Third time's a charm? Oh! Well.. you'll see.
1. Destination - Rishikesh ✓
2. 3 Crazy girls ✓
3. Catch the bus to Rishikesh ... Umm. Okay.
6:30 pm (Noida)
This is the place where I work. Running scripts vigorously so that I can leave for a trip which I have been dreaming for 7 years. Now, don't get me wrong, Rishikesh wasn't my dream destination, but traveling in an all-girls trio with my soul sisters to some place nice has been one.
I manage to leave my workplace and do last minute packing at my place. I have been running late since my RM has been an A-hole. However, I manage to meet my girls at 8:15 pm and we book a cab to the metro. We shove ourselves inside the cab, my friend starts stuffing w**d between her boobs, I am mixing whisky inside a plastic bottle with coke and my other friend is contacting the bus operator because today we have a strong feeling that we might just miss our bus.
By the time we reached the station, we have contacted the operator to hold the bus for us (to which he replied that it'll leave sharp at 9:35 pm after waiting for 5mins), we have hidden the stuff in the right places, and have created a cocktail that'll make us dizzy in the bus.
We somehow run and catch the train. I am constantly checking the Delhi Metro App as to how much time it is going to take us to reach Kashmere Gate and every time it tells me 40 mins. It is 9:00 pm and to that if I add those such constant mins, there will be literally much wow on our trip. My friends are kidding about us missing the bus, and we have all sorts of jokes going on. We have specifically shopped for this trip (we had matching trekking bags -_- ) and I was in no mood to start the trip by missing a bus.
We went underground at some point and had to switch trains. At this point it’s 9:25 pm, 10 more mins and we might never be able to catch this bus. There are four more stations before we reach our destination. I am praying to the universe to send the train ASAP!! We board the second train.
The announcement is finally made - “the doors will open on the right”, and I swoop through the crowd, running, hopping, striding steadily through a vacant platform, check out and climb the staircase as fast as possible. I look behind and my friends try to catch up with me. I'll introduce you to my friends, but right now I have a bus to catch :P.
We had decided to distribute the work - I'll run and catch the bus, hold the bus for them, my friends will buy snacks, cold drinks and cigarettes. I am asking roadside vendors for directions and frantically running on the road (I was boarding a bus from Kashmere gate for the first time). I am running like a Ninja, crossing dividers and finally I find the check-in gates. I pass through the crowds and call the driver, ask him where the bus is. I am panting, the reception is bad, but I somehow understand the directions. I continue to run. The driver asks me to reach the exit gate where the buses depart. At this point I have no clue where my girls are. A bus passes right by me at the exit gate and past that I see the bus-conductor collecting his slips from a counter. I meet him, catch my breath and ask him which bus is it. He points to the one right in front of me. I call my girls, direct them to find me, I do a weird dance of hands in the air so that they can locate me. Finally they spot me and I am standing right in front of the bus just to ensure we all board the bus together.
My girls join me and we board the bus, load the luggage - one of us had a trolley too! Everyone else is seated, we take a sigh of relief that finally we made it. We feel rejoiced and then try to settle. We look for our seats and one of them is already occupied. My friend kindly asks the gentleman to get up, and he does. We then look for the second seat and its vacant, so my friend secures that one. The third one is also occupied and when I ask the fellow traveler to give me back my seat, he says it’s his seat. I ask for the ticket, he shows me a message. I check the date - correct, the seat number - correct. I ask the conductor to look into it. My booking was via RedBus - and at times online bookings can clash - I knew this is one such case. But its not making sense. I ask the conductor this bus is for Rishikesh right? There is a unanimous roar that yells out loud - this bus goes to Dehradun!
Our minds are in a tiff. What the fuck happened. All this marathon led to boarding the wrong bus??? The driver pointed to this bus, and I had confirmed it twice from him which one is it exactly. He had said a fucking YES to this one!! We ask them to stop, and take us back, but they refuse to do so. Instead they drop us in the middle of a fly over. I have no clue where we are exactly. I call the driver again and yell at him. He taunts me that am I a fool to not read a big Dehradun written on a dirty board and shabbily placed behind a windshield. He asks me to stay put, and my girls are behind me knowing for sure that there is no way we will get on the bus to Rishikesh. I run back towards the bus station and see a bus coming in the opposite direction.
Finally the bus stops, I board the bus (this time the right one). My girls behind me notice and jog towards the bus. At last we find three vacant seats, a bus going to Rishikesh and three girls breathing their lungs out.
We are amazed at our luck! Now let me introduce you to my girls, now that we have all settled in.
Meet Damballa - another name for the devil. She is smart, strong, witty and gutsy. Works in an MNC, is a shopaholic, somewhat a stoner and has been my survival kit for over 7 years now. As you'll read, you'd know Damballa a little more.
Now the other one has a mind of the devil and a heart of an angel. She is Ronove. Ronove is stronger in the mind, she is chirpy all the time, but harsh to reality. She is basically beauty with brains. Almost impossible to get her into peer pressure, her opinions are strong and even after 7 years of friendship, this trip made me discover her a little more.
So Damballa, Ronove and I cuddle together in two seats (Ronove is quite skinny). We talk and drink in the bus. While the bus travels through Karnal and roads we are not even aware of, we talk. We talk about guys, love, life, office, family and in general everything we have not been able to catch upto because of our perfunctory lives.
By the time the bus stops Ronove was tipsy, my bladder was full and Damballa was hungry. We ate some good chinese. JanRath buses are quite comfy and cheap. Value for money and their stoppages are at decent places where a female can use the washroom comfortably.
A 30 min stoppage and we resume our journey. I chuckle to that thought and take my seat. This time we doze of into oblivion in our dreams.
When the bus halted we realized we need more jackets and we had arrived at the Rishikesh bus stop.