Bombay is home in every sense of the word and perhaps heritage walks have provided me with the most meaningful way of connecting with my city. An open double-decker BEST bus, with a microphone in hand and an audience that is all ears, easily marks one of my best times in the city.
She was a volunteer, handling the logistics for one such open-air bus ride, armed with a wireless device and a fancy designation. The bus could accommodate only ticketed passengers. Everyone else had to be turned away. She did that with utmost panache.
We started on the bus, a little after 6 pm. The ride from Regal Cinema to VT and back was never lovelier. I have travelled on that route numerous times at varied times of the day but that ride was special. Maybe it was the distant fog hovering around Malabar Hill. Or the smiley faces of my co-passengers. Or was it her face that finally let out some emotion when that branch almost spanked my cheek. She pushed aside that branch and then smiled at me as if to ask if I was okay.
I hadn’t met her previously and I don’t think I ever will. Heck I don’t even know her name. But in that one moment on that open-air bus beneath a foggy sky in Mumbai, we had become allies.