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Unsung HEROS of Day to Day lives - KPTC BUS - Route 139 - Number 92 3051

Nancy Vijo Sunday, March 13, 2016
Unsung HEROS of Day to Day lives - KPTC BUS - Route 139 - Number 92 3051

September 18, 2013

KPTC Bus stop in Hawally, 3rd Ring Road, Besides Direct Aid Office and American Universal School.

7:10 am

I walk as fast as my legs could carry me, so that I wouldn't miss my Route 139; 7:10 bus from Hawally Bus Stop on 3rd ring road.

Yesterday's rush in the bus is fresh in my head. The standing, the rush, women shouting at men who take advantage of having had a chance to stand close to them, the pushing, the noise - all desperately compelling me to take a cab to office and forget going by Public Transport forever.

7:10 am. Men and women cross over from the other side of the road to the same bus stop. Familiar faces - some smiling and ready to face the world, other brooding - thoughts of work load or family back home. Some complaining - about the sun, the heat and the long wait, some gawking - gossiping and staring holes into every women who pass by.

And then there's me - taking in as much as I could see, hear and observe - to contemplate, think about stuff and to mainly to study interesting variations or patterns in human behavior - call it psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, or anthropology - anything.

Route 139 bus arrives at 7:15 am. I wait for the initial rush of people into the bus to subside and then step in, produce my bus pass and look about.

Unlike the rush of yesterdays', there's calm and quiet and everyone is seated. The bus's seats are placed in 3's and 2' on either side of the bus. The seats behind the driver were in groups of 3's and those of the other side were in group's of 2 seats.

2 men were seated in the seats of 3 behind the driver. Not that there weren't other vacant seats in the back of the bus; but these men refused to acknowledge that there was a lady who was standing and that they were seated in a lady's seat. Probably men from India/ Bangladesh / Sri Lanka by their looks and skin tone. I look around and find 2 other women seated in the seat of 2's on the other side of the bus. The driver motions to the men with a swift movement of his hands to get up. The men hesitantly get up and move to the back of the bus glaring at me.

The driver is a man in his 60's. Thin, wheatish with cropped hair. His hairline is high with shades of grey in between. His eyes are sunken and framed by heavy rimmed black square spectacles. Worry lines run from one end of his forehead to another. His shirt sleeve hangs loose and is too big for his skeleton frame. A stubble beard adorns his hollow sunken cheek.

The driver then looks at me and motions with his hand to be seated. I swiftly sit in the middle seat, leaving my laptop bag by the window seat and adjust the ac vents to point to the middle seat - aiming at me. The seat beside me is vacant. I left it so - so that the next lady who enters the bus can be seated beside me and I wouldn't have to take the trouble of moving over when another comes in. The bus moves on.

I look into the rear mirror of the bus at the driver who now caught my interest by being an unusual gentleman who barely spoke - but commanded with is gestures.

The rear view mirror is rectangular - big and long. I could see the driver, and all the rows of seats behind me until the very end of the bus. As I look till the back seat, I find a middle aged man of Indian / Sri Lankan / Bangladesh Origin , who sat in the seat exactly behind me ; smirking at me. (Trust me, I'm not a racist. I'm an Indian myself. But I can now judge a person's nationality by his facial characteristics, physical features and skin tone and I do not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments how-so-ever.) I disgustingly pull my eyes and turn my face away from just in time to catch the driver shifting his eyes from the man's smirk at me to my face to catch my disgusted look. I then see the driver glare at the man and the man withdraws his gaze.

The driver becomes an even more interesting character to me. A man who rules by his gestures and looks. The bus moves on.

Just about 2 or 3 stops after I had gotten in, a man climbs into the bus, moves with lightening speed and sits right beside me. I look startled - how could he just sit next to me without even asking? This is a lady's seat. Secondly - I am sitting there. So according to rules in Kuwait; he is not to sit in a lady's seat in a public transport. And if for any exception he does, it should be with her consent - not by barging in.

I look at him to see him refuse to acknowledge that I do not prefer being seated next to a man. (Experience of travelling in a public bus in GCC has taught me to portray a very rough outlook to men, lest they get the wrong message. Any sign of humanitarian concern would be misinterpreted drastically - and I definitely did not want to set the wrong impression. ) I turn to take my laptop from the window seat, move over to sit there and to place the laptop in the middle seat. This would serve as a barrier between me and that man. Just as I was about to do so, a movement caught my eye. I turned to see the bus driver motion to the man with his hand again - motioning to get up and move to the back seats.

The man says, " Kya hai" (Translation: What is it?) and the bus driver repeats the same gesture again. The man beside me raises his voice and asks again, " KYA HAI?" To this the bus driver says quietly, " Get Up". The man gets up and moves to the back without a word. The other man behind me, (who has absolutely no business in all this) grumbles loudly and ask the driver what his problem was. He went on to claim that they would move aside if a lady came in.

I look up to the rare view mirror to see the driver look away from the man to the road. He ignores the man's remark and continues to drive. The bus moves on.

Next stop. Another man barges in and sits right next to me, his posture taking more space than it actually should, knocking against me in the process. I quickly take my laptop, put it abruptly between me and him; and move to the window seat making it obvious to the man that he better not try to mess up. Another swift gesture catches my eye. The driver gestures the same motion to this man. This man gets up and moves to the back. The man who sat exactly behind me and who commented earlier as well, gets furious seeing all this and begins to complain loudly. He accused the driver of being insensitive. The driver maintains silence and continues to drive.

I'm disturbed by all this commotion. He said, " What is your problem? Aghar woh waha bhaite, toh kya hoga? Thum kyun ethni scene ban rahe ho?"(Translation: What is your problem. What's gonna happen if he sits there? Why do you create a scene.) The nudged at his fellow traveler and kept on making a mountain out of an anthill. (Typical irritating human trait to get attention and to get noticed.) This comment by the man set people in the bus to talk to each other- some supporting the driver - some supporting the man.

Half of me was scared and the other half wanted to get up and whack the man and ask him to shut up.

The driver said loudly in between clenched teeth, "Problem? I wife. I sister. I daughter" in an Arabic accented English. Probably from Egypt or Palestine.

The entire bus grew abruptly silent. 2 other ladies in the bus now glared at the man who created all this commotion and set him quiet. They smiled and were now happy that they had a gentleman of driver. The bus moved on.

This common man - probably from Egypt or Palestine - was a hero. He din't know me - I saw him for the first time today. It shouldn't have concerned him whether these men disturbed a lady who happened to travel in his bus. He could have chosen to continue driving without even bothering to help.


He chose otherwise. He chose to help, to speak up and to protect - protect a complete stranger. He was my unsung hero.

I wanted to absorb his facial features and sketch it down. (Which I have somehow managed to do. What you see above is his picture.) I wanted to make sure he gets acknowledged somehow. I wanted people to know this unsung hero of day to day life. But I din't know how.

I decided to ask him his name. I tried to get up from my seat to walk up to him. The moment I tried to stand up, he motioned with his hands to sit down until he stops the bus. I sat down till he stopped at the next bus stop - where I had to descend.

I walked up to him and asked , " What's your name?" and he said, " Huh? Fi Name" ( Translation: What Name?). Words got stuck in my throat and all I could manage to say again was , " Thank you" to which he smiled and said, " Yalla. Yalla." ( Translation : Be quick. Be Quick.) I climbed down, he closed the door, smiled and drove off.

All I could manage to do was note down the number from the number plate and sketch down his face to th best of what I could remember.

92 - 3051. KPTC Bus. Route No.139. Reaches Hawally third ring road bus Stop at 7.15 - 7.20am. Reaches Shuwaikh Ramez at 7:40am.

We praise so many heros, but we forget to note and appreciate those little unsung heroes of day to day life. So do I. But now, I want to make a difference.

I don't know if this post would make a difference to that man or even to you who reads this - but I sincerely hope anyone of you who reads it, does get to do something for him some day - in some way. There are some people who would help you believe in Goodness once again.... and I met one such man today... in Bus No 92 3051 today...and I share my story.
Nancy is a creative art person,a writer and a motivational speaker. After almost 7 and a half years of her career in HR and Corporate Training in various hierarchical levels; she decided to turn to Applied Behavioral Therapy, trying to make a difference in the life of Autistic kids. She loves designing and choreographing and has anchored various shows in an out of Kuwait and India. She believes in Karma - that what you give is what you get. She writes with the belief that if her writings brings about a positive vibe in the life of a person who reads it - even if it is for a fleeting moment - she would be blessed. Being a vivid observer, she only writes on true experiences.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
God bless the unsung hero.

Monday, March 14, 2016
Nice story and God bless the driver. But you could have shortened it. Too many descriptions and rambling made it boring. I skipped and read.

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