To Masti Ram, Town Bus is not always a Bus.....  It could be a human being as well.....

The Town Bus

Masti Ram couldn’t be exceptionally good at his studies.  After his higher secondary schooling, he was forced by his environment to apply for an engineering course.  Knowing well that he would not qualify on merit, he tried to find a way to get admission in an engineering college.  One of his friends suggested that with the recommendation of a local politician he could win an engineering seat.  Never seen a politician closely so far in his life, Masti Ram readily agreed to go with his friend.  He always thought that the politicians were not easily approachable, at least by him.  However, thanks to his friend, he was taken to the politician.  His friend introduced Masti Ram as a prospective engineer and requested him for recommendation for a BE-Civil Engineering seat in a college.  The politician, true to his stature rebutted saying, ‘You are too ambitious.  Ask either for BE (Bachelor of engineering) or Civil engineering.  Don’t demand both. I can’t get you both”.  Masti Ram realized that he had made a mistake by buying his friend’s advice.  He then decided to take up a graduation course from a subject in which he scored maximum marks in his higher secondary and that happened to be Chemistry.  He took it up in a college in a near by city, which he did with ease.

It was during his college days that Masti Ram had wonderful time with himself and his college mates.  The college principal was a very jovial person.  Being a Christian institution, the principal was fondly addressed by everyone as ‘Father’.  Living up to the name, he had been so kind to everyone as long as they were good.  When once the principal ‘father’ declared intentionally, the college as one of the best colleges in the city, it was Masti Ram who first burst into laughter.  Because it was the only college that existed in that city!  What a nice way of returning the ‘serve’. 

The college days were extremely good for Masti Ram, particularly when he had so many interesting happenings around.  This college had a peculiar system of assigning roll numbers to students.  For a particular year of study, irrespective of the department, a common running number used to be allotted to the students.  If for instance, the students of B.Sc., Chemistry gets the roll number from 1 to 40, the students of B.Sc., Physics of the same year gets the roll number starting from 41 onwards and so on to other departments.  The interesting doubt in Masti Ram’s mind had been, if any of the department gets a new student in the second year or in the middle of the course, what would the roll number be?  This has been an interesting question for Masti Ram.  Just to answer his question a student joined his class after the second semester.  Masti Ram was really curious to see what roll number was going to be allotted to him.  The roll number allotted to the new student came to him as a surprise.  It was 40 A.  Never late, Masti Ram exclaimed, “Wow… it is a town bus”.  From then onwards the new student was known as ‘town bus’.  Needless to say, only town buses are numbered that way.   Nevertheless, Masti Ram’s remark had a far reaching impact on the new student, who always got upset even when someone unknowingly and unintentionally said ‘town bus’ in some context or other.  Masti Ram used to wonder whether that boy would ever travel in a town bus at all!

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