The Night on a Steaming Bus

When things go your way, you can never be too sure of why they’re going your way. As suspicious as it is when everything goes in your favour, you accept it, mentally rejoice and move on. And that might very well be your biggest mistake.

It was a normal sunday evening. I was travelling on a bus that would take me back to my new home once more, the home I had moved into recently for work. Everything was going well – the night was young, the moon was bright and the inky black sky was almost clear. Here and there, grey clouds lingered, and the incessant honking of some trucks on the expressway didn’t really improve the experience.

But at the same time, it was all familiar. Over the last few months, I had grown accustomed to the wisps of grey clouds, the shrill sounds of the heavy vehicles zooming on the beautiful roads of Maharashtra and the seeming long journey. I might even add that the absence of this feeling, this slight annoyance mingling with the cold and bleak atmosphere, would have seemed out of place. So, in short, all was going perfectly fantastic.

And then the stupid bus broke down.

It wasn’t all that surprising… In the sense that the day had been good. A little too good. So good that perhaps, something was eventually going to bring the happiness down a few notches back to normal.

Hmm… Let me see how it began, shall we? So the morning went perfectly fine. I woke up late, happy and content. After having slept like a baby, things were sure to start off nice the next morning, just as they did. I had breakfast and lunch with my family, had a wonderful, home-cooked meal and had a nice hot bath with many comforts in my life that I had been missing, like a shower, shampoo and ample supply of perfect-to-the-touch hot water.

Only to add to the euphoria of a fantastic, albeit perfectly normal, morning was the even more perfectly normal afternoon that included me reaching the inter-city bus stop perfectly on time, as a direct result of which, I did not have to wait in a long line for the ticket.

I think in hindsight, this is where I should’ve know that something would eventually go wrong. No God in their right mind would let me have this peace of mind where for ONCE I didn’t have to stand in line for a ticket. All the other times, I had to wait in that damned line for more than an hour just to get a seat on the bus. But this particular day? No. I reached the bus stop, and boarded my bus as soon as I did.

Not only that, but I, for the first time in history of intercity travelling, got a window seat… That too right in the front! It was like magic.

I guess you can see how ugly it felt when the bus started steaming at its mouth.

It started with a small screech. A seemingly unnoticeable sound. I was wearing my earphones, listening to Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake, when this highly intrusive noise pierced through the melody of J.T. And as expected, it grabbed a lot of attention (so I guess I cannot call it an unnoticeable sound). Babies were crying, woken up from their slumber; old ladies were clutching each others’ hands, wondering where the noise was coming from; men and women alike were sitting a little but straighter in their seats now.

And the driver drove on, without any signs of distress. The noise went as quickly as it came. Everything went back to normal… Almost.

The bus was slowing down! My fellow co-passengers, most of them groggy from their sleep, were indifferent to the speed. They didn’t notice it. But I did. And the engine was humming a little differently too.

I tried to ignore it. I couldn’t. It resulted in me pausing my music every few seconds to see if the humming had gone back to normal.

It did not.

And finally, after crossing the halfway mark, the front of the bus started smoking. Thick, fog-like smoke was emanating from the front, engulfing the whole of the driver’s cabin in it. At first, it was like steam: white and translucent. But as the driver tried to rev the engine harder, the smoke started turning black and opaque.

The engine died sudden as a stroke, panic rushed through the bus like a flood and people started yelling in surprise and fear.

In my mind, as I watched the scene unfold, we were going to be fine. Although a little barbecue-y, the smoke was not going to blow the bus up! Only stop it from running. Of course, little did I pay attention to the fact that I WAS NOT A FUCKING MECHANIC TO BE SURE ABOUT THAT.

The driver was smart though. You see, we were only a couple of metres away from a pit stop. A food plaza loomed in the distance, but with a broken down engine on a high speed expressway, there was no chance we would reach there.

While the cars zoomed past us, rather mockingly, the driver put the gear in neutral and took his foot off the brakes. You see, it’s a simple rule of physics: if you’re on top of a hill, and you take your foot off the brakes, you will roll down it!

I smiled at the sheer brilliance of it as the bus slowly gained speed. It rolled down the express way, snaking its way past some tree branches. And finally, with our hearts in our mouths, we felt the bus screech to a halt.

If you thought breaking down in a bus next to a food plaza, as opposed to somewhere in the Ghats, would improve things, it so did not.

Chaos reigned. People started shouting, yelling and fighting with the driver. The driver pleaded with the passengers to remain calm. He instructed them to not panic (apparently he was a genius only with a vehicle, cuz that was some BAD advice) and informed them that they would be accommodated into the next bus.

Of course, accommodating 30 something passengers into the next bus is no fruit cake. Not only that, but also the fact that our bus was one of the last buses to run, and imagining myself stand in a bus for the next one hour before it reached my destination, the picture I had painted in my mind was painful. So while I tried to think of alternate ways, people fought with the driver.

The driver tried to reason with the passengers. It was night time, there was no way to assign 30 something seats in only two packed buses. I felt sorry for him as I watched him being verbally abused.

It was not his fault that the engine broke down. Or that it broke down without a warning, in the middle of the night. And thankfully, he was tactful enough not to shout back the abuses.

The next bus came, people immediately ran to huddle near its door as it came to a halt. There were only 6 empty seats on it. Fuck.

The remaining 20 something people, excluding me, went back to fight with the driver. As the night wore on, the driver was himself steaming and reddening. I did the only thing I could: I took the other bus.

Yes, it didn’t have a place to sit. Yes, it would be horrible for me to stand the rest of the journey. In fact, a few others joined me. They saw fit to take this bus, and face the situation head on rather than waste their time and energy at something that was out of their control. And of course it would be terrible to see the rest sit and sleep comfortably on their seats. But it was my only option.

And as I saw myself comfortably stand (and later even share a seat with someone else), I glanced on at those who refused to climb on as they continued to hurl abuses at the driver, oblivious to the reality of the situation, completely disregarding the fact that if not for their ego, they would be home soon. The other bus left soon after I climbed aboard. I reached home in one piece.

The next day, I heard from a localite that the rest of the remaining passengers that we had left behind had to actually camp out in the food plaza and go back the following morning. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on the steps of the plaza.

And that, my friends, is how my journey through the night on a steaming bus came to an end.

As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images, from my own personal collection or some other sources (which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise). Contact me if you want it removed.

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A very Special Ganesh Chaturthi!

Image result for lord ganesh

This year, I am celebrating an extra special Ganesh Chaturthi.

Why? Because I am finally an Engineer.

Many might question the significance of it. Especially since in India, being an Engineer is considered nothing sort of insignificant these days – so much so that every year we see 1.5 million Engineering students passing out! But hey, this year’s 1.5 million sees me being a part of it.

It feels overwhelmingly auspicious. This day, this Ganesh Chaturthi day, I imagine myself on a line that is fine, thin and stretches for kilometres. I stand right on its edge. Behind me looms my four years of hard work. Four years of Engineering. Four years of working towards one of the things I adore the most – technology. And damn it! It has been a fun ride.

In a complete contrast to the misty past at my back, I see a clear and crisp future waiting for me. It is new, it is crazy and it is different. An unusual experience sings my name. It actively looks for me, trying to identify me from a crowd of 1.5 million fellow Engineers. And I feel it my purpose to wave back cheerfully.

I step across the line, finally entering a new chapter in my storybook. But guess what? This time, I am not alone.

I see Lord Ganesh accompanying me. I see him descending off his mount. I see him approach me, acknowledge me and together, we jump across the line. And as we do so, I hear voices. Loud voices of people praying and cheering in his glory. I hear them enjoying the Chaturthi festival with full pomp. I see their enthusiasm and I see their devotion. I see their love for not only Lord Ganesh but also for each other. I feel the festive atmosphere.

And I pray with them, with a renewed sense of purpose. In spite of being a little less religious all my life, today I find myself in awe of Lord Ganesh. And I bow to him.

My college years bid me farewell. But at the same time, a new phase of my life beckons. And this, kids, is where life really begins.

It is going to be a bumpy one, Kunal, so sit back, relax and enjoy it!


Heya!

I write this post to wish everyone a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi! Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Love,

Kunal


As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images,  from my own personal collection or some other sources (which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise). Contact me if you want it removed.

Miracle Dip on a Starry Night

Credits: here

Credits: this guy

Imagine this: a chilly weather, a clear night’s sky with twinkling stars, hills, meadows and forests surrounding you and nothing but time to waste… seems like something out a story book, right?

I was fortunate enough to experience this! It was a night I remember fondly. Maybe it was the fancy things that stands sharp in my memory – like the peace and quiet that the small town I was visiting brought with it. Or perhaps, it was the close-knit group of friends who sat with me on the terrace on that cold night, sharing and caring. Who knows! But one thing is for sure: it was something fantastical.

You see, when you are one of those typical students in India aspiring to be an engineer (in IT, no less), you need a break. Break from all the routine stress, from the mediocre life you think you are leading whilst you try to figure out what ‘Encapsulation and Polymorphism’ is exactly and from the pressure that’s building around you in the form of tests, exams and of course, your parents. In such a perilous time, you need fun. You need excitement. You need something different. In my case, I needed chip and dip.

And so, barely a week after my exams were over, I found myself huddled around a stove. With me were a few of my closest friends. It was not only a great night, but a messy one as well. We were preparing to face the pure tranquillity of the small but delightful village we were visiting. The cold was still sharp like daggers. And the thing we were trying to create would cut through this cold. Supposedly.

The cooks in my group were the forerunners of our little “project”. Experimentation and making a tasty mess of what we call food was something they were adept at. The rest of us were just there, hovering in the background pretending to help. Desperately cold and hungry, but also a little excited about it being past midnight and the fact that we were all awake for something other than studies, we clanked and clunked around the kitchen, fumbling for something to make. The five of us ran around, hunting for logical ingredients to put in our cooking pan, while the other two stood around the stove, trying to light it whilst yelling orders. I grabbed the cheese, someone else grabbed the sauces from the fridge and another grabbed the garlic butter. And so, the miracle dip was born. In no time, the stove was on, searing the pan. The garlic butter was bubbling on the pan’s surface as it sent wafts of smells around the house. Added to the fact that the house was a packed box of us seven, to stop the cold from entering inside, everything aromatic in no time! With extreme clumsiness and hurry, we added the ingredients one by one to the butter, whilst the two – ahem – chefs stirred.

I have never been excited about cooking food. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating food, but actual cooking it is something that does not tickle my fancy. However, that night, it was like seeing magic. Maybe that was just my hunger making me see things but when the cheese had melted, when the garlic had infused with everything else, when the sauces had turned from white and yellow to a burning orange, my stomach grumbled.

The seven of us raced upstairs, carrying the rest of the stuff in our hands. It was like a synchronized mechanism: two of us stood upstairs, ready to take the stuff and keep it on the terrace; three more stood below, passing the stuff upstairs, while the remaining brought the stuff from the kitchen. We had drinks (soft, of course because we don’t drink alcohol. No, we seriously don’t. Mummy promise), we had food, we had sweaters for warmth, we had music…

And later, we found ourselves huddled around the dip on the terrace, below the sky, drinking soft drinks and ready to attack the bowl with three huge packets of chips. The fire this dip had awoken in us roared. Our hungry stomachs were holding their breaths, waiting for the onslaught of awesomeness. Our minds were sceptical: would the dip even be good?

It didn’t matter, as we each took a chip and dipped it in the liquidy-goodness. It smelt, looked amazing and turns out – as I bit the chip hungrily – it tasted amazing, too!

And thus began a campfire-like night, dotted with stories, secrets, selfies and music. The dip was consumed entirely in no time, and we lay on the cold floor of the terrace, star-gazing through the cold night, with one hand rubbing our full stomachs, contemplating if every night could be like this: eternally fulfilling and blissful.


Hello Bleedsters!
I hope you are having a great time! This is another one of my favourite write-ups and I sincerely hope you enjoy it! Comment with any similar experiences you might have had!

Love,
Kunal


As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images or from my own personal collection or other sources which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise. Contact me if you want it removed.