Life can be hard and unpredictable in places away from city. I learnt it the hard way this Sunday. In cities you know if you’ve missed the bus you can take an autorickshaw or hire a taxi. In far-flung villages, served by the state transport buses you’re on your own. The 11am bus did not turn up. I thought “so what the twelve o’ clock bus would surely come” and kept myself busy doing the farm chores: depositing dry leaves and grass into the vermicompost pit, picking up cow dung outside and overseeing that the soil around the trees was not bare.
The 12 bus didn’t turn up too. That’s’ when Vermaji and me realized that the next bus was five hours later, if it did turn up. We waited for a while for the three-wheelers which plied between Badlapur railway station and Morachipada via my farm but none turned up. Between 12 and 5pm is a lean period when villagers rarely not venture out of their home. And those who do ride their two-wheelers bought on hefty EMIs.
“Let’s walk it down,” Vermaji said taking the second bag containing farm vegetables from my hand. “Walk it down,” I thought. Badlapur was eight kms. from where we were standing. Rather than wait endlessly for an overloaded three-wheeler to come our way or a passing truck give us a lift, we began walking as the noon sun beat down and the sweat poured all over.
We walked for over an hour and had barely covered five kms. Still three kms. to go. MSRTC runs six buses daily from Badlapur to Morachipada, the last stop which houses barely 100-odd houses of poor and marginal farmers. Most days buses don’t turn up but no one complain. Neither the gram sevaks nor the sarpanch have yet approached the MSRTC authorities seeking why the buses play so truant and so often.
We reached Badlapur station two hours later– a journey which generally takes barely 25 mins. Having reached home, after an hour-long ride in the local, I just collapsed in bed after a quick bath followed by lunch. Even in my dream I felt I was walking with loads of farm produce. Now I’m wiser and if I miss the bus I know I have done it, means walked five kms., I’m ready for it. ms me s