I love long rides on state highways in a bus.
When I was a small kid, I was exposed to one of the greatest cons of transportation. On one of our trips, dad eager to show his son a beautiful sunrise and also eager to see his son rise early, had lured an innocent me with the idea of a video coach. A small TV just behind the driver’s head is all you can expect at any video coach service. Like all disappointed kids I vowed to take a seat near the driver in any video coach I travelled by…ever. As I have travelled across the length and breadth of India on buses, I have figured out two empirical truths.
First, in every bus you’ll get a spurious cold drink seller and a chana/ chole masala seller and NEVER EVER will you watch a complete movie in a bus. Typically a movie starts as soon as the driver is in his seat and you’d miss half the movie by the time you get in. And the movie that starts after it, will never be completed by the time you get down. And just in case, you are lucky enough to be able to stay the entire time of the movie, you’ll fall asleep halfway for some reason or the other.
Though it’s fun to watch movies anywhere, it’s amazing to hear the comments getting passed as the movie progresses in a bus madly rushing on the highways across Bihar. People here ACTUALLY watch the movies being played and kids from behind come across and sit on your lap or squeeze into your seat.
Bus journeys also make you stand face to face with one inevitable truth. Most of us consider these journeys as a necessary evil and we wish for the time when we would be able to hire a car and would book it in advance. A little bit of observation near the door will make you realize that a sizeable population of our country are yet to achieve the affluence to be able to buy even this bus ticket and are forced to travel on rooftops.
The humiliation in their eyes on being refused admission by the driver makes you feel small, really small.