Although this incident happened about 4-5 ago, it is fresh in my memory. I
was travelling in a BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation)
monster bus after a tiring
day. As is customary of me, I fished out a book–I always carry at least 2 books
when I’m out of the house and expect to face a propsect that entails me to
sit/stand idle–and started reading
As the bus just started moving, a middle-aged gentleman ran
behind the bus, trying to get in. I lent my hand and helped him inside. He
promptly thanked, and sat next to me. He was carrying a heavy bunch of papers in
I resumed reading my
After a while, he began to converse. Here’s how it went:
He: I appreciate your help.
Me (looking up from my book): Thanks.
He: By the way, I notice from your employee tag (I also call it a dog’s
chain) that you work in a “Computer” company.
He: If you don’t mind, what is your star sign…wait, let me
guess…(triumphantly) you are a Sagittarian!
Me (slightly amused): No.
He: No? Wait, let me try again. Hmmm….you are thin, you read, a good habit
which the “younger” generation has lost, you help “needy” people…you are
definitely an Aquarian! (triumphant again)
Me (smiling): Not at all.
He (looking puzzled): Come on, I’ve never guessed a person’s Star Sign
wrongly till now. Okay, I give up. Tell me.
He: ha! How could I miss?
(No conversation for about 10 minutes)
He (confidentially, leaning towards me): Young man, I see that you look
intelligent and well-read. You don’t know me at all and I don’t know you either.
As a stranger, I would like you to predict something for me.
Me (feeling slightly irritated at being disturbed repeatedly, but interested
nevertheless): Tell me.
He (showing me his papers): These are the details of a litigation I am
fighting. In fact, I’m returning home after seeing my lawyer. Tell me–just like
that–whether I’ll win the case or not.
Me (taking this guy for an idiot, but sympathising with him): How can I? I
don’t even know the details of your case. And moreover, I’m not an astrologer or
prophet to predict. I’m sorry.
He: No no no! Just tell me your gut feeling, whether I’ll win or not. I just
want your “opinion” (whatever that meant).
Me: I’m sorry, but I can’t tell that.
He: Come on…
Me: Pleaaaseeee….I can’t.
(Silence for 10 more minutes)
He: You know, I retired from the Army after completing about 20 years of
Me (not looking up from my book): Good. I respect soliders. They’re patriotic
He: You know what is wrong with this country?
Me (still engrossed in my book): What?
He: Population. Everyday we increase our numbers in hundreds.
Me (now convinced that this guy won’t leave me in peace, closing the book):
He: Compare that with the Western countries. See how advanced they are! You
know the reason?
He: Because they don’t have children!
Me (deciding not to interrupt his
tirade speech): Hmmm….
He: The other day, I saw a Swedish (German? French? don’t remember) man on
TV. He said that it’s a crime to “produce” children.I liked his reasoning.
Me: Tell me.
He: He said that when we come to this world, we don’t know what miseries are
in store for us. We grow up, face all kinds of difficulties, and are always
unhappy. That’s why, we have no right to give birth to poor children and subject
them to the same miseries.
Me (dumbfounded, but not showing it): Oh!
He: It’s so heroic of him, no? I liked his approach to life. I mean, he said,
if you want to enjoy sex, do it by all means, but don’t “produce” children.
That’s why their societies do not face the population problem and they have
become superior in the whole world.
Me: You think so?
He: Definitely! Look at us! Wherever we walk, we see only crowds and crowds
of people. There’s no place to build homes, factories or amusement parks. Look
at them! Show me one Disneyland in India, I challenge you!
He: So you see young man, remember. I am old enough to be your father, and I
have seen it all. There is no future for this country. If we don’t want to
perish, we should all follow that Swedish man’s words….but my bus stop has
come, good night. It was nice talking to you.
Me: Good night and take care.