The little morsels of adventure that still stray into my life generally do so when I'm shuttling between home & office, thanks to me generally finding my way into the driver's cabin. I'm treated to being a spectator to all that happens between the driver and his sidekick.
Our driver is a guy who spends half his driving time looking ahead through the windshield & the other half instructing his sidekick and communicating with our transport department via the wireless system. The running commentary between the two sides is spirited and...thankfully enough, in a language (Kannada) I don't understand. I guess I'll never know what the two sides keep blabbering about, but it has surely aroused my curiosity. I'm sure even NASA astronauts don't receive such a barrage of navigational tips from Houston!
The sidekick came in 3 versions since I began taking this daily shuttle. The first two aren't worth a mention, but the latest guy (a teenager) is rather weird. He occupies the seat in front of mine, to the left-front end of the bus. The rumbling engine-hump lies between him and the driver.
The assistant's primary job is to open or close the door and collect the attendance sheet. But he has managed to make himself useful in more ways than required. All through the trip he issues wild gesticulative instructions to the driver...who conveniently ignores him. So while the young lad uses his right hand to instruct the driver to start, stop or steer, he uses his other hand (always jutting out of the window) to issue commands to the traffic to make way for our bus. And since the traffic is too rowdy to follow his gestures, he freely uses some cacophony (strongly resembling the one used by shepherds to tame grazing sheep) with gay abandon.
Nobody notices, nobody hears, nobody acknowledges; yet our friend believes he is a force to reckon with, that he's responsible for untangling the innumerable traffic jams of Bangalore, that the driver is grateful for his help and that without him we would never reach office or home on time.
The fellow has the bad habit of pushing open his end of the window by sliding the glass to the rear end...my part of the shared window, not that he doesn't have enough window space already to squeeze through a full-sized pig . He manages to completely shut my side, something that literally leaves me fuming. He was up to his trick again this evening on my way back home, and I finally decided to put an end to my misery.
So when duty beckoned him to attend the door, I quickly seized the opportunity to slide open my window, only a narrow slit to let the air through. Our sidekick returned to his seat...and soon enough was back in business pushing the glass back to my side. He succeeded, but only momentarily, as I quickly retaliated with a push in the opposite direction. Lost territory is gained territory again, I thought! Our dual had gradually escalated into a mindgame of the highest order.
He now tried to recover some lost pride by issuing subtle pushes to the glass. Ha, I had jammed the slide with my fist! So when his relentless subtleties began to hurt me, I shamelessly and suddenly pushed the glass a good 1 inch ahead. He got the message.
I spent the rest of the trouble-free trip being pampered by a cool breeze gently blowing against my face. Victory tastes so sweet!