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     Well, one fine spring day the afternoon bus was just on the point of leaving the village and turning into the main highway when a small voice was heard shouting: “Stop the bus! Stop the bus!” And a tiny hand was raised commandingly.
     The bus slowed down to a crawl, and the conductor, sticking his head out the door, said, “Hurry then! Tell whoever it is to come quickly.”
     “It’s me,” shouted Valli. “I’m the one who has to get on.”
     By now the bus had come to a stop, and the conductor said, “Oh, really! You don’t say so!”
     “Yes, I simply have to go to town,” said Valli, still standing outside the bus, “and here’s my money.” She showed him some coins.
     “Okay, okay, but first you must get on the bus,” said the conductor, and he stretched out a hand to help her up.
     “Never mind,” she said, “I can get on by myself. You don’t have to help me.”
Valli plans to execute her goal on a Spring afternoon finally. It is really exciting when we get to realise our dreams after a long planning and thinking. When Valli was about to board, the bus had already started moving. Since it was a small village, people would run behind and call the conductor if they were late. Likewise, the bus, which had by then picked up speed, slows down after hearing someone calling out that there is one more person yet to board. The conductor is irritated as he wonders why people are always late, making the bus slow down as soon as it was started off. He sees Valli run behind and imagines that she is voicing out for some adult who cannot run. He could have also thought that Valli was accompanied by an adult. He, therefore, asks her to make the person who wants to board the bus to come fast. But he is shocked to find that it was Valli who wanted to board the bus alone.
Valli runs to catch the bus
He tells her that it is surprising, but Valli does not back off as she proudly shows the money that she has got. She knows her rights and therefore stands firm. The conductor is still sceptical, but since he had to set off on the journey, he says that she cannot stand outside the bus and keep talking. He stretches his hand out to her to help her climb in. But Valli does not take it and proudly climbs in, partly because she is excited to set foot into her long-term dream and partly because she wants to show that she is confident.
Words with difficult meanings:
Fare The amount paid for availing a service
Paise A monetary unit in India equal to one-hundredth of a rupee
Scarcely Very rarely
Fortune One's luck that favours them
Replanned Plan something again
Highway A pathway connecting different parts of the city
Commandingly Give orders with authority
Crawl To move in one's hands and feet
Sceptical Doubtful about something
Conductor The one who gives tickets on the bus
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. Madam Rides the Bus - Vallikannan (pp. 116-128). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.