Monday, November 3, 2014
Yesterday as I took the bus from Mout Abu to Ahmedabad, little did I expect that it would be the most horrific experience in my life. It was a connecting bus, a mini seater that was to help us board the larger sleeper bus on the plains.
The bus was replete with people of every state in the country and of all kinds: including the religious monks—Jain priests and Brahma Kumaris, young couples on their honeymoon trips, large families with three generations together, and a couple of “modern farmers” who must have chosen a weekend siesta, and of-course the nincompoops like me, who had chosen to have a weekend siesta…
I was wedged into my “reserved seat” in the min-bus with far too many other people. The rows were so close together that my knee was essentially up the ass of the person in front. In a mini-bus that would normally fit 22/23, well over 40 people were stuffed-in. This included a gaggle of 10 nuns (Brahma Kumaris) resplendent in their white robes.
Being seated in the aisle on the second row, I was whipped in the face by the long (often stinking) braids of every woman who went pass me (perhaps payback for the knee up the backside of the person before me?).
While the temperature outside was in its more pleasant 20s, the temperature inside the bus must have hovered around -10C. Despite the fact that everyone on the bus was wrapped in every item of clothing they had, the driver had, I presume pledged not to touch the air-conditioning control switch. When I enquired, “you’ve have paid for air-conditioner as well, and the passengers will pick-up fights” said the attendant. And the rest of the passengers chose to remain mute
The scheduled time of departure was 09:00 pm, but the driver was casually walked-in around 09:15-ish. The passengers who were anxious of missing their connections down at Mount Abu and in turn the trains and flights from Ahmedabad the next morning, showered their “blessings” in all languages known to them. Sad that I could recognize only English, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil (yes, I had company from TN as well).
The agitated driver started the bus, and promised to “make-up” for the delay by pressing the accelerator pedal… You could imagine the scene, the bus started with loud blaring music and what followed was just the swiiiiiiiiissssssssssh and swiirrrrrllls. The angry driver continued at an alarming speed.
The nuns and most women seated in the bus screamed in unison, most of the ways down the steep slopes and at every hair-pin bend. We were thrown to the side of the bus at every bend, despite the fact that logically it should have been too full for us to be thrown anywhere but outside. It was just for all the closed windows of the AC bus to open up, one by one and By 09:30 pm every window was opened and the entire pile back in the minibus decided to give me one of the most nauseating experience of my life, to date… It’s “Puking Time” the masked Jim Carrey would have yelled! Vomits, Throwing-Up, Tossed Parotas, Barf, Upchuck, Spew, Regurgitation of the Chilled Beer,… You can get the idea ?
The ride was just an hour-long, but what it lacked in distance, the bus made up for in discomfort, and sound effects. The air was choked with all kinds of smell, and almost every passenger on the minibus vomited extensively, the window seats became most pricey by the minute. Believe me there were windows where you could see two heads peeping out to puke Every minute of the excruciatingly long trip went by slower than the next, and by the time the bus spat me out on the side of the road in Abu Road for me to catch the sleeper bus, I was caked in dust, sweat and the remnants of other people’s vomit…
For its stomach-lurching, scream-inducing, barrelling-down-a-mountain insanity, this short ride earns my top spot for the worst bus ride in my life to date.
Friends who presumed I had a jolly weekend siesta, would not be knowing how my outing ended!
Moral of the story: Never antogonize any driver, more so if he is going to drive you up or down a mountain road with multiple twists and turns!