If you’re going to India, you’ll probably find yourself on a bus at some point, so here’s a little look into what it’s like on those long, bumpy bus rides across India. 🙂
Three hours into the 14-hour bus ride, I was jerked out of a light sleep as our bus screeched to a stop. Just a few feet in front of us was another coach bus, bright lights shining into the faces of the sleepy passengers, narrowly missing a nasty collision. To my left, I looked over the edge of a mountain, where death certainly waited if both of our drivers had not been alert enough to stop immediately.
The drive from Rishikesh to Manali proceeded with constant bumps, jerks, and narrow collisions with other vehicles or animals.
I started to become convinced that our bus driver had always wanted to become a NASCAR driver, but instead was stuck driving passengers on journeys lasting hours.
He used the horn like a child enthralled with a toy. To retain your sanity as a passenger, you try your best to become deaf to the piercing noise. But you also have to remember that that horn is what prevents you from sliding off the mountain as it quickly alerts other drivers of your presence.
And the music. The loud Bollywood music. Yea it sounds like the driver is in a club with gigantic speakers and not behind the wheel, but if it keeps him awake, then it’s worth it.
Throughout the night, your body involuntarily sways to the Bollywood music as the wheels fly over bumps. And your head bumps to the music too – in the form of physically hitting the hard window.
The countryside passes by and eventually you’re awake at the pleasant hour of 4:50 a.m., just as the sun begins its ascent and the light creeps across the landscapes. And even in remote villages, the world is still turning, as evident by the stream of people awake and at work at all hours of the day.
Soon enough, you’re stopping for chai, your bus parked on the edge of a hill. The restful stop lasts around 20 minutes before the bus engine spurs to a start.
And within another hour, the bus slows down, letting you know you’ve arrived in Manali, but with an added bump on your head.
*Disclaimer: I’ve been on multiple bus rides across India, and though a few were like the one I mentioned above, not every bus ride is a hard one. But every one IS a memorable experience!