They say, the biggest mistake a person can make is saying that one has not committed one. This is the Ugly Truth as we all have been in situations where we have made errors. In some cases when we look back on these errors we reminisce about the amusement that these incidents had given as they were not really errors in the strict sense of the term. My teenage years are enriched with moments like these when I was learning the basic rules of life and living in Kolkata. Now, when I look back to those stupid undertakings of mine the feeling of regret is not felt. Rather I am able to laugh my intestines out. I would take pleasure in sharing one such incident of my life.
Back in 2008 when I was studying in the 11th standard, my sisters and I decided to go shopping for Christmas. I had reached the age where my parents decided to allow me to travel by myself. I felt like a free bird basking on my new found freedom. I knew my limits though. So it happened that we decided for this outing. Our parents were engaged in work; therefore they were not able to accompany us for this venture. I, being the one familiar with bus routes (or so had I thought) took charge and the responsibility of guiding my girls in the right direction. My parents however put their trust on me.
We reached the famous Esplanade of Kolkata and our shopping went on in full swing. We were just not getting enough of ourselves being indulged in these exciting transactions. However, after buying almost a mammoth share of the market it dawned on us that we might be getting late as we had a one and a half hour journey to return back home. We made our way by the Press club and waited for our bus to arrive. Now, there are many buses that would take us to the place where I live but they go by different routes. We usually take those buses that travel through simple and direct routes and avoid those that go roundabout. Then, I was only aware of the bus numbers that a person wanting to go to my destination would board. I knew nothing of the variation in routes. Moreover I didn’t care to notice the places it went through.
One such bus arrived. I led my sisters to it and boarded it. We were very happy as we didn’t have to wait longer for the bus. As the point from where our bus would have taken the direct way to our destination arrived we were oblivious and calmly sitting on our seats. Instead of taking the bridge toward Khidderpore market the bus took the flyover off Hastings towards Fancy market which was the way to the Khidderpore docks. My sisters were unaware of the routes as it was I who was opportune enough to know the routes.
A sense of nervousness struck me as the bus approached and left Fancy. I kept quiet, trying to get a grip of the way we were heading to. Suddenly I could see vast areas of clear sky and I knew we were heading towards the docks. The bus was almost empty and it was then that my sisters too started to panic. I was in a dilemma as to how I would strike a ground and how would I calm my sisters down. I gathered up my guts and asked the bus conductor if this would take us to our destination and how. To my horror he said it would but it would take an hour or half more. It wasn’t much but at that time staying out till late was a big thing as my parents had started to allow us by ourselves. They would be furious to know about this and I could lose their trust. But the bus conductor was truly god sent and he advised us to get down and take a bus back to Khidderpore via Fancy. We had indeed come along way. We got down near the docks and the place was really eerie back then with huge brick walls on sides. The place was not safe for women either as the infamous alleys of Kolkata was out there. The three of us stayed close and waited for a bus to take us backwards. After a wait of 5-10 minutes we boarded a bus that took us safely to our destination.
Looking back at this incident makes me think of the number of stupid mistakes that I made in my initial days. It gives me matter to engage into amusement with my sisters when we have Adda sessions. But it has definitely taught me to observe everything when I am out of my house especially the names of the places written on the header and body of the bus. I also take the liberty to ask the bus conductor the nitty-gritty of the routes of the bus before boarding it. However, this was one funny mistake that I won’t regret.