Private buses refusing to stop for school children, or, conductors stopping them from boarding buses are normal affairs in Kerala. Sometimes buses head at high speed without stopping in front of the bus-stop located next to schools. Conductors make the excuse saying that school students only pay ₹1 or 50 paise for their travel. Just to clarify the government of Kerala issues concession passes for school and college students to board the bus to travel at a nominal concessional rate – this often doesn’t go well with the bus staff and operators.
I studied till the eighth standard in Kendriya Vidyalaya, which provides their own bus service. Later, I shifted to a private government-aided school to complete further studies, where you have to depend on private buses for commuting. I have had my own share of bad experiences in travelling with concession passes in private buses.
Recently, when I visited Kerala to meet an old college friend from Bangalore, I come across one such instance which reminded me of my childhood days. A private bus in which I was travelling refused to board a bunch of school kids, which really irked me. When I confronted the conductor, he rubbed it off, saying they are concession students who don’t bring much revenue for them.
I myself had been involved in so many civic issues back in Bangalore that I decided to ring up the control room. Within minutes, a police van called in to confirm the location, bus number and route. The bus was stopped by the police van after having travelled 10 kilometres – at which point they were forced to go back. They stayed there and ensured that the conductors let the students board the bus. I thanked the officers for taking timely action. I felt proud of myself for doing the right thing.
I really felt happy to see how responsive the Kerala police had become. I am sure that if I ever came across such instances, I would do the same thing.
Sometimes we need a moment to step away from the bigger issues, and focus on the little things around us – the important things and those seemingly trivial things that need our attention – which most of us consider to be trivial or irrelevant. These little things are generally not difficult – they just take a little extra time and a few extra efforts.
It might just be a phone call that we continue to ignore – in order to stand up for an issue which might need our attention. Whatever the task – remember that the smallest things can make the biggest difference. We often don’t realise that it can make a huge difference, or, make a beginning for a bigger change. We often overlook these issues, thinking them to be trivial issues which are to be ignored.