Radhika's Diaries

I see humor in the mundane.

 

If you’re looking for some extreme sports, then you should take the NH 66 Express bus from Udupi to Mangalore city, in the state of Karnataka, India. It’s a distance of some 60 kms and you haven’t lived if you haven’t travelled this route this way. And if you get yourself prime seats in the front of the bus then, “exciting” is a mild term to describe it. ‘Living life on the edge’ takes on a whole new meaning then.

The main characters involved in this sport are just 3 – the man at the steering wheel who’s an Ace Formula One driver (I guess), his stooge who does the Marketing (kind of), and the Conductor who’s in charge of the Finance ( he issues the tickets and generally bullies you around); and the passengers be damned ( begging your pardon )………

All through the journey, from the minute we trundle out of the main city bus stand, to the time we roll into the last stop, these 3 guys are in their element. Their main objective (as I understand)  is to get as many passengers as possible into their vehicle before the bus behind can do so, while running to a tight time schedule.

So once the vehicle gets onto the highway, the scene kind of unfolds like this…. the driver puts his whole weight on the steering wheel and rotates it around like a machine gun; while handling the gear lever like an executioner with his chopping blade ! Every time we approach a stop with a screech of brakes, the stooge leaps out, yelling and urging passengers to get off and on board and to make it fast, while the conductor keeps a wary eye on the bus running at second position behind us. When that one just about turns the corner our driver steps on it, suddenly, without warning, and the bus lurches forward with the last passenger still with one foot not quite in. And we’re off again on the next lap of the hot highway race. En route, the rival drivers hurl insults at one another through their windows and sometimes if you’re really lucky, the competing buses stop midway while trying to overtake each other, and there’s much excitement with all the stake-holders descending to have a face-off in the middle of the road.

The route is actually a picturesque one with green paddy fields, tall coconut trees and pretty tiled houses on either side of the road…in fact quite a sight for sore eyes;  but the passengers – do they have eyes for any of that?? Nope… ‘cos their eyes are either tightly shut or looking heavenwards wondering if their guardian angel is on duty!  And at the end of the ride they emerge from the bus – all in one piece admittedly,  but with that dazed glazed look which one normally has after one has tottered off the roller-coaster!!

Something like this maybe……..

So, as I said in the beginning, if you’re bored with the mundane…. you should definitely go for it.  A couple of tips – a light meal before, some light clothing during and some light breathing exercises 15 minutes before the journey – and you’re good to go…. !

🙂

*Title courtesy : Mike Posner’s “I took a pill in Ibiza”

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15 thoughts on “You don’t wanna ride a bus like this…!

  1. Avinash says:

    So true! Those bus drivers indeed think themselves as formula1 drivers. Brought back many memories 🙂

    Like

  2. Right from the start of the journey (the moment I started reading) till I’ve reached the destination (the end), it’s been a wonderful ride. Thoroughly enjoyed. Great work madam!

    Like

    1. Hey!! Thank you. Glad to have taken you on a fun ride. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Raghuram says:

    After moving to Surathkal I encounter these express busses everyday on my way to Mangalore. I really enjoy overtaking them which happens sometimes. But the driver really harass other vehicles particularly car and 2 wheelers. Express busses are fitted with some special horn which I have seen not in any other vehicles. These horns create some very low pitch loud sound. Thanks Radhika for the nice express ride 👍👍👍😊

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    1. Yes they can be quite intimidating . I’m glad you liked the write up . 🙂

      Like

  4. Vijay says:

    Two words summed the lump in the throat I had as I literally re-lived the experience during this superb narrative by Radhikaji…. “GULP” & …,, ” WHEW”….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. I’ll sum up my feelings after your beautiful praise in just two words too – Thank you…:)

      Like

  5. Avani says:

    Fantastic write up exactly matching to the reality.

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    1. Thank you Avaneesh. I’m so glad you visited my blog and liked it. 🙂

      Like

  6. I like how you’ve likened the journey to a roller coaster. I can’t find even a single reason to disagree with that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very true and nicely written…
    Please visit my blog too..
    https://findyourvoicedotcom.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Panchali. I will definitely.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sunshinysa says:

    You described our South African bus ride perfectly!

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    1. Hahaha!! But rides all over the world seem to be a roller coaster ride!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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