BUS NO 101 AND UNO CARDS
C. L. Sam Paul, II MA English
My first ever visit to the Chennai book fair started with a bit of agitation, as I didn’t board the bus on time. It was the half-hour wait at Sriperumbudhur and Poonamalee respectively that annoyed me a lot. Since I travel for three hours every day it was not a strange thing to wait for a bus, but on that particular day, since it happened to be an unknown route, I was told by people around me to board bus no 101. As I was eagerly looking for bus no 101, I found it on the extreme left and with a huge grin I safely boarded the bus, and luckily I got a seat too.
After ten minutes, the conductor came in; since he was ticketing from behind, I couldn’t verify immediately, and so I waited… for ten more minutes; driver started bus, when conductor came near, I checked with him whether the bus would pass through Chennai book fair, but then to my surprise, conductor said ‘NO!’ I was taken aback, 25 minutes wait resulted in vain! I sadly got down, called up my brother, who repeated the same word “Bus No 101” again, and so quite furiously I treaded to a booth nearby, and yet again I was told that it was 'Bus No 101!'
Now, with no other options left, I finally trusted my brother’s words and hesitantly boarded bus no 101. After 45 minutes of travel I reached Aminjikarai, and for the first time I felt as an alien in my own state. In a new place, on a vacant pavement, I started to walk, and quite next to the Indian Oil Petrol bunk I saw a big poster “Chennai book fair 2017”. After toiling hours of travel, it was like an achievement. As soon as I entered the Book Fair, I was peeping in at the stalls, and I saw a lot of Tamil books and some of Chetan Bhagat’s, Dan Brown’s and as usual some great classics.
As I was strolling along, I noticed a few things – elderly people were seriously and curiously searching for books, kids were happily running around with masks, boys playing with Uno cards. These things amused me a lot. Boys were not worried about anything, nor were they distracted by the noise pollution. For many of us that place was a treasure, but for those kids it was just another place!.
As I was searching for short stories, finally I figured it out in the Sahitya Akademi Stall. That day, I learnt no matter how serious this world gets, children’s world will remain the same and pure too!. I happily exited the Fair with a cup of fruit salad, and as I was crossing the street, bus no 101 passed me by. It did annoy me a lot and made me ferocious. Life is never made up of a bed of roses! Quite unexpectedly Bus No 101 and UNO cards made my day.