Nov 14, 2007
Ahem what a journey it could've been....
My Japanese Princess and I were supposed to go to this small town in Punjab last week as Radhi had lovingly invited us home for Diwali. Sadly on D Day as the countdown to leave had just begun Jap Princess went into one of those pensive and thoughtful moods of hers and came up with statements like “Pia I don’t know why but I get a feeling something is gonna go drastically wrong today.” Darn I am bloody scared of this woman and her intuitions cause as long as her predictions are happy and cheerful it is all hunky dory but when they sound as unfortunate as this then one cannot really help but dread what is in store for them. Besides both of us had not exactly warmed up to the idea of an overnight journey across Punjab in a bus so I was doubly worried and to top it all my darlin’ is the sort who hasn’t even been on a train all her life, let alone a local bus that would carry her right into the heartland of rural Punjab. Anyways I had to act like Miss Know It All who has been living out for the last 7 years and that too in a state like Maharashtra. I also told her how I had been used to travelling by the General Class from Pune to Bombay and not to forget the local trains there. I remember the chaotic train stations especially Dadar and how I would get carried away with the fisher women and the vegetable vendors as they jostled and made their way through to get off at Dadar. That city had some zest for life. I can almost miss it sometimes. There I go again. I am the Queen of Nostalgia. This isn’t about Bombay and I am not a naive 21 year old anymore.
Sorry for digressing and to come back to my story Jap Princess and I had finished packing when Teddy volunteered to drop us to the Bus Stop. We were more than happy to accept the offer as going all the way to the “Purani Dilli” railway station a day before Diwali can be a tiresome experience as we live half the way across the city in South Delhi. We were dreading the traffic as a day before Delhi roads had been choked what with Diwali and Dhanwantary I think the entire city was in a race against time to purchase gold and gifts. Thankfully we got out of GK2 and proceeded to Khelgaon Marg and finally hit Ring road and yeah yeah yeah it was worse than we imagined. It took us an hour and half just to cross a 5km stretch and this journey was interspersed with frantic calls to the Bus guy asking him to make the bus wait. Finally we reached the bus stop only to see the bus leave right in front of our eyes. We ran across all the muck and the mire and screamed, waved our arms wildly and voila’ they actually stopped. After a hurried good bye to Teddy, Jap Princess and I boarded the bus and what a sight greeted us. It was a sleeper bus firstly and I don’t know why but I had nursed the idea that it would be like the luxurious Bombay Pune Volvos. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were strange men sleeping on the top berths casting sly glances at us and moreover two of our seats were occupied by 4 men and they were delighted to make room for us.
Japanese princess was half in tears as she looked at me and said “Pia I can’t travel like this.” I was so relieved that she said it first before I did cos the idea did not appeal to me anymore and the men looked really shady and there was almost something devious about the entire set up with the dim lights and faded blue interiors. The last straw was when this oily haired man sitting on one of the top berths said “Come baby why don’t ya sleep with me up here”. I snarled at him and turned around and told Jap princess “We are getting down” and so we did promptly enough. We called Teddy at the nick of the time and asked him to wait, called up Radhi and apologised profusely for not coming but travelling in that bus would have been like swimming in a sea full of sharks. Teddy was so cute and Radhi silly as she is blamed herself for getting such bad tickets for us. We lost our way as we took a cycle rickshaw to where Teddy’s car was parked and on the way some drunkard came and tried to pull Jap Princess’s bag from her and she screamed“Piaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. The Cycle Rickshaw driver pushed him away as he fell on the road given the inebriated state he was in. It was some adventure as we finally found Teddy and sat in the car. Both of us just wanted to go homeeeeeeeee. Mum called somewhere amidst all the hullaboo and I updated her on the eventful evening we’d had and instead of the sympathies I thought I would receive Mum was livid saying how could we ever think that two of us young women would travel across Punjab at night time minus any male escorts. Ahhhh well I have learnt my lesson. We came back home gleefully and three days were spent lazing around, going to card parties, shopping at Khan Market, catching up with my reading and thanking our lucky stars that we did not go ahead with the journey which might have been perilous heheh!
Alls well that ends well :).