Friday, February 22, 2008

Tidbits of India

It was my last day in India. I was ready to leave. I wanted out of the trash, the stink and the human poop. (Now looking back it was not that bad.) I was standing at a very crowded bus stop. The smell of urine was in the air, trash was everywhere, the station and the buses were crowded, it was hot, and I was D.U.N. with India. Some middle aged Indian guy came over to me and started talking. He was one of those guys that solves everyone's problems even if you don't want him to; he began solving mine even though I did not have one. He asked me where I was going and I told him Chennai airport. He asked me what bus I was taking and I told him. He replied that the bus I was to take bus was dirty ( which bus wasn't?) and crowded (there were buses in India that weren't?) and that if I got on his bus it would be faster and cleaner. He guaranteed me that his bus, (with only one bus change) would drop me off at the airport door just like my other bus was supposed to. I declined. He pushed the idea. I declined. He pushed. I inquired. His bus came first; I got on. The ride was long and the roads were busy and rough. The bus went through construction zones, eventually got stuck in traffic, and stuck in mayhem. It got dark and late, and when we got to the bus station for the change I was doubtful this transfer was really going to happen. We got off our bus and he looked around at the thirty or so buses in the area. He took me from bus to bus. He would ask the driver something, they would shake their heads, and he would move on to another bus. It was clear to me. I was in a city I didn't want to be in, I didn't know where it was on the map, it was dark, busy, and there were no buses going to the airport. CHIT! I was holding my anger in but I wanted to strangle the little fucker. I told myself not to be mad at him as it was me who made the decision to get on the bus; but I still wanted to strangle the little fucker. I was stressed, angry and stood a chance of missing my plane. He looked at me with resignation and apology. I told him thank you, I would find my way to the airport. He said " No, I will get you to the airport". I shook my head and said " thank you " again. He insisted that he take me. I looked around; at the hoards of people, the darkness, the language barrier, and the crowded, absolutely jam packed buses. I smelled the piss in the streets, I looked at the trash, the goats, and the thirty or so buses parked this way and that, moving in and going out; and I felt my stress. I said "okay", and we began our journey. Two hours and six buses later we arrived at the airport door. I got my plane. And a perspective on Indian culture.


Anonymous said...

Be careful when you say "Looking back it wasn't that bad." We said that about all of our Navy cruises and when we went bqack then we remembered why we hated it the3 first time. If you aren't careful you will begin to remember only the good things and get lured into returning, then going, "Oh yeah now I remember."

I am sitting in the shop watching the snow and ice pile up outside. No school today but people are still out and coming in the shop inspite of the Level 1 Snow emergency! Thank the Lord for them. We are still making it, sort of.

Take care of yourself and I can't wait for you to get home. You have a gold mine waiting for you with this trip. Be glad to help but I think the internet is waiting for someone like you with your experience with these travels.

Love John

jan said...


So much for making a last minute run to the airport!