July 7, 2015. 8.45 am. A woman sits down in the seat next to me in the bus, and proceeds to diligently empty her bag of ticket stubs, letting them fall, one by one, to the floor of the bus we were in.
I keep quiet.
She then takes out a lunch box and starts to eat sambhar rice.
I keep quiet, passively ignoring her, looking the other way, wishing I had eaten some breakfast before starting on my way.
She flicks her hands occasionally, to brush off the stray rice particles away from her person, letting them fall, one by one, to the floor of the bus.
I keep quiet.
She drops an onion on her bag, only to intentionally pick it and drop it on the floor.
Well… I lose it.
I tell her to act sensibly, considering that she is the one sitting there amid all the waste that she has accumulated. I tell her that this is a bus, not a garbage truck.
She doesn’t look at me. Everyone else does (What is with that anyway?) She just picks up the one onion that hadn’t yet found its way to the floor and drops it into her now empty lunch box.
So I continue to listen to music, turning up the volume to distract myself from my frustration, watching minutes go by, seeing her get off the bus along with many others, watching another woman take her place.
And all too soon, this woman starts to sip a packet of juice. And just when I silently try to will her not to drop it out of the window, she drops it.
I give up.
I just shake my head, give a last frustrated wave of my arm, and I just give up.
p.s. Eating in buses is quite common. So much so that when the Chennai metro was launched recently, food wasn’t allowed inside the stations and trains. Needless to say, this rule spawned a lot of social media posts on how you can’t eat tamarind rice on the metro. I guess a lot of people like tamarind rice (and sambhar rice and curd rice). I like it too. But littering? Well, that’s another story altogether.
On a related note, it is great to see all this excitement about the public transport. Just the other day, while I was sketching, my co-passenger on the bus was telling her friend about how the fare-collection is done at the station and how the metro coin works in the newly inaugurated metro system. Way to go!