AN OLD COUPLE & I - IN SHOCKING SOJOURN It was raining cats and dogs. The double-decker bus halted at the last but one stop before reaching its terminus. The time was half past noon and school children in uniform were returning from school, but visibility was poor due to high humidity. But for me and an elderly couple, all other commuters alighted at the stop and then bus proceeded with conductor pulling the bell-rope twice. In front row, old man sitting with his wife by the window was mentioning about their grand-daughter as to how thoughtful of her to engage my services to escort them from city to their home at suburb. They were not used to hustle and bustle of rail journey which mode takes less travel time compared to the circuitous bus journey. Grand lady responded that probably there was no train service for want of power supply. Yes. True. Cloudburst since last evening disrupted power supply to electric traction across the heart of the city and its suburbs. Bus young driver - recently inducted was supposed to follow the standard route via highway - a small stretch of which was over the railway bridge. An accident on the highway threw the traffic into chaos. Vehicles of various shapes and sizes stood-still, bumper to bumper and joining this long queue of vehicles would delay the double Decker trip-time and its late arrival at the terminus; and that would earn a blot in driver’s dossier. Deliberating thus, the driver Instead of following prescribed route on the highway, took diversion on to a branching road that would lead to terminus via railway level crossing. As he approached the railway level crossing, the electronic wicket gate (barrier) lifted for the traffic to flow from either side. Few yards before the Decker could reach wicket gate -the level crossing- the couple and I managed to alight when it was drizzling. It was at that moment, I saw a well stocky man hurriedly folded his umbrella and in tearing hurry boarded the Decker with one foot in a poodle of water and other foot on the foot rest at the boarding point of the Decker with his right hand about to hold the railing at the entrance. Three different but simultaneous eerie cries rent the air for few seconds. The couple and I stood stunned in the pouring rain as we heard the cry of the passenger in hurry and the cries of the conductor and driver. The Decker was in neutral gear and stopped over the rails of electric traction when the overhead wires of the electric traction was fouling with the roof of the Decker. The cruel hand of fate extinguished the lives of the driver, conductor and the man-in-hurry instantly. Never had I seen a Decker passed or plying across this stretch of wicket gate. This lead to a commotion and soon we learnt that the electrocution of the man-in-hurry and the bus conductor and driver was result of the restoration of 440 volts power supply across the overhead transmission lines. The moment the power supply was restored and the man in hurry with one foot in water and one foot on the footboard of the Decker completed the earthing and electric circuit, the occupants and the man in hurry were thus electrocuted. The couple and I were thanking our stars and bystanders were in awe of our providential escape. A rectangular small notice board hung from the middle of the overhead wicket gate displayed in red “CAUTION Heavy vehicles including goods carrier and buses are not permitted to enter”.