The Formidable Bus Station
The bus station was very challenging, not just because I was extremely pregnant and had shopping bags hanging off me like ornaments on a Christmas tree, but just because at the best of times it was hard to get ON the bus, let alone get a seat. In 1981 the Rajpur bus stand was endless chaos. It was actually a muddy, unpaved, empty lot. Only one bus went in the morning and one in the evening from Dehradun to Rajpur. Thus, when the bus arrived, there was a flash mob, but not a harmonious singing flash mob.
I stood on the outskirts of the crowd, waiting with my bags, wondering what in the world I would do when the bus arrived. I was in no shape (on the contrary, I was shaped like a giant tomato) to push and shove my way into the bus like everyone else would be doing. Predictably, the horde began to move like a wave towards the entrance of the station as the bus pulled in. Both the front and back doors of the bus were open, and passengers hung out; one foot in, one foot out, grasping the stair-rail with one hand. It was as packed full of people as a tin of sardines. As it slowed, people began to jump out, and climb in. That made it nearly impossible for inside passengers to find their way out.
With my mouth agape, I stared at the mob and then at the bus, and took a few unwilling steps towards it in slow motion. A little white-haired, village looking grandmother appeared in front of me. She didn’t even look at me, but started grabbing my bags from me until she had them all. I don’t know why I didn’t stop her, for someone once attempted to rob me in that bus station. She turned towards the bus with my bags and motioned me to follow her. I was obedient. When we reached the throng her elbows took over, a jab to the left, a jab to the right, left, right, left, right until we reached the bus steps. I stayed right behind her. I don’t understand how she did it, but suddenly we were inside the bus. She pushed and shoved her way up the aisle with me following. Midway, she came to a halt, but there were no seats. No problem. She grabbed a man seated in front of her and pointed to me. He saw me, he saw the old woman, and half-heartedly got out of his seat. He too was obedient. Then she sat me down. One bag after the other was carefully placed on my lap making sure I was comfortable.
I turned to thank her. She was not there! I peered down the aisle thinking that maybe she was not traveling and was getting off. When I had searched thoroughly, I realized there was no way that she could have moved that fast. She had vanished!
Angel? There weren’t really other options or explanations. If you read my first story entry, I AM RAGHAV, you may recall a similar incident in an Indian bus station. Perhaps attendants in Indian bus stations are angels in disguise? Mine was an old woman. For Raghav, it was some sort of official who came out of the mist and saved him. Angels, are anywhere, and dressed as anyone; wherever someone has a need. God really does have endless surprises for us.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;