Journey by Bus: A Race to the City
Background for the Poem
I was travelling in a bus last Sunday, returning from my ministry in a far-off village, more than a 120 kms from the big City where I live. Recently, the Lord had put into my heart to share the word of God with simple and humble villagers far from the City. ‘Launch out into the deep’ was how the Lord spoke to Peter. If we want to bear fruit for God’s glory, we must go far and wide into the interior villages in the countryside.
We travelled by bus, my translator and I, starting at 7 am; we reached the village T. by 11am. It was a luxury coach, with push-back seats and a video. But the journey was not pleasant, because the film shown on the video was a silly comedy and the audio system was bad. After accomplishing the ministry (Sunday worship, and a Youth meeting), we took a local bus to N., the transit bus station where we had to catch another bus to the City. There was a huge crowd at the transit station (returning to the City after spending the weekend in the country), and it looked like it would take at least an hour and a half before we would get a bus. But God thought otherwise. A long distance Express bus from G. pulled into the bus station; it was going to the City, and there were just 3 seats in that bus. We were able to squeeze in.
We had lost at least 30-40 minutes waiting for the bus at the transit station. We wanted to get back to the City by 9:30 p.m. at least! We were running behind schedule. It was wonderful how God takes control. The speed at which the driver drove the G. bus was astonishing. He overtook so many cars and buses and lorries on the highway. He literally ‘clipped it’, driving at a torrid pace that had me wondering whether we were in some kind of ‘bus rally’! There was a narrow stretch of the highway, of at least 60 kms, (where the highway was being widened), but the driver whizzed through it effortlessly.
I was sitting right in front, and it was dark, and the bus was rattling and vibrating, its engine vrooming, its air-horn screaming, as it overtook other vehicles on the road. I thought the time would be best spent by composing a poem on the bus ride. I got three-fourths of the poem done, by the time I reached the City. (Incidentally, the driver did make it to the City, by 10 minutes to 9. We were delighted.)
Here's the poem I composed:
The Kodad bus is not for us,
It suits a hippopotamus.
The Nalgonda bus is slow and meant
For an ox or elephant.
I see the cars go whizzing by,
Tata, Honda and Hyundai.
I too would have gone by car,
But the road was bad, and far
Too much of a risk to take,
With punctured tyre or with brake
Failing at a crucial hour –
Why should my private trip turn sour?
So shrewd and prudent I would be
And take the public R.T.C.
This Guntur bus, it roars along
The driver crazily blows his horn;
It’s an Express bus with a shake and rattle
Suitable, perhaps, for driving cattle,
But oh, the way it races ahead!
The driver is ‘driven’ (perhaps he is ‘led’?)
By a single thought: “I must reach in time
Hy-der-a-bad by a quarter to nine!”
And so he rushes past cars and buses
And ramshackle lorries crawling slow
On a two-lane highway being widened to four.
My body is shaken as vehicles are overtaken
By this speeding bus with its engine-roar,
And air-horn scream, and shake & rattle;
This Guntur bus is like a tank in battle –
Rushing and crushing, lapping the miles,
We arrive in Hyderabad full of smiles.
The time, I see, is 10 to 9;
My body is sore, my spirit is fine!
1. Kodad, Nalgonda, Guntur are places, where the buses start from. The destination is the big city of Hyderabad.
2. Tata, Honda and Hyundai - are the brands of cars seen on the highway.
3. R.T.C. is the public road transport corporation. Like DART in Delaware.
4. Ordinary bus: Buses are graded according to Luxury and Express. Luxury is 20-25% costlier.
5. 'Driven' is a pun; 'led' (God's leading)
6. Quarter to nine, 10 to 9 - that's p.m., folks. We are returning after our Sunday ministry in the village.
7. Hope you enjoyed the poem!)
© Pratonix/Roland N. Oliver