School buses come in all varieties – big yellow buses, small mini vans, ones that reach on time, ones where all kids get a seat – then there is Bus No 3. Our very own “Three Bus”.
I lived around 20 kilometres away from my school and it goes without saying that I spent a lot of time in Three Bus. My best friends in school, the funniest incidents, the time of my life – I owe it to that old cheerful yellow vehicle. We had two rows of seats reserved for our gang. Shankar “Chubby”, Pranav “Paandi”, Aswin & I, being the first to get in, held fort and clung on to these two seats not letting any chirpy young kids or intimidating seniors to enter our restricted area – till our troop was fortified with the arrival of Sandeep, Arun, Vinod “Sticky”, Akshay “Chuksy” and occasionally Vishnu to complete the elite 3 bus gang.And as any young kid would do, our main job was to obviously look out of the window and watch the city around us. And yeah we did see the entire city en route to school, for our three bus was the worker horse for Loyola – it traveled to distant suburbs many of my other classmates didn’t even know about. Our major past time was to spot vehicle number plates and find out which is the newest registration number we saw on the street. And the guy who spotted it first was our superhero hehe.
Then one day there was a huge fight. Pranav finally had learned of the ubiquitous 4 letter word and found an opportunity to use it against Akshay. Major pandemonium broke out, with Akshay calling Paandi back “goy”. Well I don’t know how he came up with that, but instantly people started taking sides on what was the bigger insult – the F word or “goy”. We searched dictionaries, referred library books (sadly no Internet at that time) – finally someone decided “goy” was the worst insult in the history of mankind. To this date, I have not changed my opinion. :D Then there was this other fight I remember vividly, this time again Paandi, but on the other side it was Sandeep. And poor guy Paandi, already reeling at the trauma for being called a “goy”, got his ear bitten by Sandeep! Yup he really bit his ear. And the amateur doctors in us were shocked – Paandi is going to loose all his hearing skills in 2 years. 10-12 years passed since the incident, I saw him last week with full auditory powers, helping him hear worser insults than “goy”!
By eighth standard we had become grown ups. Hormones were raging and it played an important part in us trying a major (failed) attempt to shift our seats to the other side of the bus. We all developed a crush on this girl who used to wait for the bus in a common bus stop. Someone told us her name was Praveena, I don’t know till now whether that is really her true name. Poor thing, I don’t think she ever knew so many prying eyes were on her all that time! :D Hmmm.. I wonder what she is doing now… ;)
Time has gone on, things happened, life’s changed… We have gone our different ways, I became an engineer, Paandi is doing his MBA, Chubby became a lawyer… Yet those days don’t seem so long gone. They are so vivid in my mind as if everything happened yesterday… the golden days in Bus No 3 :)