Saturday, September 13, 2008

Solitude Voyage - 1

(this is the first article in a series on my experiences as a traveler)
This week, for some business purpose I had to visit Bangalore. I decided to take the road rather than air or the locomotive. The two prime reasons for choosing the concrete option of transport were reasonable price and immediate and hassle free booking procedures. Prior to the booking of my tickets I had the privilege of listening to some high quality hard rock at home. The inspiration for this hard rock struck my rock star parents when I enlightened them about my business purpose at Bangalore. It marked my foray into national anti institutional rebellion committee. To put it into simpler words I was going to visit the garden city to engage myself into a verbal tussle with a Global Service Sector Giant as they had tested my tolerance towards uncoordinated communication. On the morning of 8th I awaited my bus on the western side of the town outside a popular restaurant serving South Indian cuisines. The departure time on the boarding pass was 8.00am. I had programmed my mind to enjoy the activities on the road along with a friend of mine who had come to see me off and my father. Probably that was an impossible proposition with 2 entities, one 5 years younger to me and one 45 years elder. The enjoyment index is inversely proportional to the number of years of acquaintance when it comes to spending time with 2 individuals belonging to diverse age-factions
And that too one different from your own. I was shocked to see the bus arriving 5 minutes before the stipulated time. I bid goodbye to my friend and father. The cabin and the seat were stunning and comfortable. For 650 Indian rupees it was a good bargain. On my executive seat I traveled the roads on the city which I hadn’t traveled before, seated at a peculiar position as the bus collected its entourage & passengers. It felt like being an ascetic ,observing the city from an elevated point of view. Only the double-decker BEST busses provide you with a city view from positions higher than these. Finally when all my co-passengers were seated and all the cargo loaded our bus started accelerating out of the city limits. Had the geographical parameters been different I would have satisfied my literary urge through words like “Fresh air gushed past me telling me the city limits were over or the skylines were replaced by green fields and mountain peaks as the city bid me good bye.” However when you leave Mumbai on a journey southwards, not until u have surpassed a good 75 kms does the topography allow you to use your creative cranial cells.
I neatly arranged my water bottle in the bottle case provided on the seat in front of mine and placed a novel which my friend had given to keep me busy while traveling in the net provided to place books. Then I played with the window panes for a good 15 minutes till I felt just the right amount of air flowing past me providing me with the optimum traveling conditions. When I was done I looked around to realize that my ‘optimum comfort’ was also decided by my co-passengers’ point of view on the right amount of air and I was engaging in a futile activity to keep myself busy. A thought struck me, we engage in many such futile activities in life too which give us a false sense of control of our lives, only when we look at life from a different point of view do we realize that its not just our activities which affect our lives. Similarly there are circumstances where we are responsible for affecting not just ours but other people’s lives too. I started playing with my recliner till my spinal cord’s positioning motivated my brain to stop me from further experimenting. The person seating behind me must have breathed a sigh of relief as he had to adjust his legs every time my recliner moved. The law of Karma states your good and bad deeds come back to you. I never knew they came back so fast. Now it was my turn for adjustment as the passenger seated in front of me was inspired to perform the acrobatics which I was busy indulging in some moments ago with my recliner. The bus crew consisted of 3 individuals, 2 drivers and a cleaner. The cleaner now happily took upon himself his duty as the entertainer. After playing a cd of songs for a while he treated the passengers with a newly released Hindi feature film. The reception as well as the sound quality was good for a system which was subjected to not less than 100 wallops per day. Time passed on and by 3 in the afternoon the new born civilization on wheels took a halt at a place 50 kms from the southern most end of pune. The first place people invaded was the restroom prior to shifting their focus on the restaurant. The journey being a long one I preferred buying some cashew nuts and a packet of egg less cakes. My agenda was to nourish my body in a petite volume of food. This strategy was devised with a foresight of liberating my entrails only after I reached the destination. The journey continued, time and the beautiful country-side passing by me with every passing moment. The route was picturesque. The divine landscape displayed some dull shades done artistically prior to broader strokes of black. A couple of lights near settlements and fuel pumps and illumination from automobiles enlightened the nocturnal setup. Sprinkling of showers in between lowered the temperature which already was within the definition of cold as per Mumbai standards. I shifted my attention to the movie. It was a comedy, with ‘one time watch’ value. I had seen it earlier and under different circumstances would have switched channels, but here I had no other option but to enjoy it once again. These movie critics should be made to view movies during such journeys. I bet every movie will have atleast two stars above its desired rating. At around 9.30 pm the bus halted with a screeching sound followed by a sudden thud. It jigged a bit as if passing over a gigantic speed breaker before coming to a halt. A co passenger who was sitting behind the drivers seat and enjoyed the view of the wind shield through the glass partition separating the driver’s cabin from the passengers’ passed the news. A buffalo probably fed up with its life had jumped in front of our bus from the divider of the road where it stood grazing. After assessing the damage to the bus, which was considerable and towing the corpse, which surprisingly was not in a bad shape, from below the bus and witnessing a déjà vu experience where a smaller car totally broke down and the buffalo just got up and moved on, the bus continued its journey towards the garden city. We halted at Belgaum for dinner where I befriended a co passenger from Mumbai who also paid for my dinner. The hottest topic of discussion with every group was how the passengers were lucky to be alive. After the dinner I enjoyed a cigarette and prepared myself for a good night sleep. However the co passenger whom I had befriended had slept all along the journey and was in a mood to talk and gave me lectures which would have been a case study on a common man’s version of socialism and communism. The conversation was superfluously complimented with curses and abuses. After trying 101 tricks of ending the conversation without being curt and an hour later, one of the tricks finally worked. I yawned aloud looking at him. He probably must have got the message. He wished me good night. I slept. When I opened my eyes in the morning we were some 150 kms from the garden city………

1 comment:

arc said...

gud one...tho wonder y use big words ???????? conveys the thot !