The BEST Caesura

Caesura (noun): A pause or an interruption as in “After an ominous caesura the speaker continued.”

One fine morning the other day, I woke up and impulsively decided that it was time to take a caesura.

Maybe it was not so impulsive… My two ‘ready-to-hit-the-floor’ projects had got delayed at the eleventh hour. A letter of approval of yet another ‘almost-completed’ project had refused to move out of the desk of its author. The duplicate NSC certificates that were to be issued by the post office in lieu of the ones that I had lost in an auto-rickshaw two years back, would apparently still take a month more to materialize.

The water pipe that was to be repaired by our housing society four months back, continued to leak. The old lady staying above our flat was still throwing waste materials from her window. And above all, as they say in some Hindi film credit titles, the mother board of my computer sat in front of me, detached from its cabinet, a sarcastic smile on its face.

To implement my caesura, I decided to catch 84 Ltd. It was one of my old tricks and a proven stress buster for me. 84 Ltd is a local bus run by the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Company (BEST) that starts from the suburban Andheri Station in North Mumbai, going all the way up to Flora Fountain or Hutatma Chowk, in the southern part of the city, covering a stretch of about twenty five to thirty kilometers in about an hour and a half.

It all went perfectly. People yelled at a shady looking man who tried to jump the line to get into the bus and had him scurrying to the end of the line. The conductor of the bus, called ‘Masthar‘ locally, was in a foul mood, as he normally is. An angry old lady made a young college student sitting on a ladies seat get up.

The wife of a dazed middle-aged man argued hard with a young woman who had accused the husband of elbowing her. And then all of a sudden, people started shouting at a tired looking old man who seemed to me like a retired bank clerk. He had absent mindedly left behind a small bag on his seat as he got ready to get down at his stop. What if it had a bomb in it?

A caesura, in its strictest terms, should ideally be eventless. But my journey on 84 Ltd. was quite the reverse or maybe it was so as I was probably hell bent on making it as eventful as I could.

The other people did have their own caesuras too – like the bus conductor who sat on a seat in front of me during a lull period. When he started counting the ten rupee notes that he had collected, I asked him, ‘Masthar, can I get a change for hundred rupees?’ Without even looking at me, he vehemently shook his head.

Or this drunken man sleeping in the middle of the road, oblivious to the wild traffic that zipped past him in very close quarters. The way he was shifting his body, it looked as if he had imagined that he was in the confines of the privacy of his bedroom. A few of us grinned, noticing the serenely blissful smile on his face. He was surely having a caesura of his life – though how eventful it was I supposed depended on the dream that he was having.

When the bus reached its final destination, I had had enough. However tempting it felt, I rejected the thought of extending my caesura and taking the same bus back to Andheri. I took the local train and within forty five minutes I was back in front of my disabled computer.

An hour later the computer person fixes my mother board. Half an hour of his having gone, in my excitement to finally end my caesura and restart ‘real’ work, I stub my toe against the edge of the bed and…

The X-ray confirms that my little toe is broken. I now sit with my legs stretched. It is now the turn of the plaster that binds my two little toes to smile sarcastically at me, almost suggesting that I now take a ‘real’ caesura – without the help of 84 Ltd of course…


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