by Indira Sheshadri
One day, my husband and I set out to do some personal work and embarked a BMTC bus. The conductor noticed our fare was in the neighbourhood of Rs. 25 and so advised us to buy the ‘travel anywhere ticket’, which provides for unlimited rides for the entire day.
We thought the conductor’s proposition made economic sense for us. A series of thoughts occurred: Why waste this ticket value? After all, what do we have to do going back home? Why not try out an adventure? Let us just hop in and out of buses with no particular destination in mind for the entire day. We invoked the ‘child’ in us and lo and behold became adventurous immediately. We completed our personal work and without even ascertaining the destination, we set out in a bus at Kalasipalya because it had some comfortable seats available. We went past Bannerghatta Park and were looking for places that we have not yet seen in and around Bangalore.
Around 1:00 PM we felt hungry. We ate the oranges and biscuits that we purchased at Kalasipalya bus stand and drank the bottled water. The bus moved at a leisurely pace.
Both of us experienced a sigh of relief when the scene changed suddenly with pristine green fields, small lakes, hillocks, thin habitation, and virtually no traffic outside the city. There was a sudden calming effect of the mind that cannot be explained but only to be experienced. Finally, the bus reached Harapanahalli.
Something funny happened at this point. Very few passengers and some school children got into the bus at Harapanahalli. We thought the bus was on its return trip to Kalasipalyam. However, the bus moved in a new direction towards Bukkasandra and traversed through narrow village roads that were not even tarred. At times, the roads were so narrow that it almost appeared as if the bus was going right through small houses. We reached Konasandra and most of the passengers got down. As the passengers got down, the conductor would look at us at every stop with a question mark on his face as if asking us ‘Which is your destination or why are you not getting down yet?’ It was almost evening. We did not see any thatched houses or habitation around the area. I started getting worried since I sensed the bus was not moving in the direction of Kalasipalyam. Finally, when only the conductor and driver remained in the bus, the conductor could not help asking us about our destination. When he heard we wanted to get back to Kalasipalyam, he said, this was the last trip and the bus was going to the shed and it would go to Kalasipalyam only the next morning. The conductor and driver started laughing at us when they heard about our Travel Anywhere ticket adventure.
Our thrill and fun came to an abrupt end and all of a sudden we got terribly worried. We were advised to walk about three kilometres along a mud road to reach the nearest bus stop to get a bus back to Kalasipalyam and that too in the dark as there were no street lights. My throat dried up. I repented for two things, one for purchasing the Travel Anywhere ticket and next, for not owning a cell phone. We could have at least called for a City Taxi to take us home, if only we had a cell phone. My tongue was parched. My husband assured me, “It is only in such situations our faith in God is put to test. Let’s not worry”.
Somehow we took the help of some children and a Gurkha to reach the nearest (3 Kilometres away) bus stop at Kallu Baalu near Anekal Taluk. There were a few school children and some teachers waiting for a bus coming from Anekal. We waited for a long time before we could get a bus going to City Market via Jigani. I felt a little better and was able to speak only when the bus moved out of the bust stop without any further incident. We got down on the way on Hosur Road, took an auto, and came back home.
Even a pleasure trip could some time turn into an adventure!!!