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Hurry up!!
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Hurry up!!

Living in an apartment is a blessing when you miss the morning alarm. The honking of school vans keeps you on lime. For instance, a mother calls out “she is coming” and my son says “oh, her van is here and I am not ready yet,” and hurriedly finishes his breakfast. My kids’ pace of getting ready is associated with the arriving of vans in the neighbourhood.
Van drivers who handle umpteen kids at a time deserve praise as I find it bard enough to drive with my two kids onboard. At every stop the van driver gets down to fit the new passenger along with their luggage; in case there is no space the luggage has to be placed either on the roof or just hanged outside. They follow the basic rule ‘speed with accuracy’ so they drive fast and in all directions.
“Mama look! Owais is sleeping in his van. I will tell him I saw him sleeping.” My daughter’s excitement reminded me of my school days. A kindergarten child used to sit next to me in the school coaster and I always woke her up when we reached school. My school van also had a helper. His basic job was to ensure safe travelling and we all helped him in doing that (or so we thought). Whenever the driver indicated a left or right turn, the helper pushed everyone away and stretched his arm out of the respective window. Trying our best to support him in his endeavour for a safe journey, we all followed his actions.
“Mama, hurry up, the gate will close and I don’t want to stand outside.” I had to rush and as we reached the school, a van was parked right in front of the school gate. I had to wait for all nursery students to get inside. One, two, three...four... — seven little ones stepped out of the front seat holding and handling their bags, lunchboxes, bottles etc.
I was amazed how so many cute creatures fit in together, along with their luggage; again all praise to the driver who managed to drive with minors on the front seat.
I believe van drivers are true hard workers. They may sleep very late and start their morning expedition early even without a proper breakfast. After school timings they provide service to colleges or offices or are hired for functions till late night and again start early the next morning. They can be absent but never late: taking a day off is, of course, a basic human right. They charge summer vacation fee for maintenance of vehicles, but the vehicle still breaks down at will. They offer quality service. This service also includes the top 2O chart and huge collection of latest music releases.
My faith in their multitasking became stronger the day I had to pick my friend’s son, who is also my daughter’s classmate. Unfortunately we got to school late and Omer had already boarded his van, and so the chase began. Tired, sleepy, hungry, excited, energised, vocal, the van had children in all moods and all sizes. Some were even trying to test their agility by reaching towards the next vehicle through the windows. Finally, we reached a place where the vans swap kids. It was a big ground where all the kids get down and take their transit independently. Some are quick commuters and others holidaymakers.
At last, Omer came out of the van and we grabbed him. As we were leaving, I heard an unforgiving slap. “What am I going to tell your father,” a van driver fiercely roared at a four-year old kid who was trying to cross the road. The child was frozen and did not even know how to respond. The sight was shocking and depressing for me. The poor child wiped off his wet eyes to hide it from his peers as I hid my wet eyes from the three little musketeers in my car.
That experience was an eye opener for me. I will never be able to express what kind of world exists in vans. I know that the van drivers have a very responsible and difficult job but I would request the parents to occasionally experience the van journey. Parents can take turns and one parent can accompany the kids in the van each day. This will bring supervision and close understanding of the van culture and avoid unnecessary fights and accidents. We must understand these are our own children who are not so safe on roads when alone.

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