Bhoomi waited for the 343 bus to take her home.
The unkind sun was making everyone in the queue sweat and the stench of perspiration mixed with the various deodorants was giving her a bad headache. The only relief was that it was just a 30 minutes journey in the bus and then she would be home.
The crowd was not too much and the person behind her in the queue was constantly brushing against her – sometimes her bag, sometimes her hair. Turning to admonish the man, she found him to be a well dressed man – probably in his 50s. He did not look like the type who would harass women or pick pockets. Must have been by accident, she told herself.
The bus was just around the corner and the pushing and pulling began. It felt like people were trying to snatch her bag and she fiercely tried to protect herself and her belongings from the perpetrators.
Managing to find an empty seat, she occupied the window seat and looked out. The bus was full by the time it started its journey and there were many people standing in the aisle, looking out for any vacant seats.
The rusty bus started its journey and Bhoomi plugged in her earphones and closed her eyes, thankful for the AC bus and the seat that she could manage, offering her the much needed respite from the sweltering heat outside.
She felt something on her shoulder and saw that the man who was seated beside her had dozed off and his head was on her shoulder. This was the same man who was pushing her when in the queue. Reluctantly, she woke him up and asked him to sit straight.
When this happened a few times, she asked the man, “Uncle would you like to sit near the window so that you can lean against the glass and sleep?”
“Oh, don’t call me uncle. I am not that old” the man replied cheekily, “Why don’t you talk to me so I don’t fall asleep?”
“Excuse me, I have a headache.”
“Okay, you sleep then.”
She pretended to be asleep while listening to her playlist. Something fell in her lap, she was shocked to see that it was his hand. She was afraid, but knew she had to tackle this and that men like him should not be tolerated.
The man is well dressed, he is easily the age of my father, seems to be a respectable person, but his actions are exactly the opposite. What should I do? If I make noises, would the people around support me? Thoughts fleeted across in her mind and she dropped her bag into her lap, as if it was accidental. His hand withdrew and Bhoomi was relieved.
Soon his hand was back and this time Bhoomi decided that she needed to be brave.
In a sudden flash, she poked the man with the safety pin she was carrying. He screamed out in pain and shouted at her for hurting him. Bhoomi calmly asked him what his hands were doing in her lap. The man could not even try to lie, because there were people watching who had seen everything from the beginning and were waiting for Bhoomi to react.
Needless to say, Bhoomi’s assaulter was nicely dealt with by her co-passengers and she was applauded for calling out on the man and for being brave.
Each year April is special for the blogging community as a lot of us embark on the AtoZ Challenge – one where each day of April, we attempt to write on one English alphabet. The letter for the day is B and today’s post revolves around the word Brave. I hope you will leave a comment if you enjoyed reading my story.