Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Bus to Mangalore

Not exactly the right time for a light-hearted post, but God knows, all of us deserve a break from the sustained grief and melancholy of the past few days. Forgive me, if you find the levity of this post inappropriate.

There was a time when I used to travel quite frequently between Bombay and Mangalore. This was before the Konkan Railway had opened, when trains from western India had to make their way down south close to Madras, go transverse, and then loop back up along the Kerala coastline, to reach Mangalore. It was a journey that took close to 48 hours and was guaranteed to test your patience and physical endurance.

A quicker alternative was to take one of the so-called “luxury coaches” from Bombay to Mangalore. It was less comfortable than the train, confined as you were to your cramped seat for a whole day and night, but had the advantage that it cut the journey time by almost half.

There were many operators plying this commercially-lucrative route and, I suspect, they continue to flourish even today. Most services from Bombay were either early in the evening or late at night. But I preferred the morning buses for a particular reason and it was called Hotel Ramdev.

The morning buses reached the half-way point of Belgaum around seven in the evening and halted at that excellent hotel for a whole hour. Now Ramdev, catering as they did to the weary traveller, had a well-stocked bar; the quality of food served was also quite good. So the more experienced and enterprising travellers, knowing that time-management was of utmost essence here, jumped out of the bus even before it entered the parking lot, quickly freshened themselves up and headed straight to the bar to tip back a couple. Once blood circulation returned to the tired limbs and aching backs, they tipped back a couple more and trooped to the restaurant to feast on the food they had pre-ordered at the bar itself.

When the bus pulled out of the parking lot, these gentlemen came out of the restaurant a bit unsteady on the legs, but none the worse for wear, and clambered onto the moving vehicle with a smile on their lips and a song in their hearts.

Never once did they miss the bus.

Photo Courtesy: http://travelbyvolvo.blogspot.com


Vijay said...

Rada, thanks for taking the initiative...I needed this...

Were you among the "gentlemen" as well :-)

Also presuming these gentlemen caught the right bus ;-)

Vijay said...

Sorry... I didnt read the last line (about missing the bus)....

Anonymous said...

LOL.. I love how people (not you, of course;-) can be incredibly systematic, when there is a bit of tipple to be had! And why not?

Finally you oblige me with some drunken revelry as I lie on my sofa burning up with fever. Thank you.

Renu said...

Glad I happened to read this :). Frankly, though i wept after what happened at b'bay(my first home), I am tired of the energy outburst all around after that, tremendous no doubt but mostly negative or useless. & some possibly downright lame - somebody plans to initiate everybody into wearing white (to work, play etc) on a particular day, apparently in "honor" of the terrorist siege. Now i hope i haven't worn u out with this...
Back to the post :), it brought back nostalgia, having done the said trip myself many a times during childhood. Though I must say I never did notice these "gentlemen" :)
Now, shouldn't they have a word limit for a comment?

Rada said...

@Vijay: Of course not! ;-)

@Shalini: As the proverb says, when there is a will, there is a way!

@Renu: I just noticed- you follow by blog! Wow! I'm so flattered!

Renu said...

Like they say, the pleasure is entirely mine :)

Ravi said...

I remember Hotel Ramdev, which was during a trip from Bombay to Kerala via car, the one and only time I traveled that way to Kerala.

My memory of that trip includes the following-the accidental killing a rabbit as it jumped in front of the car, the wonderful food at Ramdev and your brother's wedding in Trivandrum, Rada.

Rada said...

@Ravi: A sharp memory you have got there, Ravi! :-)

Velayudhan said...

But kuttetta, you did not tell me about these facilities when u put me in.

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.