We returned yesterday (20th June) from Nainital. Earlier we had been to Kausani and Almora. We left Manipal on the 11th morning at 9.30 to Bangalore. I don’t remember when we last went to Bangalore by the day bus. We passed Puttur, Madikeri and Chennarayapatna and Adichunchanagiri, the Shiradi ghat route is closed. This is a longer route. In many places we see fields for miles and a hamlet and then fields again. In our place this is not so. Houses and fields are together.
We reached Kuvara’s (my husband) cousin’s house in Rajajinagar at 8 o’clock.
On the 12th morning after breakfast we went by Uber taxi to the airport. The driver, Gundu, was talking non-stop. He was enjoying himself and we were getting a lot of interesting information. His name in his ID card is written as Gunda ( In India a hooligan or a ruffian is called gunda), and because of this he faced a lot of problems. He had to run about a lot to get the spelling mistake corrected. Then one passenger told him a name is just a name after all, why worry about it. Now he has stopped trying to get the spelling corrected. 😊 Our aeroplane to Delhi took off at 11.20. I like looking at the clouds below us. It is always fascinating. The sunrays on the wing of the plane took me to another world.
We reached Delhi at 1.45. After collecting our luggage we proceeded towards the Delhi Airport Express metro. We were in Delhi after nearly twenty years. We had booked a hotel room for a few hours as our bus to our next destination, Haldwani, in the state of Uttarakhand was only at 9.30 in the night. Our hotel was not far from Chelmsford Road and State Entry Road where we had lived in the railway quarters. Doddamma, there have been so many changes in Manipal in the last thirty years, we were expecting a lot of changes in Delhi too. The changes saddened me. Seeing the houses were we had lived and the garden in the centre of Connaught place made me feel sick. There was stillness in spite of the traffic, the stillness of death and not of life. The pollution was so bad that even the sun could not penetrate through the smoke and dust. And this was the place where forty years ago we used to come for a walk most evenings with ajja (grandfather). The high temperature and the pollution seemed to be draining life from us. We were very hungry and asked a girl about a simple eating place nearby. She was very nice, she told an auto driver to take us to a nearby dhaba (a small hotel). The roti and dal were very tasty.
We walked back to the hotel, had a bath and left for the bus station in another auto. It took us nearly an hour. The driver was telling us about Delhi and how it had changed over the years. He said the pollution was much less now !! I cannot even imagine how it could have been earlier. Anand Vihar bus station was very crowded. I think living in a small place has spoiled us.
Our bus left at 10. The coach was not a good one and the AC was not functioning. Many of the passengers were getting angry and scolding the conductor. He too got angry and said ,compared with the outside temperature, it was cooler inside !!
A young passenger, Nitin, sitting next to Kuvara was very nice. We got talking. He works in Noida and was going to his home town in Bhimtaal in the hills. Taal means lake in the Kumaoni language. At about 12, the driver stopped the bus and said a belt in the engine had broken. We waited there for nearly two hours. It was near a petrol station, all the passengers got down, it was so hot inside. Another passenger, Divansh, had studied in Manipal, he came and talked to us. He had seen Aravinda in his department. A strange situation, some of us getting to know each other middle of the night.
After two hours we started again. When it was nearing 4, some of the passengers started saying they could smell something burning. All of us got down and removed our luggage. We were near a place called Gadh Mukteshwar. It was nearing 4 and many auto rickshaws were going by. All of us went to the nearest bus stand. The buses coming there were full and we had more than four hours of journey left. We, Nitin and one more passenger hired a taxi to Haldwani. We reached the place at about 10. A very eventful journey indeed. Nitin helped us a lot, without him it would have been very difficult for us. Some people come into our lives unexpectedly and become a part of our memories. In Haldwani, he arranged a taxi for us to go to Almora.
More in my next letter doddamma. Our landline is not working properly. I will call as soon as it is repaired. I just got a message from Nitin that Uttarakhand Road transport had refunded some money to his account.
With lots of love,
On a good note.
It was not raining
The bus arrived on time
Our journey to Bangalore
Took us through different places
Villages and towns we had not seen
Day long journey but not a boring one.” (Etheree poem)
[ My letters to my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife, my favourite relative have helped me to keep an account of my daily life. Everyday-life need not be exciting, but they make us what we are. My doddamma too enjoys my letters. She is 87 and I cannot tell her everything on the phone. I send her photos along with the mail, her daughter-in-law or her son read them to her and show her the photos. The internet has changed our lives so much. We can keep in touch with our near and dear ones, if we want to. 😊 I have made some changes while posting in Slice of Life. ]
“Sunrays on the wing
Reflected the light above,
While the clouds beneath
Told us we were far away
From Mother Earth below us.” (Tanka)