Reporting from Bus 314, Stockport to Offerton.
I walk onto the bus and flash my bus pass to the bus driver. He nods his head in agreement. I stride two steps along the corridor, searching for a seat to sit. There, to my right I see an empty pair of seats. I shove in one of the seats, and my body finds comfort on leaning against one of the windows. Slowly I open the zip of my handbag and pulls out a novel. I give a pat on the cover of the book. I lean forwards, and my other hand brings the book closer to my nose. It smells good like a fresh apple. “Um,” I said, and nod my head. Like I am holding a new baby, I open the book with care, and leaf through the pages until it takes me to the last page I have read earlier.
I quickly turn around and I see scores of people, and they tend to bewitched on something, and at this point I failed to understand what could it be? I follow their eyes and there my eyes settles on the man, who is sitting in the front, on the very seats that are predominantly reserved for the elderly people, and the mothers carrying their babies in perambulators.
The man has a pink bald head, with a few hairs that are two inches long, which remains uncut just below the center of his head. His hairstyle reminds me of a desert, that after walking a thousand of miles, then, you see a green plant in the middle of a dry land. On his face I notice a dry- wet green chalk mark that starts from his forehead and creating a distinguishable V mark on his nose. His terracotta trousers show unique folds of shapes like that of baby napkins, when mothers wrap around their babies. His top is a short sleeved and with a round neck, it also reveals how physically packed is the man, as it tightly shapes up his body, revealing a lot of muscles. A string of two-folds tiny wooden beads formed his necklace. I notice a pair of brown sandals on his feet.
The man in terracotta attire is having an endless conversation as he murmur some words. No one hears the words that he mutters, but this form of conversation is drawing a lot of attention. As people want to know who is he? What he does? Where he comes from? A chance to explain himself and elaborate more on what he is doing? Every eye on the bus is like big brother cameras, observing, and recording every minute detail, and concludes with a real true life story. The man is immensely in worship. When I look at him again, I noticed that his terracotta attire complements with his pink tanned face.
I hear little frickles of laughter behind my back, and I turn around to find the source, there I look into the eyes of two young ladies in their late teens, and their countenance reveals that they are also intrigued by the terracotta man’s behaviour. The two girls mumble in each other’s ear. I smile and switches back to the center of attraction. All along the bus has been steadily moving and only the bus driver misses the exciting film about the terracotta man.
Whilst in the middle of these observations, the terracotta man stands up, and it feels he senses something. He picks up his bag and moves away, his feet find the passageway and heads straight at the back of the bus. But he finds an empty seat in the middle, and decides to sit there. It’s a disappointment for me. I have just begun scribbling a few notes about him when he manoeuvres away. In the middle it feels like a big task for me to turn around and observe him and without attracting his attention. I decide to read my book.
Then, suddenly, I hear voices in the back, I swiftly turn my head and sees the terracotta man is a having a normal conversation with another woman sitting directly opposite to his seat. The woman holds a leaflet in her hand, which the terracotta man has just given to her. It also attracts the attention of other passengers, there is a demand of his leaflets, and I take my chances to ask one for myself. Politely he bows down, and he hands over to me one of his leaflets. I quickly sieve through the message written in the leaflet, and quietly I grasp one important word, and the word is Hare Krishna. It reminds me of a shop named Hare Krishna, in Marondera town, in Zimbabwe.
Every time I have entered the shop, I have heard the Hare Krishna song being played; it became known as a perpetual song that every customer would get to know about it. Never had I have the zeal to ask the workers nor the employer why the song has been continuously played day in and day out. What’s the message behind it? The Hare Krishna song was sung in a foreign language unfamiliar to my mother language, Shona.
But today I am anxious to know about Hare Krishna, and the message still lies in my hand. I look back at the terracotta man, and I see him foraging in his terracotta bag, and releases out more of the leaflets. He smiles and bows down as he distributes the leaflets to every passenger sitting on the bus. I thought of it, and I say, well his strategy has worked in his favour. Just look unfamiliar, do things that are unique, mostly and importantly be yourself.
Now the message about Hare Krishna flows in every hand, and ready to spread, and I am spreading in my own way, writing and describing the events that I have just captured on the bus on my way home. The leaflet in my hand, I look at the title that reads: The truth shall set you free. Actions and Reaction/Karma is the subtitle. I quote the first paragraph of the leaflet that reads. “In this world of birth and death we are all warriors caught up in the struggle of life, where every single action produces a reaction that binds us to Us to the cycle of Re-birth. Like depositing money in the bank so that we can spend it later. GOOD DEEDs help us to enjoy in the life or the next if we perform enough good Karma or actions in one lifetime or the next birth on…) Bad action of karma will result in hell. On the back of the leaflet is a bold face of a picture of a human, in white and in black. Half of the face and the eye is simply clear while the other half is covered in fur. Beneath the picture there is a message boldly written. “At the time of death, the consciousness created by the living being carries it to its next body. If the living being has made its consciousness like an animal’s it is sure to get the animal’s body.” The source of the information quoted.
I go to church and I don’t believe in the last statement that after death our spirits will enter the consciousness-desired body and then get an animal’s body. I believe that the spirit will have a rest. I believe that there is judgment day and for every one of us shall face it, and God questions accordingly on how you performed while on earth. Every creation believes that there is God, but how to get God has been a journey of circles as people have perceived their own way, which they think is it’s ultimately right, if a stranger tried to divert from their beliefs, may face resistance, isolation and persecution. If they believed, some will be sceptical, but if you dissect that message thoroughly well, you will have an overwhelming support. It will spread from one region to another like Christian gospels and other religions.
I look at the terracotta man, as he stands up, his feet finding a way out. “Thank you sir,” I interpose, “ would you consider yourself to become a Christian?” He smiles, and shakes his head, in disagreement. He exits from the bus. “It was quite an exhibition,” I heard a voice from the crowd, followed by a thunderous laughter. I noticed the address of his building of worship that it is within the close parameters of our local church, in Whaley Range. On the leaflet, there is an invitation note to join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Manchester, on every Friday and Sunday for an Evening of Music, Chanting, Dancing, and Free Freshly cooked Vegetarian foods. Discover the secrets of happiness through yoga and extra. The only conclusion, I come up with was that, I once heard someone preaching and said, If you don’t worship God, there is something you worship, it could be idols, or anything that takes most of your time. To us God gave us a spirit of worship.
In conclusion, it has been worth going out, and the natural observation has enabled me to write a beautiful story of the terracotta man, and able to bringing in different genre of interesting issues that incorporate with our daily lives. Next time if you see a terracotta man, say hi on my behalf, and he may be holding something new which can excite you and able to share with others as I have just done. In my Shona language there is a common proverb that says: Chitsva chiri murutsoka ( something new is on the way).