KOCHI: She has been hailed on social media for her bravery and determination in facing a KSRTC bus driver who crossed the vehicle into the wrong lane of the road near the entrance of the KSRTC bus depot at Perumbavoor here.
However, it was neither determination nor bravery that made Surya Maneesh – the ‘little woman on the red scooter’ seen in the now-viral video shot by a passer-by – stop her two-wheeler in front of the KSRTC bus while the driver moved the vehicle into the correct lane.
When you are RIGHT it gives you a very different kind of MIGHT. See Joe a lady rider down South doesn't budge an inch to give in to an erring Bus Driver. Kudos to her. @TheBikerni @IndiaWima @UrvashiPatole @utterflea @anandmahindra @mishramugdha #GirlPower #BikerLife #BikerGirl pic.twitter.com/3RkkUr4XdG— TheGhostRider31 (@TheGhostRider31) September 25, 2019
It was fear.
“The video on social media shows just the end of the entire incident. I was not challenging the bus driver. Actually, I froze,” said Surya. Recounting the incident, Surya said, “A school bus was parked on the narrow road and I couldn’t find enough room to go around it. So, I stopped behind it. However, since children were alighting from the bus and a lot of vehicles were parked along the roadside, I found myself in the middle of the road,” she said.
“After some time, the school bus left and I moved forward. That was when the KSRTC bus swerved into my lane after overtaking a private bus. The speed at which it was approaching me made me freeze,” she said. What she remembers is the change in the KSRTC bus driver’s expressions – first surprise, then horror and finally, amusement.
While social media users have panned the bus driver for violating the lane rule, Surya said it was his presence of mind that saved her. “The driver’s presence of mind saved me. He nonchalantly swerved to the right and went his way. Once the fear subsided, I could hear the bus passengers cheering for the driver,” she said. “I have been commuting through the road for the past seven years. This is the first time I faced such a situation,” said Surya.
Surya’s version of the incident nearly matches that of the driver. “The incident took place on Wednesday just before I entered the Perumbavoor KSRTC bus depot,” said the driver, who did not want to be named. “Children were alighting from a school bus. So, I took the empty right lane. That was when I saw the woman stop her scooter at some distance. She kept looking at me. I also saw her friends shooting the incident,” said the driver.
He said Surya was not as close to the bus as it appears in the video. “I think her friends may have done it for the fame,” said the driver, adding, “Nothing happened though. When I saw she was not moving. I turned to the left lane and entered the depot.”
Surya said the narrow road and the pay-and-park facility functioning near the KSRTC bus stand, along with the autorickshaw stand there, are adding to the traffic woes of commuters. “Such situations can be avoided only if the road is widened and authorities ensure everyone follows traffic rules,” she said.