Madam Rides the Bus
T The story ‘Madam Rides the Bus’ written by Vallikkannan in Tamil is translated into English by K. S. Sundaram. The caricatures used in story are created by the most illustrated cartoonist of India, R. K. Laxman
· It is an anecdote from the life of Valliammai, an eight years old girl who was fond of standing in the doorway of her house and observing curiously what all was happening in the street outside.
· Valli wisely planned, enquired, managed carefully and executed her plans. She took a bus ride alone to the nearby town and then back to her village.
· Valli is curious, inquisitive, wise and courageous girl who knows how to fulfil her desire safely and wisely. She possesses a sense of maturity and self respect. She is mature enough to take care of herself.
· The chapter conveys that this world is full of surprises, secrets and uncertainty. Each day we learn something new and many times we fail to understand the reason behind the things happening in this world.
Summary / Synopsis :
The protagonist of the chapter is an eight years old girl named Valliammai. She was a very wise, inquisitive and self respecting girl. She loved to explore things. She used to stand in the door way of her house and observe what was happening outside. She had no playmates as watching outside gave her more joy.
The most fascinating thing for Valli was to see a bus travelling between her village and the nearest town. She soon developed a desire to ride on that bus.
Valli listened to the talks of her neighbours and the people travelling in the bus. By this she learnt small details about bus journey that the town was six miles away, the fare was thirty paise one way and the time of the ride was forty five minutes one way. She planned that she would use the afternoon hours, for bus ride, when her mother takes her daily nap.
One day when she was able to save sixty paise after killing her desires to buy things, Valli took the bus. The conductor was jolly by nature and fond of joking. He got an insight about Valli when she refused to take his hand for help and spoke with pride. He offered Valli a front seat and told other passengers to make way calling her ‘madam’. There were few passengers in the bus due to slack hours.
Valli observed everything minutely about the bus, its seat, clock, overhead bars and paint. She had to stand up on the seat to see outside because of the window curtains and she was short in height. As the bus moved, she could see palm trees, mountains and the blue sky as well as green fields on the other side.
Suddenly, an elderly person asked Valli to sit addressing her ‘child’. She replied proudly that she was not a ‘child’ as she had paid fare just as others had done. The conductor in light humour asked Valli to sit comfortably as she had paid for the ticket.
At the next stand an elderly woman got into bus and sat beside Valli. She was wearing ugly earrings and chewing betel leaves, and betel juice was coming out of her mouth. The woman told Valli that she should not travel alone. Valli replied that she should not bother about her.
Suddenly, a cow with raised tail came in front of the bus. The driver sounded the horn again and again. But the cow continued jumping in front of the bus. Valli clapped and laughed.
Then, by the side of a railway crossing and Valli saw the speck of a train growing bigger and bigger as bus moved near. At last the bus reached the town. The conductor asked Valli to get down. But she told that she would go back on the same bus and gave him the money for the back journey. The conductor suggested that she should come down and have a cold drink. Valli declined saying that she did not have money. The conductor offered her the drink for free but Valli refused preserving her pride.
The bus started its journey back to her village. There were the same wonderful sights still Valli enjoyed them with same excitement. Suddenly she saw the young cow lying dead by the roadside. It had been struck by some fast moving vehicle. It was the same cow that they had seen while going to town. That’s what the conductor told after enquiring. Valli was too sad. The cow had looked earlier lovable and beautiful but now, it looked horrible, stained with blood. She no longer wanted to look outside. The bus reached the village and Valli got down. The conductor asked Valli to join them whenever she felt like having a bus ride. But, she must bring fare with her.
Valli reached home. She found her aunt talking with her mother. She was a real chatterbox. Valli heard her mother saying that so many things happen in this world without our knowledge. Even if one has knowledge about things happening, he/she can’t understand them. Valli replied in affirmative.
Valli’s aunt felt strange at her reaction and told that she took interest in things that didn’t concern her. Valli smiled to herself. She didn’t want them to understand her smile and know about her bus ride during which she came to know many new things.
Glimpses of India
Important Question Answers :
Q1. How did Valli plan for bus journey?
Ans. Valli was a meticulous planner and a strong willed girl. She collected information by overhearing her neighbours and the people who used to travel frequently. She collected the details such as the town was six miles away, the fare was thirty paise one way and the time of the ride was forty five minutes one way. She fixed safe time for journey in the afternoon hours when her mother takes daily nap. She saved her pocket money, resisting her temptations, not buying things of her interests, not going on merry go round and collected 60 paise for her return journey.
Q2. What things can you learn from Valli?
Ans. We can learn lot many things from Valli. We need to be inquisitive, wise, courageous, self respecting like Valii who knows how to fulfil her desires wisely and safely. Apart from that she was mature enough to plan her ride wisely, take care of herself and keep her pride intact. The spirit of learning in Valli is really commendable.
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