Meet Uma Medam


I was on my way to Hampi, Karnataka last thursday for a vacation with my friends. After reaching Hospete, We took a state transport bus for Hampi. The bus was filled with other locals and tourists. Luckily I got the window seat just behind the driver. As soon as the bus started A girl came from behind shouting Ticket Ticket Ticket! I turned my head to look back with a little surprise. Here was a girl of 20 something holding the ticket vending machine in her hands in a brown uniform with confidence on her face.

I was seeing a lady bus conductor for the first time. “i want to click picture with her”, I murmured to my friend. We bought our tickets and then she went back. I was on the lookout for her,as she kept moving through the bus coming to the front door occasionally to give some or other instructions in kannada. I was way too impressed.

This was the first time a lady bus conductor was in front of me. Finally when she came towards me, I asked “Excuse me, May I take a picture with you?” With sheer attitude she asked, “WHY?” So I explained to her the reason and I put my right hand forward to shake hands with her.

“Hi, I am Arshi”, I said with a smile. She said, “My name is Uma.”
And then began our conversation:

Uma: Why do you want to take a picture with me, I am not a heroine!
Me: Dude, you don’t know what you are for me! I am from North India, I have spent ample time in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and also our national capital Delhi. It’s a dream to witness a lady bus conductor in North India especially in the regions where I have stayed.
So tell me about yourself, you are a star. What do you do? Who else is there at your home ?

Uma: I am a final year, BA student. I am studying in an open university and I am doing this conductor’s job for a living. My exams are in April post which I will take admission in Masters.

I asked what her subjects were and what her medium of study was. I also asked her about her family.

Uma: Political Science, Sociology, English etc. are my subjects and I study in Kannada medium. I don’t know good English, I know good Kannada (Karnataka’s regional language). I want to study in a good college. I want to learn good English. Medam, you are studying or working?

Me: I am working. We have come from Mumbai. Have you ever been to Mumbai?

Uma: No but I want to.

Me: Give me piece of paper. I wrote my name and number on that paper and gave it to her. Uma, whenever you come to Mumbai, do call me. I will meet you. We are Friends!

Uma: Laughingly….. Friends! Wow Friends! It was nice meeting you Medam.

I too showed my gratitude and guess what, last night I received a text message from her saying:

Hi Medam, I am Uma. Respect the feelings of people who touched your heart because you will never know when they will just walk out of your life and never come back.
Dear O Dear, you are not near, but I can hear, don’t get fear, your memories are here, live with cheer, no more tear, you are always my dear. This poem is for you. GOODNIGHT.

I immediately called her back and we chatted a bit. She told me, “Medam, you learn Kannada, we will talk in Kannada” ha ha ha ha ha ha!

And that is how I met Uma.


Save Matheran

Matheran Echo Point matheran

I went to Matheran last weekend, the smallest hill station in India, mostly famous for trekking. The beauty of this place mesmerized me till the last beat of my heart and the last drop of my blood. Although this season was not appropriate to go there, I explored it to the fullest.

Trek, Sight-Seeing, Horse-Riding, Ate gola, Bought the famous Kolhapuri Chappal, talked with the local residents, etc, etc…. ! Damn, all the way I was thinking India is so so beautiful.. So diverse.. So lovely..! Point to be noted: You are not allowed to take your vehicle inside Matheran as it is an eco-friendly zone. You can only walk or take horse or take a hand pulled rickshaw.

I ate mind of one of the horse-boy for about half an hour, asked him many questions, some were silly & some were intelligent.. His facial expression revealed that he got irritated because of my “Bak-Bak” (English Phrase: Talk away nineteen to the dozen)… Sharing a part of that conversation:

Arshi: Aap log to bachpan se Ghoda chalate honge ?

Horseboy: Haan, Hum to inke saath hi khel kar bade hue hai..

Arshi: Waah… Great ! 

Horseboy: Madam ji, Hamari to rozi-roti hi inse aati hai.. Kamayi ka zariya hai.. Aur kya aapko pta hai Ek ghode ke piche Rs 400/- per day kharcha hota hai.. Lekin humlog sab kal se Ghoda nahi chalayenge. 

Arshi: Haaeennnnn…. Lekin kyun ??

Horseboy: Maharashtra Government ne yaha auto chalu karne ka aadesh dia hai.. Hum iska virodh kar rahe hai. Kal se aandolan karenge .. ! Ab aap hi btaeye auto chalega to log apna vehicle bhi layenge aur fir pollution hoga.. Fir to Matheran Matheran rahega hi nahi…! Iski sundarta khatam ho jaegi.. !

Arshi: Shit…! Aisa bilkul nahi hona chahye… At any cost..! Aap log kijiye aandolan…! Ladiye apne adhikaar ke liye ! 

And my trip to Matheran ended with this sad news.. I was feeling heartbroken, as if the entire beautiful nature is vanishing in front of me.