By Shashank Saurav:
I often use buses for commuting from one place to another… Now the experience of traveling in these buses is vastly different for every person. Where people like me are engrossed in our work, there are many people especially senior citizens who are constantly maundering throughout their stay in the bus. Then there is the younger lot who look forward to the trip with resentment. By looking at their faces, it is easy to make out that they wish to be in any other place but here.
While traveling in the bus you will observe different types of passengers. However, the one you should watch out for is the group that travels without ticket. Generally these people try to avoid the gaze of fellow passengers. They are easily noticeable in a crowded bus as they hang on the door and look for the first opportunity to get down. Nevertheless, it is morally incorrect for me to blame them because I was considered one of these people recently.
I was returning from my workplace and the sun had almost set. I purchased the ticket and sat on an empty seat. With the cool breeze blowing and all tensions behind me, I dozed off. The ticket slipped off my shirt pocket and the eventful journey continued.
Suddenly with a jolt, I woke up. The conductor informed that the last stop had come and fortunately that was where I was supposed to get down. However unfortunately the ticket checking inspector was present at the stop and following suit I went ahead to show my ticket.
As soon as my hands came out of the pocket, I started gaping at the inspector in disbelief. It struck me like lightning that while sleeping I must have dropped the ticket. I tried to search everywhere frantically and that included the floors of the bus but it wasn’t to be seen.
My turn came and I tried to plead to the inspector by telling the truth. He started laughing and bluntly replied that rowdies and students give this excuse. Now that he had caught me (I was dressed formally), he would not let me off at anything less than Rs. 500. I reminded the conductor that I had purchased the ticket and requested him to help in my vindication. The conductor was not entirely sure and that gave enough reason to this martinet to impose the fine.
I did not budge and tried to argue. An altercation started that culminated with the inspector threatening to take me to prison. So I opened my purse to take out the money and there lay the ticket, though in a partially torn condition. I showed it to the inspector; he verified the date and on being satisfied, allowed me to go.
Allow me to explain how this miracle happened. Actually, I use the buses on this route to travel back and forth everyday. I had purchased the morning ticket and had been lucky enough to stuff it in my wallet. That same ticket had come to my rescue now.
So the moral of the story is not to purchase a one way ticket and use it for two ways like I did, but to be careful with your ticket. Its need arises later and if you lose it then you will end up losing Rs. 500 as well (unless you are a student).