The Journey to Pondicherry – An Ordeal

The journey home was an ordeal. The trouble started even before we settled in the bus. The new Lexia bus started leaking after a slight drizzle. Passengers switched places. But as the bus started moving, the rain also became harder and almost all the AC vents started leaking. I managed to hold on for a while and then covered the vent with the window screen. If this was not fun, then came the best – or for those who suffered with me the worst – part

The incapable driver did not notice a huge hole on the road caused by the rains and drive the bus right into it. The bus came to a halt with a wild jerk. Half the people thought that the bus had hit some other vehicle. It was 1.45 am when the incident took place. The driver and the cleaner inspected the bus and found that the axle had taken the damage and a gear had to be fixed.

They tried to fix it themselves but in vain. At about 2.00 am the driver had taken the broken piece to the nearby town which was 15 km away. With the hope that he would come back I thought I will try to catch some sleep as I had not slept since the bus left at 10.30.

The indicator was switched on and the buzzer woke up anyone who had the intention to sleep. The AC was also switched off. After two hours it became really hot and the fan was switched on after a lot of fight with the cleaner.

I managed to sleep for an hour. When I woke up it was 5.30 and the day was dawning. Half the people had already left; a few were standing outside and cribbing about the service of Sharma Transport. A few girls were sitting in the rear seats and as usual, chatting things of their own interest.

We called the head office and the guy told us that if we assure him that if we all stay there, he would send us a bus. The bus would take a minimum of three hours to reach the spot and we had another four hours of travel. Tension was mounting among those who had patiently waited for over four hours.

Calls after calls were made to friend and parents and then we all decided that we leave by the first bus. In the mean time we had an intro session. I did not get the lady’s name. The other one was Ramya (Did I see her in Wipro??) and one guy named Srivatsan. The first thought on hearing his name was, is he the one who studied with me at Don Bosco with me and for most part considered the second best? The lady whose name I did not get even though she had mentioned it had earlier borrowed my cell phone to call someone whom she thought could help us.

Nothing happened. She then told we all would talk like this now and later use the same transport to reach back to Bangalore. She asked each one if we had booked the return ticket in the same bus. Most people did! However I was not sure which bus was booked for me. Then we got a local bus and two bus changes. I don’t know who was with whom, but I just wanted to reach home so did not wait for anyone.

I reached home at 11.15 am, more than five hours late than the scheduled time. A couple of them had gone to the office to demand a refund. But I doubt whether they would have made any progress.

The return journey was only marginally better. This time it was the bug infested bus. A poor girl had all her hand bitten and it was a horrible sight. This time the cleaner gave her a can of “Hit”. What a mess! I reached here by 6.30 am. And oh, what a relief.

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