I finally decided to raise my voice. I mildly banged the glass enclosure and asked the person siting in the ticket counter:
: Hello! Uncle! Is there any separate counter for the current bookings?
: Then why aren’t you listening to me?
: Where do you want to go?
: Jorhat. 2 o’clock.
He moved his hands stealthily towards the mouse. As if it was a real one, and was trying to escape him. I thought, by the time he catches the mouse and starts typing my details in the computer, I could very comfortably give a brief of the situation I am in.
After a long day at work and a little fun thereafter, I left Pune for Mumbai, at 11:30 PM. My flight to Guwahati was at 6:35 AM the next day. Then after around an hour’s wait in the Guwahati airport, I finally got a taxi that was going towards Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) and now I am standing at a counter of Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) hoping to get through the person’s apathy and purchase a ticket.
: Shall I give you number 13? Single seat.
: Sure. Thanks. How much?
As I was boarding the bus, I was somewhat amused by the thought that how something as silly as a seat number can jinx something, which is already jinxed to this level! It somehow reminded me of a few lines from a Bengali song: “Dukhe aamar jibon gorha, aamar abar dukho kiser? Ondhokaare ekla aami, aamar abar ratri kiser?”
Anyway, I took my seat in the bus just before 2 PM. But by the time the driver showed up and started the engine, it was 2:27 PM. I thought once again, about the person in the counter. About the driver of the bus. These are the people who are still keeping the flame of Assamese culture glowing big. Remember, if you know an Assamese who knows the value of time, who is not lazy, who does not like to spend much time in worthless talk, who does not interfere in your business, then tell that person: He/She is not a true Assamese.