to enter the college premises without an ID card.
With all the college stuff being in the bag, I can't pass through the watchman.
I simulated the situation in my mind.
If stopped and asked about why I wanted to enter the premises, I was ready with an answer.
If he refuses to hear my case, I had an alternative.
Activating the rage mode, being fiery as hell, I was ready to summon the principal to discuss the case—Such a nonsensical thing to even discuss.
Minute by minute, I was nearing college.
Feeling furious and anxious at the same time, I was ready for the moment if things went south.
The last of the ride ended with the bus stopping right in front of the college.
I finally reached the college not the way I was hoping to enter.
I approached the gate, making the fieriest face as much as possible.
When asked about the purpose of my visit by the watchman, before the word bag fully came out of my mouth, he gave me a pitying look and without asking any further questions, he replied with the directions I need to get my bag back.
Thanking him for the unasked help, I went inside the college perhaps the first ongoing student entering the premises without an ID card with a valid reason.
Following the directions he gave, I reached the bus parking lot and found the bus I usually board.
Near the bus, I saw the driver who tricked me earlier chitchatting with friends of his own.
Shooting daggers from my eyes, I approached him ready to confront any moment.
Before I could get a chance to yell, he came forward with guilty and shame written all over his face and apologized.
Being the person I am, all it needed for me to cool down was those remorseful eyes pleading guilty.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I forgave him and took my bag.
Looking at the watch, holding the grab handle of the bag, I entered the classroom as soon as I can.
Already two hours late into the day, abrupting the class in the middle of an ongoing lecture, I asked for permission to enter the room.
Ignored for the first time, I asked for permission again.
Looking straight into my eyes, the professor questioned: for whose sake I came so late?
Lifting the bag into his field of vision, I replied: for this!
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