in continuation to Stories from a wet desert – monsoons in Rajasthan (I)
There was slight drizzle, droplets of water hit the windshield and flowed to the corners by the wind or got spread on the glass by the wiper blades. I looked at the driver, he was smoking a beedi, his eyes set on the road without a blink. Except for a pit-stop outside Gurgaon, he has been constantly driving for the past few hours. Everyone was sleeping, including my fellow-passenger, a young business man in his early thirties, with a pair of stinking socks.
at a dhaba outside Gurgaon (first pit-stop)
A brake, a sudden turn towards the right and a long press on the horn, our bus overtook another truck and entered Jaipur. The flags fluttering in front of some stores reminded me, today is Independence day, the 66th anniversary of free India. What a great day to be travelling, free and aimless.
he rode like he was being chased by Yamraj (god of underworld & death)
My back was aching, i couldn’t sit upright because there was no leg room between the seat and the drivers seat. Unlike my unknown friend sitting next to me, i had no space to rest my legs. The most comfortable seating position was to sit facing the left side with my right leg occasionally touching the engine cover, burning my skin and waking me up. Then there is the frequent brake tests, when i crash land onto the rear of the driver seat. I decided to get down at Jaipur, this trip is a night mare, if i sleep that is.
At Jaipur, my good friend who was snoring next to me got down, inheriting me with the comfortable part of the wooden plank or my throne for the night. So i decided to go on with the bus and move to the comfortable part of the seat.
One should learn how to make money from a private bus employee in Rajasthan. For the one who got down, five more were introduced into the ‘cabin seat’. Including the driver, we were now nine people in the cabin. It was a mistake, i should have got down at Jaipur – I cursed myself.
Suddenly there was a stir on the luggage rack (or so i thought) above me. The spare driver for the trip just woke-up from his comfortable sleep to close the ventilation on the roof of the driver’s cabin. So we are ten humans stacked as luggage in the drivers cabin.
The dark blue sky, turned pale. Rays of sunlight lighted up the horizon. Its the other driver who is on the Captain’s seat. They exchanged place at Jaipur, while i had my cup of tea and stretched my aching back.
As we neared Ajmer, i could see the ‘smoking hills’ from a distance. The mist is slowly leaving its companion for the night. The roads are clean, without a gutter. There were hardly any vehicle on the road. The drive was smooth and my mind was calm. I kept staring at the misty mountains.
As we neared Ajmer, i thought “Should i get down here?”.
read on here: Ajmer or beyond; monsoons in Rajasthan (III)