A bus “ordinaire”

ImageI’m trying to book a bus ticket to go to Shimla this weekend.  As I log in to the HRTC website there are 4 choices available in this order

  • Volvo/ISU
  • Tata-AC
  • Deluxe
  • Semi-Deluxe
  • Ordinary

I soon realize that  tickets are available only in ordinary buses. Ordinary means cramped seats and no air conditioner. So I’m having my- to be or not to be moment now.

The thing is 15 years back I would have not blinked an eye. I would have simple selected  “ordinary” as it’s the cheapest. You can get to Shimla is Rs 350 compared to 900 in a Volvo bus.

Now its like- let me think. May be there are better things to do in Delhi this weekend.

Or is it that I’m getting too comfortable ? Or is it old age?  Now the body cannot take the beating one gets travelling 380 kms in a regular bus. I don’t know what it is but I think too many AC bus  and rides car rides to shimla has made me soft.

To be honest travelling in an ordinary roadways bus is far more exciting than boarding the Mammoth Volvo bus which will fire from Delhi like a missile or drive like a tank as if it owns the road. Where as our ” Bus ordinaire” will stop every once in a while at small towns and cities to ( I want to say it beautifully) ” smell the flowers”. Wave a hand and the bus will stop. For any bathroom emergencies , the bus will stop. People will come in and people will go out of the bus at every station. There will be food floating around. Vendors will come and try sell  stuff from the past like ” chana chat” and ” raseele goli”.

As we  enter the hills the bus would suddenly be filled with fresh smell of pine and puke ( half of the passengers will be dangling out of the windows and puking their livers out). Through out the journey the disgusting smell that comes from buses and bus stations in India will be in the air.  No “ambipur” can fix it.

The bus will stop at some obscure Dhaba for Chai, dinner and breakfast where ever and whenever the ” ustad jee”  feels like stopping and not some fancy shitty place where Volvo’s normally stop. You will be able to fart anonymously and without giving fellow passengers much trouble under the cool breeze thanks to ope windows. And how can I forget the fun I will have by keeping an all night vigil to guard my luggage. And if I’m really lucky- the bus will break down or have a flat tyre at some obscure place in the middle of the night.

There will be no ETA. Ustad Jee will give you a look if you dare to ask him ” Bus shimla kab pahunchege”.

There will be this sense of accomplishment at the end of the journey Arrived safely. 500 Rs saved.

So what it’s gonna be. Cool breeze in shimla and a cooler trip in an ordinary HRTC bus or “yeh jawani hai deewanee” and some pop corns and cola.

Keep watching this space.


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