THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The scene is the Kariavattom campus of the Kerala University. By seven in the morning, Pushparajan and Sarojam arrive on campus. Soon, they change into their Khakhi uniforms and ring the bell of the University buses for the first trip. For the past three years, the couple has been doing the same job under the transport wing of the Kerala University.
This ‘conductor-couple’, in the transport wing of the University has been ringing the double-bell for the journey of students, teachers and officials of the institutional bus. Before beginning her job, Sarojam can be seen getting onto the bus and cleaning the windshield, and then proceeds to check the tyres and cool the radiator. Husband and wife beginning their journey together from home, then meet only after their morning duty time gets over by 10.30 am. Then, back to job in the evening.
In 1993, both joined the University as class-four employees. While serving in various departments, in 2006, Pushparajan got into the transport wing. Two years later, when the wife expressed her wish to apply for the post of a bus conductor, Pushparajan simply gave his nod. From then on, both have been dutifully working with the transport wing.
Being a woman, she never failed in facing challenges. “There were times when I worked till 11 at night for special services. Once we feel part of our job, they would no longer remain a challenge,” Sarojam says. Apart from doing the works assigned, the couple also becomes the source of information for the commuters whenever the bus delays.
Their camaraderie has astonished some of their colleagues also. Until last year, they had been availing paying guest facility at their home at Kariavattom for 17 girls who were studying in the University. Some of their co-workers used to play pranks to irritate them during this period. “They used to tell me that they spotted my husband with a girl riding pillion in his two-wheeler late at night. I continue smiling at them and gradually they would stop.”
Yet, she will not deny that such a thing never happened citing reasons. “While offering residential facility for so many girls, our responsibilities were huge. Sometimes there have been circumstances where we had to go and pick them at night when the girls had to go outside for some urgent matters,” she says. The same colleagues according to Pushparajan, has tried to play spoilsport to him also. “They have told me that, some boy sat near Sarojam on the seat in the bus. And I knew what they were trying to do.”
Their journey together in life began when Pushparajan J was 25 and Sarojam was 21. The only demand he placed before the bride-to-be was to take care of his demented mother. “Several proposals have failed once I demanded the girls to take care of my mother. But Sarojam’s attitude was astonishing. She kept her word until my mother bade adieu to the world,” Pushparajan says. Now completing more than quarter-of-a-century of married life, the grandparents of two-year-old Alfi are satisfied with the life god has gifted them.