My school bus driver was a totally crazy person who thought that he was straight out of F-1 race or some video game and crowded streets of Delhi, were just another circuit or level.
Once he rammed his bus into a truck full off cooking gas cylinders. But somehow, we missed becoming the headlines of morning newspapers. I never told my mother about this as she would have gone berserk on school authorities and I did not want this guy fired. Barring the truck incident, his driving was so much fun. Fast turns and kids tumbling over each other. In those 30 minutes bus drive, things used to get so mixed up that I ended up bringing home somebody else’s school bag, not once, but many times. My mother actually thought that I was either color blind, as I could not recognize my school bag or I was retarded. So she used to make sure that I could read those colorful alphabets from a pre-school book and ask questions like, “What Is this?”
“What? It’s a chicken!!”
“I thought you were asking about the next page”
“Are you retarded”
“What is retarded?”
Anyways, so this driver uncle had a habit of making sound like racecars while driving. We initially thought that he used to do it deliberately but turned out that it was just a faulty larynx that had got entangled in loop over his sound box. Crazy, isn’t it? But racecar sound added to the fun and after some time the whole bus used to make that sound in unison.
Sometimes, if somebody overtook us wrongfully, he would go into hyper speed mode, and while in that mode he would start spitting little drops of saliva on to the windshield. That added to the speed effect and we always thought that if all poke our hands out of window right now, we might even fly. During his hyper speed modes, I used to see out of window half expecting to see sparks flying out of tires.
Once I reached the comic-reading-age, I could think of no better name than ‘Flash’ for him. One of those days, a truck driver, unknowing of Flash’s power, broke our sideview mirror while trying to overtake us. Flash chased him for like 10 miles, off the usual route, caught him, took money from him and then let him go. As soon as he boarded the bus again, we had all clapped! Clapped harder then what we used to do for principal or our favorite teachers. Flash was a hero! A true hero! He would never let these sideview mirror breaking criminals, run free.
When we reached home that day, my mother was standing on the door and asked even before we entered home, “What happened? Why are you so late?”
“It’s just the bus, there was something struck in the carbonator.”
“Are you retarded? It is Carburetor!”
Oh! Also one day, he actually broke the railway stop sign! Fortunately there was no train, otherwise he would have ran over a whole train or maybe jumped over it! He was Flash! My superhero!