Travelling with two friends in the south of India was the experience of a lifetime! Our plan was essentially to go to Pondicherry, but friends convinced us to go to Kodaikanal as well. Buses to and from Kodai were very frequent, so we were willing to try it out.
Going to Kodai was longer than we imagined. We did not get a direct bus from Pondicherry. We had been told to go to Madurai, but that was far too, farther than we’d been mentally prepared for. Finally, we took a bus to Vettalakundu, a place we had never heard of. We got another crowded bus from there to Kodaikanal… Never mind. Kodai was beautiful, so once we got there, we were happy enough.
After that, though, began the nightmare of getting back to Chennai to catch our flight back to Kolkata. On day two at Kodai, we went cheerfully to book tickets on any bus to Chennai – and discovered that no buses at all were available. None to Chennai, none to Vettalakundu, none to Madurai, none to Dindigul, none to Coimbatore – in fact, none at all. Growing more stressed with each passing second, we took some time off to think about it.
“How about Bangalore?” one of us suggested. The idea was exciting – an unexpected extension to our holiday plans!
We trudged back to the depot through an incessant drizzle to ask about the availability of buses to Bangalore.
Of course there were none.
There were tickets available on a train that day, but none for the day we wanted. We were still willing to sacrifice our Kodai stay in the hope of catching our flight back to Kolkata, so we had all but decided to book, when an agent came and told us that three bus tickets to Bangalore were available for the day we wanted! Relieved, we grabbed the opportunity. We paid far more than the regular fare, but the agent told us clearly – that was his commission for getting us seats that were impossible to procure.
We were content.
It was only when we got to the depot to catch our bus to Bangalore that we discovered that our promised bus was not from Kodaikanal at all! We were piled into a minibus that drove blissfully down hill-slopes in the pouring rain towards another place I had never heard of – Tiruppur. A dear friend in fashion tells me Tiruppur is very famous for textiles, but I didn’t know that then! It was just the back of beyond for me!
The rain was unexpected, and despite the driver’s efforts to keep us at the edge of our seats, we were running late. The driver and conductor conversed contentedly about whether we would make the bus from Tiruppur or not. The driver laughed and drove faster.
The bus waited for us, thankfully.
We reached Bangalore without rolling off any hill-slopes along the way; what else can I say?