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Madam Rides the Bus Summary
Madam Rides the Bus Summary of the Lesson
Valli or Valliammai was a Tamil girl of eight years. She was very much curious about things. She had no playmates. So standing in the doorway of her house had become her favourite pastime. She watched what was happening in the street outside. Thus she had got many new unusual experiences. But she was very much fascinated by the bus ride. It was an unending joy for her.
There travelled a bus between her village and the nearest town on an interval of an hour. She stared at the passengers who got on or off the bus, she listened to the conversations between her neighbours and the people who regularly used the bus.
More often, she asked a few questions from them. In a way she had collected some details about the bus journey. The last destination of the bus was a town. It was about six miles from her village. The fare was thirty paise for one way.
The trip to the town took forty-five minutes. So she planned to, take the one O’clock afternoon bus so that she could return by about two forty-five on one afternoon. It was a fine spring day. The afternoon bus was on the point of leaving the village.
Valli called ‘Stop the bus! Stop the bus! The bus slowed down and the conductor peeped outside. He called her to hurry up. Standing outside the bus, Valli told that she had to go to the town. She showed some coins and got into the bus. The conductor was a jolly fellow.
He called her a fine madam and pointed towards a seat. It was the slack time of the day. So very few passengers were travelling in the bus. Then the conductor asked her if they could start the bus. All passengers were looking at the conductor and Valli.
On hearing the whistle, the bus started. It was a new bus. It had a fine painting of green stripes on the white. The seats were soft and luxurious. In the way, Valli was enjoying everything through her own eyes. The road was narrow. On one side there was a canal.
Beyond it there were palm trees, grassland, mountains, sky and green fields. To have full view, she stood on the seat. Everything looked very wonderful to Valli. An elderly man shouted and called Valli as ‘child’. He asked her to sit down.
Valli was surprised for being the only one called. In an angry way, she looked towards the conductor and demanded the ticket. The conductor punched a ticket and gave her. He asked her not to stand when she had paid for a seat. The bus stopped. Some passenger got on. Valli sat down on her seat lest some passenger should sit over it.
At the time, an elderly woman got into the bus. She sat beside Valli. She questioned her if she was all alone. Valli did not like her. There were big holes in her ears. The earrings were very ugly. She was chewing the betel nut. Valli was fearing lest its juice should fall at any moment.
She again interrogated Valli. In turn Valli gave a curt reply and asked her to mind her own business. But the old woman went on with her talk. She tried to know the house number, town and street, where she was going. Valli was much troubled. She asked her not to bother about her. Then Valli turned her face and stared outside the window. It was her first journey. She had planned it very well. She had saved all her stray coins that came her way.
She resisted the temptation of buying toys and balloons etc. At the village fair too she controlled herself not to enjoy the ride in the merry go round. Thus she had collected enough money for her journey. Her next problems was to slip out of the house. She knew that her mother used to sleep daily after lunch.
Valli decided to use these hours for her journey. Most often she used these hours for her excursion. The bus was rolling across a landscape. Everything seemed to be fast running. But it was passing smoothly leaving all obstacles safely behind. Valli was happy. She clapped her hands with glee.
There came a young cow, running fast, in front of the bus. The driver blew his horn loudly. But the animal became more and more frightened. It galloped in front of the bus. It was funny for Valli. At last the cow moved off the road. The bus came to a rail road crossing.
The train looked like a speck from the distant. The train passed with utmost roar and rattle. It shook the bus even. Then the bus passed through a busy shopping street and came on a wider thoroughfare. Valli was fascinated and happy to see the display of clothes and the big crowd.
She was watching everything. It was the last destination of the bus. Now all the passengers got off the bus. Valli remained there in the bus. The conductor asked if she was not ready to get off the bus. Valli replied that she would return on this same bus and gave her thirty coins to the conductor.
He felt surprised and questioned what the matter was. Valli replied that she only wanted to have a ride in the bus and nothing else. The conductor was greatly amused. He requested her to go and look at the sights till the bus started. But Valli replied that she was much afraid. She went on sitting till the bus resumed its journey. She got her ticket. The same wonderful sights were before her eyes.
Then she suddenly saw a young cow dead by the road side. She enquired the conductor if it was the same cow. The conductor nodded his head. Now she was overcome with sadness. Her memory haunted her. She thought that it had been a lovely animal a little while ago but all her charm was lost.
She no longer wanted to look out of the window. She was glued to her seat. It was three-forty when the bus reached her village. She stood up and told the conductor to see him again. The conductor smiled and answered, “Madam, whenever you feel like a bus ride, come and join us.
And don’t forget to bring your fare”. Valli laughed and went running straight for her home. When Valli entered her house, she saw her mother talking with one of her aunts. She was from South Street. She was a chatterbox. Her mouth never stopped once she started talking. She asked Valli where she had been.
Valli only smiled. Valli told that so many things were happening without their knowledge. Her aunt was surprised and said that Valli was talking like a grown-up lady.