Missing the bus

bus 2

We left our hotel in Porbandar before dawn and joined people waiting in the darkness at a ticket agency on MG Road. Several coaches were waiting nearby, but not ours. Two of them left, partially filled with passengers. Soon after they had gone, a man with baggage appeared. He had just missed one of the buses that we saw departing. The woman manning the desk at the agency hailed a passing autorickshaw, and then hurried the late passenger into it before making a ‘phone call to the driver of the bus that had gone. She told him to wait for the auto to catch up with the bus so that the tardy person could embark. I could not imagine this happening at London’s Victoria Coach Station.

bus 1

Our bus arrived. It was the same model as the one in which we had travelled from Junagadh. Moments before the driver climbed into his seat, a uniformed policeman entered the bus and placed two garlands with yellow flowers close to the steering wheel. Then, he disappeared on his motorcycle. The driver boarded. Before starting the engine, he arranged one of the garlands on two hooks above the centre of the windscreen so that it was draped around the rear-view mirror, and he placed the other around a small Hindu idol housed in a transparent Perspex box on the centre of the dashboard. Finally, he lit two agarbatti, which he stuck in a holder near the deity. A piece of plastic was stuck above the central rear-view mirror. It had words in Urdu script written on it. A sign behind the driver’s seat and facing the passengers was written in Gujarati script. My wife read this, and then told me that the words on it expressed (in Urdu transliterated into Gujarati script) Islamic sentiments of good intent. This bus was owned by the same people who operated the bus on which we had travelled from Junagadh, a Muslim family. Our driver was Hindu. The first aid box on the bus looked familiar. It was dirty and broken and hung at an odd angle from one of its hooks above the driver’s seat. When I saw this …

bus 3

Read more about Adam Yamey’s adventures and discoveries in Gujarat, Daman, and Diu, either in  a lovely paperback (buy a copy HERE) or on your Kindle (download a copy HERE )

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