Yaar … yeh Tum Tum Kab Ayegi?

Meeting with guide at 9.30 am! My God, need to wake up early in the morning and have to prepare. Thanks to alarm clocks, managed to wake up in time.

After taking a quick bath and breakfast, thought of going to lab by Tum Tum. It was 8.20 am, very early for IITans. Seeing a Tum Tum standing near the canteen gate/cone, started running towards it like a child running for toffee and was thanking God for sending the Tum Tum in time. But, alas! no one was there near the Tum Tum. Could not locate the driver anywhere nearby. On inquiry, came to know that driver had gone for breakfast. How much time will he take? 20 minutes, no… 15 minutes.. was trying to puzzle it out in the midst of a tension for the meeting at hand. After checking the time on the ancient wrist watch, decided to wait for the driver to come. 20 minutes passed… 25 minutes passed…, driver was nowhere to be seen near the Tum Tum. Thought of going to mess and ask the driver to come back.

In the mean time 10 more students had gathered for the Tum Tum. Some one shouted, “hey… Tum Tum has come, Tum Tum has come“…, Wo nahin ta ye sahi… will take this other Tum Tum and go. All of us rushed to the Tum Tum gate anxiously. But that did not materialize again. Driver got down from this Tum Tum and said, “aata hun.. Breakfast khake“… “kitna minute lagega“? – some one asked, “10 minutes” was his response. Adding salt to our wound, he also did not come back in 15 minutes. But I was hopeful and added a little stubbornness to it… will get the Tum Tum before the meeting! Within a few moments, the third Tum Tum came. The driver parked the Tum Tum outside the cycle stand instead of driving it to its usual parking slot. “Kya hua????? What’s this? Are you also going for breakfast?” “Yes… will be back in 10 minutes“. He smiled happily and entered the mess area…all of us stood waiting helplessly (roughly 30 odd students and some summer interns).

It was 9.10 am, started getting restless and tensed. Thought of taking the cycle out, walked to the cycle stand with frustration, “shit! yaar! ismein bhi hawa nahin hai!“, came back to ground zero. Not a single auto-rickshaw in the vicinity, the drivers of Tum Tums were happily enjoying their toothpicks, I started walking towards the department. “Behold!” Someone horned from behind…”driver aagaya! driver aagaya!” breathlessly all of them jumped, pushed and rushed into the Tum Tum. By the time reached the Tum Tum it was almost full. Somehow I squeezed myself into it only to be badly hit on the head by the iron racks (side iron racks). “Ah! ah!“, before starting to express the pain in words or with tears… the phone rang!!! Painfully picked up the phone to answer the usual question: “Hey! Where are you?”, “Reaching lab in five minutes sir!

It was 9.27 am when reached lab, exactly three minutes before the meeting! The duration of my Tum Tum journey was just 1 hour 10 minutes for a mere 1.6 kms 😉 .

That’s the story of an aamjunta traveling to department on an aamday in an aam Tum Tum. The story and the history repeats almost every other day for some of us. Sometimes if your luck shines you get the Tum Tum in time or if you are in desperate need, you might see the Tum Tum coming from the opposite direction!

But there is a human angle to the tragi-comic story of coming-going in Tum Tums. People are used/addicted to it. A funny incident occured recently while coming from the department to the hostel. We were just crossing H-5 Cross when someone inside our Tum Tum shouted and surprised the driver to a screeching halt — “ruko! ruko! woh aa raha hai!” Everyone turned their heads in surprise to see “woh kaun hai?”…from almost half a kilometer distance a stout young boy with his satchel was running at a speed of 100 mts race towards the Tum Tum. Everyone broke into a laughter inside the Tum Tum including the driver. Some one compassionately said: “arre yaar! bichara ish Tum Tum keliye jee-tod daud laga raha hai…aaur thoda laga leta toh tum-tum se pehle khud daud ke hostel pahaunch jaata!” The guy entered the bus and joined in the laughter…everyone enjoyed this moment of fellow-feeling.

Sometimes on time, sometimes late, sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating; that’s the life in general for an aamjunta waiting for Tum Tums — after breakfast, before lunch and at any other time at any other stop.

The question for aamjunta still remains…“Arre Yaar … yeh Tum Tum Kab Ayegi?”

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