My indomitable mum

 My mum and I had to make a trip to Vadala last weekend. I am not the one to travel on weekends, I think I travel enough during the week, but some unavoidable work had come up and the supporting daughter that I am :-P, I agreed uncomplainingly to accompany my mother.

We are one of those families who have almost fully made the transition from living in Delhi to living (or should I say surviving?) in Mumbai. I may add, our transition wasn’t all that easy but after five years here I can safely say, on the whole it has been “successful”. As opposed to the tradition of taking private cars out on the road for even the smallest distance in Delhi -a tradition that we ourselves followed, we now prefer the dependable albeit over-crowded public transport system of our island city; especially for long distance. Besides the fact hat this is a proof how well we have adapted to the city, I think this is also proves that we are not willing to spend hours and hours battling traffic on narrow, pot-hole ridden and congested roads. Public transport is most certainly faster and on weekends the human traffic on the buses and trains more or less halves, making the journey comfortable.

As it were, mum and I set out on a bright sundrenched Sunday and made our way to the bus stop. Waiting patiently for our bus to come, we spent time chatting, discussing this and that. Five minutes passed then ten and then twenty. The bus was nowhere is sight.  The bus stop had started becoming crowded. We contemplated if taking the train was a better idea; at least that way we would waste time just hanging around the bus stop.  We gave ourselves another five minutes. If the bus didn’t come within that time limit we’d make a run for the railway station, catch the first train available and hopefully make up for lost time. A moment later we saw the red coloured bus making its way to the bus stop. Just has I was getting off the pavement and walking towards the standing bus, I heard my mother tell a man standing right besides her “Please wait. We were standing for the bus for 20minutes. I saw you arrive only a few minutes back.”  In other words “We got here first so we get to board the bus first.” Mom’s words didn’t go down very well with the man. He gave us a dirty look and retorted “I am not stopping you from boarding the bus, am I?!?” He repeated this sentence twice, hoping to get the desired impact. My mom wasn’t interested in listening to him; she simple went ahead and got on the bus. I followed, not knowing what to do in the situation and a little slightly embarrassed by the exchange I had witnessed. The man and his dagger eyes followed us till we boarded and found a suitable place in the bus.

Once in the bus I explained to my mom “You shouldn’t have said anything to that man . There is no line at this bus stop. Consequently anyone can get in first. Just because we were standing for longer doesn’t mean we will get to board the bus first. If there existed a line and the man broke it, then you could have told him to behave himself. But since there was none, you can’t say he was at fault.”  Mom’s reply to that was “He came after us and he saw us standing, still he wanted to get on the bus first. That’s wrong. When you know someone has been waiting for longer than you, you should be civil enough to let them go first. He was being pushy and over smart.”

Generally my mom is sensible person who has seen her fair share of ups and downs in life and knows how to handle people and situations. Yet this smart, sensible, intelligent person will at times behave in a completely unworldly manner,much to my surprise. At such times, I have found the logic guiding her behaviour to be  simple and straight forward. If we came first, we should be allowed to board first. Since I respect the unwritten rules, others should too. Just because people can be pushy, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to break rules. I find this simplistic understanding of the world and how it supposedly should function refreshing. Sadly, in the real world things hardly ever work in this way. Not that this fact deters my mum. If she thinks something is wrong, she is going to voice her opinion. Whether in private or in public. Whether her daughter is (slightly) embarrassed or not. What ever the situation, if its considered wrong by her she is going let you know. Because according to mom, righteousness must rule. 🙂 Way to go ma!

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