Tuesday, November 17, 2015

'The Bus' by Arun Kolatkar: Summary and Analysis

'The Bus' by Arun Kolatkar is the opening poem of the thirty-one section of his collection of poems 'Jejuri.' It describes the bumpy journey from the starting point to its destination which is the temple of Khandoba. It is a State Transfort bus the windows of which are screened by the tarpaulin with which the bus has been covred to keep the possible rainfall , and also to keep off the cold wind which keeps blowing throughout the journey. It is a night journey which the bus has undertaken ; and after several hours of the arduous journey the passengers start waiting eagerly for daybreak. 

The bus is full of the pilgrims who are bound for the temple of Khandoba where they want to offer worship; and the passengers might have included a few tourists who merely want to satisfy their curiosity about what kind of a temple it is and in what surroundings the temple stands. One of the passengers sits opposite an old man wearing glasses; and this passenger , while looking at the old man, sees his reflection in both the glasses of the spectacles which the old man is wearing. This passenger can feel the onward movement of the bus. The old man wears on his forehead a mark indicating his Hindu faith and even the high caste to which he belongs. Among the passengers is the protagonist or the persona who speaks in the poem, describing his experiences and his reactions to what he sees at Jejuri. 

In due course, the sun appears on the horizon , and quietly moves upwards in the sky. The sun's rays, filtering through the gaps in the tarpaulin , fall upon the old man's glasses. Then a ray of the sun falls upon the bus-driver's night cheek. The bus seems to have changed its direction. It has been un uncomfortable journey; but, when the destination is reached , the passengers get down from the bus which had held them tightly in its grip.       


The Bus is a purely descriptive  poem which does not give us much of information about the purpose of the journey, apart from telling us that it is going to Jejuri and that it is a night journey , with a cold wind blowing all the way. There are a few humorous touches in this poem as, for instance, the protagonist finding two reflections of himself in the two glasses of the spectacles which the old man sitting opposite him is wearing. We also learn that it is a bumpy ride at the end of which the passengers get off the bus without anybody stepping inside the old man's head;and this is another touch of humour.