It was a memorable trip I had on a red color Karnataka Sarige night bus from Bangalore to Trichy, on the even of Diwali. I booked bus just 2 weeks before the journey and every luxury bus was fully booked by that time, leaving only one seat on 8pm bus, in the last but one row! I knew beforehand that the journey was definitely going to be memorable. And how.
The bus had two columns of seats: two seats on the left column and three seats on the right column. I was on the last but one row, in the middle seat of the right hand side column. Bus started at 8:30pm. Guy to my right was around same age as me. Guy to my left was some stereotypical rural-uncle-in-city with a big suitcase. The three of us were jammed so tightly in the three-seater that made the uncle start grunting the moment he sat. Plus there was a pole hitting the left shoulder of the uncle so there was a constraint on how much he could shift towards his left.
Anyways, when the bus started, I was on phone for around two hours so didn’t really focus on my seating discomforts. Further small talk with the guy on my right went till around 11 pm, when I started feeling sleepy. So it was time to crash and now started the fun.
11: 10. Right guy adjusts his left shoulder pushing it backward. I move left. Uncle is squeezed between me and the pole and decides to move forward and rest his head on the rod of the seat in front.
11: 15. Bus hitting speed breaker at 80 kmph wakes me up and uncle damages his head on the rod. Uncle moves back with a jerk, his shoulder pushing my left shoulder away. I raise my right shoulder and place it over shoulder of guy on my right. He gets pained and waits for his turn. Uncle gives a big Captain Caveman grunt and all of us try to sleep.
11: 25 Guy on my right decides to counter my position by expanding his leg base. I find my leg space is confined to 20% of the total available. I end up pushing uncle to adjust my position in a half asleep state.
11:40 I wake up and find my legs twisted and my body bent. I decide to be aggressive, push myself back and expand leg base.
11: 45 I gain victory and find that it is still only 11:45. More grunts from Uncle follow. Uncle wraps a towel on the rod to provide some cushioning effect and rests his forehead on it. Speedbreakers follow immediately. Uncle roars!
12:30 I wake up to find myself sleeping comfortably till that point of time. Uncle is missing and no one on bus is standing. I find a dead body of uncle lying on the floor of the bus! There is hardly any space to walk and uncle in his desperation decides to find his resting place. I thank god for uncle’s departure and the 5 hours of peaceful sleep yet to come. I adjust my seating to give me comfortable spacing.
12: 45 There is some disturbance and I open my eyes, hardly awake. I find everyone in my back and left standing. In my dream, I find them wishing the Class Teacher good morning. I tell them that even if the Head Master is to come, I am too sleepy to stand up.
THUD! THUD! THUD!
And I am wide awake. All these people were standing because the current section of road was filled with speed breakers. Infinite of them. For the next 45 minutes, all of us keep watch for speedbreakers. One person takes initiative and all the others join in wishing the Class Teacher good morning. More THUDs follow. Uncle roars from the floor.
01:30 The speed breakers end. I sleep finally. Bus stops at the highway roadside hotel to take a break. People start sweating and leave the bus for some cigarettes and tea.
01:45 Bus finally starts and I finally manage to catch some good sleep till 5 30 in the morning.