I am well within the safe confines of my estate in Mallandur as I write this post, but there’s nothing like chronicling a well-deserved vacation… is there? BTW there is no network in the estate, hence all posts would have been up on the site a few days later.
Leaving Bangalore on December 16, was an experience by itself. Haggled with the auto-driver, a fiftyish looking man who talked to me in chaste Urdu before switching to Kannada when he realised it was a local hog he was talking to. After settling for 160 bucks (starting from 180) to take me to Majestic, we began chatting on the way about old Bangalore and our pasts and where we came from. Mutual exchanges helped us settle down in our respective seats and before we knew it we were in Majestic, even as the poor old man’s wife kept calling him to find out when he would be back home.
The rickshaw-driver was a lorry driver in his younger days and had made quite a few trips to Mangalore. He now plied his trade on the roads of the city but business was hardly profitable and with the metro coming up in Bangalore things looked even more bleak.
I got down at Majestic intending to tip the guy 10 bucks extra despite haggling with him at the start of the journey, but boy oh boy, he turns the tables on me by refusing to take anything extra and returns the 10 rupees from the initially decided amount. “You are a person with a good heart son. The day’s end was bearable because of you”, was his response.
A lovely start to a vacation. I jump into it with a ‘good’ heart.
Majestic brings out the best and the worst in people. Best – when people look all happy and zippy cause they are all going home. Worst – cause I saw a couple (dunno if they were married) fighting it out in front of the entrance of the bus stand and the girl just throws the bag and ticket on the ground as the guy sheepishly tries to soothe her nerves. A father haggles with his wife and pinches the kids cause they are sticking on to their mom and blames the wife for spoiling them. The father seems like a lout and drunkard and the rest of the family appear to be mortally afraid of him. Ha… life goes on.
I get into the Mercedes Benz bus. Doesn’t look well kept from out, but the inside turns out to be quite comfortable with lots of leg space. Get a VIP to sit in front of me – CT Ravi, who is the MLA from Chikmagalur district. He keeps to himself. A boy comes along with him… looks like his son.
Bus surprisingly has its share of PYTs. Surprising… cause it’s Chikmagalur… an old, dusty hick town that we always avoid when we go to the estate by taking a bypass via Aldur. I would expect these to drive down… but what the hell this is a Merc bus and I am definitely not complaining.
Off we go…