It’s Friday evening; I had my bag packed, ready to be picked from my room at 6:30 pm after finishing my classes. Had never been this excited before to go on a trip. This was my first ever all girls trip. The excitement of journeying by bus from Chennai to Kanyakumari with friends soared as the time came closer to catch the bus. Though the first choice was to take the train, but as usual with Indian railways, there were no seats available.
All friends gathered in Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal on time. Could see everybody so excited about the plan. We had booked TNSTC Volvo AC bus. Got into the bus at around 9:00 pm; we screened one by one for our seats and settled. As usual, I got my (un)lucky number 13. But I was okay with it as it was a window seat and back push seat. The dark fat bus conductor entered the bus that meant driver is also nearby, the driver came and sat on the driver’s seat, there was some kind secret whisper that went for around 5-10 mins between the two. Then hrrr…hrrr.hrrr…the bus started, we all girls screamed together Yoho!!! We were 10 girls altogether, few got into gossip (a big girly trait), some put earphones and listened to their favorite songs, I was getting ready for the long night. After munching words with my girlfriends I needed to shut my eyes, I want to look garden fresh for the next day outing in Kanyakumari. But, let’s face it; Indian roads are not at all even. On road bus journey what starts off with lot passion and zeal tends to end with drowsy eyes, broken neck, and back throbbing. The pot holes everywhere, and upon that the bus going zig zag to avoid those holes makes it worse for the first-timer. Though it was not my first-time journey by bus, but it was my first longest journey by bus. So I came all prepared, carried a dozen of polybags with me in case I feel like throwing up.
That long 11 hours journey had two to three stoppages at few places for short loo breaks. The bus stopped somewhere at the side of the highway after 4 hours. I had no idea which place was it. The girls got down to freshen up, and stretch legs. Few girls were really tall and the bus didn’t have leg space, it becomes so difficult for tall people sometimes, and I hear them telling, “It’s been so lucky to be short.” But the short girls know their side of sad stories (sob…sob…sob). Anyway, we were buying biscuits, chips, water bottles and few other eatables for another 7 hours journey, and we heard loud scream. A shrilly, high pitched scream of a girl. People rushed towards the voice. I was standing still in front of the shop. Few of our girls too went to check out. One girl came rushing from the toilet, there it was Rubi; one of our mates. She went to use one of the loo’s which was built behind the walls of one of the petty shops there. I had heard about the toilets in such places and where usually buses stop over during night journeys. Rubi kept muttering some words in her mouth almost for an hour until she fell asleep; she also finished one whole new bottle of Dettol sanitizer. She also couldn’t eat after that horrible something she witnessed in that dark bathroom. See, you know, this is one of the disadvantages of traveling by bus if you are a person with weak bladder or bowel.
I tried getting some sleep, but then the loud TV noise where they play only Tamil movies was so annoying, and not to mention the fartings, and snores of the other annoying passengers. Ugh, whatever, I pushed my seat a little bit back to make myself comfortable to take a nap, remember I need to be garden-fresh for the next day! I moved back and forth, but I couldn’t sleep at all. And so, was my friends Gisha, who was sitting next to me. As if those tortures were not enough, we started shivering like a malaria patient at the middle of the night. The AC was so chilling and we didn’t take warm clothes because we got out with the perception that Tamil Nadu has only two seasons- summer and extreme summer. So, this was the third disadvantage we marked in a bus journey. Not to mention the jolting breaks that suddenly gives a feeling of riding on a roller coaster. I was thinking why not buses also start providing seat belts like that in flights.
So, somehow we completed our 11 hours bus journey and reach Kanyakumari at around 8:10 am. We spent one night in Kanyakumari and decided to take a train next day to Trivandrum. We couldn’t take the luxury of sleepless, neck-breaking journey by bus. But as usual, no seats available again. Heck! We booked bus again, but this time AC, sleeper and we tried the private travels, KPN. This one was much better and though the roads were rough with pot holes, resting our back straight on sleeper seats was much comfier.
So, this was it…much I could recollect from my first girls’ tour was our two different bus journey experience from Chennai to Kanyakumari, then Kanyakumari to Kerala. If you too have such unforgettable bus experience/s, do not hesitate to share with us.