Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reality Movie

Often we find ourselves in engrossed in escapism through a movie that takes us to unknown countries and through unknown experiences.  And then we move to India and realize that what we had only previously seen in movies is a reality for millions of people every day.  Should some eyeball rolling feel appropriate right now, I assure you I will stay as shallow as a pee-warmed kiddie pool. 

I was lucky enough to recently garner an invitation to the village marriage of my friend Jarnail's cousin.  While the marriage was lovely and simple enough, getting there played out differently.  First, it required me to miss my train while standing on the platform that said train supposedly arrived on.  I think dumkopf is the right word for this moment.  Honestly, to this date, I still do not know if the train actually arrived.  A trip to the train station agent produced no sympathy and some scant directions on how to obtain a ticket for the next train - TWELVE HOURS LATER.  A phone call to my friend Jarnail had the larger ROI and provided me with sufficient info to proceed to the Bypass where I could catch a bus to Nawashar where I would meet him and continue on the trip to his village.  

Feeling satisfied about the charges quoted by the auto driver, I went on my merry, carbon monoxide-filled way to the Bypass.  When I arrived at the Bypass, however, I was a bit surprised to find the auto driver demanding more than the Rs. 20 I gave him.  I thought it strange that he had quoted me the odd prices of Rs 18, but I let it go.  My ear for picking up the India accent still needs work because he was trying to charge me Rs 80.  80!!!  The trip should have cost no more than Rs 10, but I had not felt like arguing over 8 rupees.  But this man was trying to charge me Rs 80.  By this time, a significant crowd was encircling my auto, fear was creeping up my already sweaty neck and I was willing the situation to de-escalate enough so that I could escape.  It did, but only after an angry passer-by decided the auto driver needed a firm, lesson-learning slap to the face with the butt of his hand.  The presence of the police officer made no difference.  

Once I finally fell onto the bus (These busses barely stop for riders, so it's hurry the hell up or get out the way) the ride to the village was heart-stopping.  I was seated about 3 inches away from the front window (2 inches if you measured from the end of my nose) with a front row seat to the near-misses and collisions with overloaded trucks and busses and a clear view of the driver whose eyes I swear were drooping shut every time I dared a peak.  I've posted a few videos to try to capture the essence of the Punjabi music mixed with the musical horns of Punjabi busses.  

On the bus



  1. How much did you end up paying to the taxi driver?

  2. I paid him just Rs 20 and then got the hell out of there.