If there is one thing that brings people together, I think it would be fear and not love.

When love brings two or three people close, it alienates the rest. But fear, brings everybody close. People who never cared to look each other in the eye suddenly act together and guard each other’s back. People never cease to amaze me and so does the human mind. Recently I travelled to Mangalore to attend a wedding and the return journey taught me three interesting lessons which I concluded as the above learning.

The baby girl.

It was on my return train journey from Mangalore to Calicut that I met this hyper-active cutie. Her Dad took the side-upper berth, Mom and her took the one below that and her 6-7 year old bro took the one in front of me. This little girl no more than a year or two old was not letting her Mom take a nap. I saw her wide eyes sparkle every time she saw something interesting. And the fact is, she found everything interesting. The moment her mom closed her eyes, she would try to climb down from the seat. Her mom wakes up and gives it one more try to make her sleep. This went on for a while until she gave up and made the little girl sit next to her brother. I gave it a try, to befriend the little girl. She seemed to have got the ‘never-trust-a-stranger’ lesson quite early. I stopped and decided to inflate the air pillow and take a nap.

I was woken up from the sleep by the loud sound of a speeding train on the other track. Almost everybody was up with a shocked face. That is when I noticed the cutest shocked face right next to me clutching my shirt with her tiny hands. She was so scared. She had slipped off from his brothers arms and was looking outside the window next to mine when the train passed by. I stretched my arms, pulled her close to me and hugged the scared little thing. I could feel her relax. She was too scared to even cry.

There were these few minutes of silence before everybody burst into laughter looking at the little girl. Her reaction was the most hilarious thing. She raised her hands and was shouting “booo…. Booooo”. “She is scaring the train away”, translated her brother for my benefit. I couldn’t help but laugh. She joined the laughter. And thereafter for the rest of the journey I couldn’t sleep at all as she kept pulling my hair, tickling the feet and giggling.

So what changed after the train passed by?

The cracker

I always loved bus journeys. Especially like the ones from Wayanad to Munnar (and back). In the ensuing bus journey back home to Sulthan Bathery from Calicut, I boarded this bus. The one sitting next to me was pre occupied with the mobile phone. He was texting endlessly or on a call or on a game. Obviously he was going on a short journey. Otherwise he would not waste so much of battery (sigh!!!). I took out my phone and checked Facebook and logged out in a minute because I got so bored of it. After two minutes I got bored and logged back into Facebook. Irony; isn’t it? It is at times like this that I miss travelling with a friend. I love travelling with just 2-3 people around. I don’t like trips with too many people, like the school trips or college trips or project parties.

“SSSSSTTTTTTTTOOOO”!!! That’s all we understood! It was a cracker that flew off and burst right next to us on the bus. Both of us were glad that it did not burst on our faces. We could laugh it off and look at each other’s expressions until we found out what just happened. For the rest of the journey until he got down, both of us did not have to take the phone out. I could never have foreseen how a cracker would give me an awesome co-passenger.

A narrow escape

The bus went on for some more time with nothing special to mention, say except for the speed. I was lazily going on with the log-in-to-facebook-log-out-of-facebook cycle when the bus took a sharp turn almost throwing me off the seat. In the next few seconds (which looked like ages) the bus was going on two tires with all the passengers screaming! In an attempt to avoid colliding with a jeep, the bus got on the divider and almost landed on its side. By some miraculous intervention and some awesome display of physics, the bus straightened itself and stopped. The driver got off the bus and ran. People on the road ran behind him and brought him back. The awesome PR guy of a conductor pacified the people and tried explaining the save-the-jeep story which we didn’t know then. The scared driver gave a stupid grin and we got back on our seats. For next hour everybody kept talking to each other about the incident and how some of them escaped accidents before, how bad are the roads, ruthless driving and you know, related stuff. But then at Adivaaram, just at the foot hills of the Ghat road (Thaamarasseri churam, for all malayalees here) the bus halted at a tea stall. At that time of the day, there is no such authorized bus stop. But the whole trip looked like we were on a leisure trip and as if all of us knew each other. People were even asking strangers on the bus if they should get them some snacks!! Yes!! It felt wonderful!!

So fear brings people together. Doesn’t it?