I was on my way to tuitions for my II PUC boards and an integrated CET coaching class. These classes were a very annoying part of my life back then. I usually met a lot of people during these journeys from home to tuitions or vice-versa. These moments in the bus have not always been kind to my olfactory senses.
Sometimes I met really cool, once I met an engineering student who was talking about how much fun his college (DSIT) and course was but he didn’t carry a scent of his own that was obvious. Another time I met a girl riding home from her fashion designing exam and we spoke till we forgot where we had started our conversation and was wearing a very strong and pleasant perfume. I met a twenty something student in a bright yellow tee. He had a chain tattoo running around his arm and the peace symbol behind the palm and under the thumb.
There were a lot more bad or uncomfortable moments when compared to the good. Once a man with a gigantic belly stood next to my seat and put his belly in my face, I asked him to move but he ignored me. I had no interest in sniffing his stomach so I got out of my seat and he jumped into my seat. I was scared for life. You’d think that’s the worst but no it gets worse when the bus conductors try to feel people without any discrimination.
The worst was this specific day when a man who sat next to me in the Volvo (air-conditioned) bus smelt like nothing I’ve ever come across and not in a pleasant way. The man was well dressed and spoke very. He was fair, tall, stubble beard and seemed like he was from somewhere up north from his accent and conversation. He looked a little tired but there was nothing shabby about him.
He sat next to me and the first thing I acknowledge was the disturbing and repulsive odour from him and I wanted to run for my life. He had carried an odour so terrible that it has stuck to my memory like old gum to the downside of a desk. I start scanning for a different seat but as my luck turns out there wasn’t one. I thought about switching buses, but it wasn’t an option since changing bus could make me late for tuitions and so I had to sit tight.
To add to my misery he started talking to me! His mouth smelled worse than a fish stall in madiwala market. I had a conversation with him, a very stinky conversation. He spoke to me about his plans for pursuing his MBA in Bangalore. When I told him I was from Jain College he prolonged the conversation I was killing, by asking me about the college and the courses they offered. Every word he uttered was worse than a possible fart in my face and I felt like I was dying slowly.
To remove my discomfort I tried to recall an old memory of jasmines and hoped no grey cells died due to the odour. A memory where I was surrounded by tons of jasmines, scented leaves and many other flowers whose name in English I’m unaware of. I didn’t have to hallucinate for very long because my bus stop seemed to have arrived faster that it possible could. I was so excited that I bid goodbye without giving him time to reply and left. I got off the bus and pulled in a big breathe of the smoky air to wash out the toxins that tried to kill me.