Sunday, February 21, 2010

Romancing with the Buzzz Station!

Place: Jaipur
Month- Mid Feb

Cold breeze sweeps on this road here. I pull on the cap of my Adidas pullover and then give a look at my watch, it says 11 pm. I'm still not feeling sleepy even after a a busy day. May be because I'm staying all alone in the hotel. After a chat with few Nepali stewards at the hotel, I stroll down this narrow galli that leads to the Polo Victory road. It's mid Feb, and Jaipur is still so cold.

The silent galli ends for the Polo Victory Road.colored with bright Golden street-lamps. Crowded, loud, bright, with road-sided dhabas and restaurants opened 24/7, its' what this road is all about.

Crispy dry cold breeze reminds me of my office's Air-conditioner going wild. I'm just strolling down the street looking the road-side multi-cuisine dhabas. Very Next to me is Sindhi Camp, funny name, but this what is the busy jam-packed Jaipur Bus terminal named as.

I walk briskly walk into Sindhi Camp. As my feet force s me to the bus platforms, the intensity of noise and human voices increases. 

loud chaiwalas, Himachal Pradesh's Apple-Juice counter and I halt! 

"A glass please"
"Yes Sirji, here you're"

Break Break Break...a question to anyone reading this blog- These H.P.'s Apple Juice centers at various Railway, bus stations around the country, are they really an initiative of the H.P. Govt, and are these cheap 8 INR per glass juice, really the apple drink? I remebber, our Cab Driver during the Manali, Shimla trip, who was laso our local guide at times,lol, was telling us that the apples are too cheap there, a big huge box costs just a  whooping 30 INR. Whether it's Ahmedabad's railway station, Bandra and CST Terminus, Jaipur's Sindhi Camp, wherever you're they are on.

After a great glass of apple treat, I move ahead buying myself a cream-roll. I give a look at the watch again, Its quarter to 12 now.

"Haridwar Delhi Haridwar", "Nathdwara Udaipur Kankroli", "Gurgaona-Delhi", "Rohtak"  , ..loud creepy voices rule the terminus.

To my surprise, I find buses for al the places in North, which always looked far and far to me from Western, Central and Eastern part of the country. Jaipur, being one of the most important tourist destinations, seems well connected. Buses for everywhere, Srinagar to Shimla, Manali to Merta City, Udaipur to Ujjain, Kalka to Chandigarh. anywhere in North.

Rings my fone..."Hey?" 
"Hi Shashi! Happy Birthday".
"Sucker! It's not today.. u the earliest, it's tomorrow. Thank God, I was awake Ashu, rest u were dead"

I look amazingly at the bus station, people and people around. On seats, below seats, sleeping, talking, laughing, even breaking winds and Roaring the ZZzzzzzzzssss while napping.

"Sir, Have to go to Ahmedabad day after tomorrow in the late hours. Buses for the city?"

"Got one at 10.00pm and a Volvo at 11pm"

"Whats the fair for them?"

"Sir?" "Sir??" "Sir???"- Jaipur and most of the country ki adadat, all the govt and civic services employees, short and sweet! ha ha.

Watch shouts 1 AM now.

My message tone rings. Niraj Patel sends "LOAFER aur OFFER mein kya farak hai? Batao toh chavani dunga. Ladka Ladki ko propose kare toh LOAFER aur Ladki kare toh OFFER!" Cool messages like these from Niraj storm my message book these days.

 I move to the other section of the terminus, exclusively for North-Bound buses."Manali Manali"..."Shimla......Shimla", "Sundernagar.....Sundernagar"

And moving ahead, I move to the executive class of the Rajasthan State Roadways Terminus (RSRTC). The Gold-Line, Silver-Line marked, well trimmed, washed decorated buses. The shops on this side are also not normal thellas, like the other sections. You have a Narula's here, a NesCafe Outlet, well-groomed waiting rooms.

I move to the Enquiry Counter.

"Got to go to Ahmedabad day after tomorrow, can you let me know the fare and timings of the buses?"

Unlike the previous encounter with a RSRTC Official at the enquiry Office, for whom, just to listen to his break-way voice, hoards of people were waiting, and he was still unmoved. 

This person politiely answers- "Sir! Bus will leave at 9.30. It's a Volvo Bus to Ahmedabad. You will Reach Ahmedabad at 9.30 am sharp. The fair is 950 INR. I suggest you better buy the ticket now, as the bus suddenly gets packed."

Surprised and feeling nothing less than a king by his gestures towards me, I feel I'm on Cloud 9.

I move to the ticket counter and stand in the queue. The same person points at me - "Sirji, Please fill the enquiry form before standing in the queue, rest, you may have to go round again and stand."

"Form? Reservation Form?" Just Like the Railways?"- I gesture

"Ha Ha! Yes Sir"

The scene here is quite executive. The feeling you get in this section makes you feel you're special. Rajasthan is always known for the hospitality given to outsiders. You see it all here. Padahro Mahare Desh

But, the previous sections, normal running buses aren't groomed the same way. Why? I just don't get it? The tickets and fares for those buses aren't cheap either. We blame the large Indian population for this. But, Gosh! Gimme a Break! Aren't the ones traveling by Volvos a part of the same populous crowd? 

The Jaipur bus Terminus is lively, cool, fun to be. But, a sea-change in approach for the normal platforms and executive platforms is different. Foreign nationals to travel by the normal buses. If we can take care of one part at a dead-end kind of approach, why not the same for other class of buses? It's just an example of our approach. May be the crowd make it dirty and messy again, may be they like keeping public places dirty, may be. My be, in few hours the  mess and dirt is there all over again. But lets try keeping them clean once, Let's give it a try. I truely understand that population and the people's approach is very annoying. But sanitize and keep the other sections clean once, and make the people understand that keeping them so would be and is good for them. We don't do it, and rest blame the population again and again.

Rest, you guys, do answer my Himachal Pradesh apple juice counters wala question?

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