"Konaarkkko konaarkkkko konarkko."
The guy was shouting loudly with that characteristic voice which you might be able to identify with that of a tea seller at any Indian train stations or a lottery seller in Kerala or a tarkariwala in Bangalore or a kabadiwala in Delhi!
I have no idea how they all sounds quite similar irrespective of their profession, language, or geographical location just as much as I couldn't understand what this guy was shouting in Odia.
With the help of a few bus drivers who spoke Hindi, I finally understood that the guy who was shouting, soon going to be part of my journey.
He was shouting out, to let people know that the bus was going to Konark.
It was the end of the first month in 2019.
I was coming back after my Malaysia and Thailand trip and landed in Bhubaneshwar as it offered one of the cheapest flights between my last destination, Thailand and India.
After spending about a month in Malaysia and Thailand, and trying out various public transportation to move around, it was kind of like a blow on my face when I got back to India. ( 1 month won't give any serious cultural shock but there will be definitely some comparison going on in your mind)
Though I love travelling in India in extreme conditions ( I once spent 5 days straight in a packed train with 3 other people sharing the upper berth) , at times the very chaotic nature of travelling in India can come across as a shock, especially right after when I return from foreign lands that have better-developed infrastructures.
Since the change of scenery at Bhubaneshwar in Odisha was very striking, I decided to note down the incidents happened on this bus journey.
I found it to be very interesting and I am going to share this interesting bus journey from Bhubaneshwar to Konark.
In India, getting into a bus at the bus station comes with a few advantages and one of them is to pick the seat that you want to sit as the buses tend to be empty at first.
I picked one of the last twin sharing seats on the right in an almost empty bus. The guy was still screaming at the top of his voice to get more people to the bus.
Initially, people took the seats that were far from each other, just like matter settles down to find equilibrium in a large space. Atoms to dust particles to human beings, do many things instinctively even without knowing the reason behind them!
Those people who came together occupied seats together while the single ones found their own seat, just like me. Though my side has a bit more of sunshine and people tried to avoid that side.
Heat energy from the sun can definitely increase the internal energy and nobody wanted it except a few like me!(inert, maybe?)
I was having fun thinking and remembering the high school science class, about how energy works, while the guy outside was attracting more customers by converting his high vocal energy.
His efforts slowly started to show results. By then it was time for the bus to leave the bus station. The driver appeared from nowhere and joined his assistant in bringing more customers.
True to the Indian style, he long pressed the big button that produced high pitched rhythmic noise that sounded like a song from Rangeela or some other 90's Bollywood item songs.
Thus "Konaarkkkoo konaarkkoo" shout finally received its much-needed BGM and we were all set to leave.
Interestingly enough in India, people wait for things till the last minute and do things in the heat of the moment. There were a couple of people who wanted to run after the bus and jump into it, right when it had started moving.
The bus driver knew he had to leave probably at least 5 minutes earlier. Though his natural instincts wouldn't let him leave on time even though he was honking and already sitting there for some time.
Finally, all of a sudden he hit hard on the accelerator pedal and steered to the right and quickly released the clutch pedal, from the side of the road to the main road just in time to perfectly block a fast-approaching vehicle from behind.
The vehicle that was coming from behind hit hard on the breaks, honked incessantly to express anger and annoyance and a few moments later things went back to normal.
Of course, everyone on the road knows that size matters and it is an unwritten rule that everyone seems to follow.
There is never a dull moment in this trip, I thought to myself.
By then more people started to get into the bus from the next stops on the way. Slowly all seats were taken. Though I still hadn't found my partner yet. I was still sitting alone enjoying the whole fiasco and other similar chaotic scenes through the open window.
Then a slightly old couple got in. All the twin seats were already taken and not many want to sit in the jumpy and bumpy last-row-long-seat. There was a single seat available and that was next to me, but the old guy didn't want his wife to be sitting next to a 'young man'. So they both decided to go and sit at the last long seat together, even though that might not be their first choice.
People were getting on and off during this time creating more space and then filling them up again. The bus had already left the first town area by then.
Then another middle aged gentle man got in.
Why was he a gentleman? Because he was wearing a sleeveless overcoat on top of his nice shirt, just like some important politician would wear. This was definitely a more expensive choice of clothing compared to all other people on the bus put together and especially even more expensive to the guy sitting next to him in a torn thick sweater. On top of that, he was carrying a big red colour hardbound diary. Must be an important person.
I thought I was acing my judgement game.
In front of the man with a red diary, there was an empty seat. A lady wearing a red sweater came and found the seat. There was another girl falling asleep(which was probably why the man with a diary avoided sitting there) at the window side seat and her long shawl was lying on the empty part of the seat. The lady in red sweater simply grabbed the long piece of clothing and put it right back at the lap of this sleeping girl and occupied the seat, like nothing had happened.
By then the important guy with the red diary did not seem to enjoy the wind coming through the open window. Since he was important, he didn't have to consult with anyone. So he went ahead and decided to close the window which was basically shared between the two seats.
Well, nothing out of the order happened here. Things went on as normal. It was just a window shared by 4 people, after all!
It was getting busier. All seats were full again. Bad luck for the young chap who just got in.
Obviously, the young chap came and couldn't find any seat he liked. All were already taken. So he decided to make himself at home on top of the big bulky box like part of the bus. He proclaimed the gearbox to be his seat.
The gearbox can at times get a bit warm, but who cares. Also, this 'seat' enables one to watch almost every passenger, as you will be sitting facing the crowd.
This guy seemed to enjoy the attention he was getting by facing the whole passengers on the bus.
Well, technically it wouldn't be right to say facing the whole passengers as there were a few people sitting in the driver's cabin at the opposite side to the driver which was basically behind this guy.
He looked unfazed by the fact that he was facing almost everyone on the bus. It might be due to the confidence he derived from the fact that he looked quite handsome because of the extra money and time he spent to get his beard trimmed to perfection.
Every now and then he was trying to lock his eyes with a young girl sitting at the window seat many seats aways from him.
This girl who liked to keep herself updated with the latest fashion trends in that area was wearing a black and white striped t-shirt and a red lipstick and was present in the bus from the beginning.
Looked like our gearbox chap had some hope going on in his mind, that he would be able to impress her with his perfectly shaped beard and magic in his eyes.
What will happen next might not surprise you, like those clickbaits claims. But you will have to wait for the next part to continue reading this story.
What are your thoughts till now? What are your Indian bus journey experience?
If you like it, share it or pin it.
I'm taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's My Friend Alexa