Running to catch the bus that stood near the library, from our classroom in E block was like escaping from Taliban. Holding hands to gain momentum, we twist and turn through the meandering ways; braving through the gathering crowd, constantly horning motor bikes, untimely rain, and occasional bigger vehicles; escaping from talkative friends and teachers, lest they should engage us in chatter; and also sometimes, if need be, separating hand holding couples or occasional group hugging boys, and going between them. Sonam easily ducks under the right hand of the tall boy (if a couple is waking hand in hand), one of the advantages of being short; but we have no choice but murmur an ‘excuse me’ and separate their hands and sprint again, risking angry looks. But then, what do they know about our every day dilemma of getting a seat, and not wanting to sit beside the driver or on the engine!
This escapade starts every day at exact 5 p.m, with us muttering ‘mam, bus’- meaning its time, not enough loud to reach her ears, but our expressions generally do the trick. Otherwise, boys show a little cooperation and shout ‘bus! Bus!’ even though they are hostel ides. Well, then no one wants to study an extra minute.
And then when the running ends eventually, we keep our bags to reserve the seat, heaving a sigh of relief, and get down to gossip- our favorite pastime. This has become our daily routine at 5 p.m for the last 2 and half years.