I was in the [V] office today. And as is ritual, the first thing I did was barge into Sheetal’s room. There were other people there… she was having a ‘meeting’. Sure. I could come back later. So I went and met a whole bunch of peeps, ate some grapes and then sauntered back into her office.
“So are we doing this trip in summer or what?”
Now every summer I make plans with her to go somewhere.
And so far we’ve gone nowhere.
“Lets go to Corsica” – She always has these fancy sounding places she visits. Corsica, Viaques & some such.
Yeah. Corsica sounded good. Sure.
But I really wanted to go somewhere with her because I want to write about our trip. (Yes, I’m obsessed with writing these days. Everything revolves around it. I give it 3 more weeks.)
So I told her that and she said – What about that Goa trip we did, for Mike’s birthday?
– Oh please Sheets. I’ll never write about a Goa trip. Ever.
And so, I’m going to write about this little 3 day trip we made for Mike’s birthday.
I don’t know whose idea it was but we were all just slothing it out at Sheetal’s & someone had a brainwave about going to Goa for Mike’s birthday. I think there was some alcohol involved because it was a very loud plan.
“DUDE THAT’S THE BEST PLAN EVER.”
“WE SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS.”
“LET’S NOT TELL ANYONE.”
“YEAH!!!!! JUST THE FIVE OF US.”
“THIS IS THE BEST PLAN IN THE WORLD.”
Well, it was set in stone. And we figured we might as well.
Plus Sabelo was in town (Sheets’ best friend from New York) & there’s general merriment when Sabelo’s around.
Now, during the screaming match I remember being the asshole who mentioned taking a train. And everyone thought that that was a novel idea. And Mike said he’d take care of it & figure reservation etc.
Everybody had a busy couple of weeks & I was traveling, but closer to our ‘train trip’ I remember asking if we’d got our tickets. And someone mentioned about not getting tickets for the train because it was full up and something about us taking a ‘bus.’
You know when every part of your body becomes cold and you feel woozy… yeah, that happened.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against buses. I have traveled heaps in them. To Goa, even. I just have a problem with sleeper buses.
So I remember speaking really fast into the phone “Bus? what kind of bus? Sleeper bus? We can’t take a sleeper bus? Has he booked tickets already? Did it say sleeper or seater? Is it half reclining or sleeper? You don’t know anything about sleeper buses? Are you there? Hullo?”
No one seemed to notice my panic. No one. They just thought I was being prissy. “Sleeper is more comfortable than going sitting up Juhi. Stop freaking out.”
So I gave up. I decided I wouldn’t worry. I had done this before. I had experience.
So, the day came. 10 p.m bus from Sion.
We took a cab from Bandra.
Sheetal, Sabelo, Mike, Malini & me.
We got to Sion & bought enough food and water to last a nuclear winter. Someone even bought a nailclipper (just incase zombies attacked.)
Our bus was late and the bus people told us that we had to go somewhere else to catch it and it was a bit of a walk.
4 girls, 1 boy & 37 pieces of luggage. OH GOD.
We got to the real bus stop finally and after about 10 minutes our Volvo bus pulled in. It looked so shiny & clean from outside. These guys gave me the ‘you’re so paranoid, Juhi’ look.
Mike was the first to go in.
But he came right out.
See, a sleeper bus has beds. Ok, well, they’re are planks which we will call beds. About two & a half feet wide and about 6 feet in length. And its a bunk bed kinda deal. So – aisle – bed on either side – and bed on top of bed. And TWO PEOPLE PER BED.
Now we were five of us. 4 girls. One boy.
Which meant Mike had to share his bed.
One look at his ‘bed partner’ and Michael knew it was going to be an uncomfortable night.
Malini & I decided to take the upper bunk & Sheets & Sabelo, the opposite upper bunk.
We split the luggage between us.
15 minutes into the ride, Mike decided he was not gonna travel with FatUncleWithB.O and leapt onto the upper bunk.
So now, its Mike, Sabelo, Sheetal & bags on one bunk (refer to dimensions again to realize the actual discomfort level) & Malini & me on the other bunk. That’s until they gave us all the luggage to even things out.
I have never been that uncomfortable in my entire life. I kid you not.
But we figured 8 hours of this couldn’t be all that bad, right?
We had uno. We had headphones. We had books.
How bad could it be?
Well, for one, it was actually a 15 hour journey.
Don’t ask me how and why.
It just was.
And secondly there were limbs & backpacks everywhere. And after about 2 hours of this, everyone’s sense of adventure started to wear thin. So there was a layer of doom shrouding all of us. Uno got boring, couldn’t read the stupid books cos of the shaky bus, music made everyone nauseous. We figured we *had* to sleep if we had to survive this ride.
I think I got a couple of hours of sleep right before dawn and I was sleeping near the window & almost got my nose frostbitten. Does anyone know how cold it can get around Goa at dawn in February? Malini & I do.
So, anyway, to cut a long story short, after 15 hours we hit Goa, looking like train wrecks.
And we knew, that no matter what we did after that ride, it would seem like absolute luxury.
“Sir there is no taxi, you have to travel by moped.” – “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
“Sir, no food, you have to eat furniture.” – “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
“Sir, no accommodation, you have to roast in sun” – “yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
“Sir, *slap*” – “Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
The rest of the trip was super. Mike’s birthday was stellar. We ate, we drank, we swam….. and like good kids, took a flight back to Bombay.
And since, have never taken a ‘sleeper bus’ to Goa.
P.s – I want to talk about my awesomeness now – Not once did I say ‘I told you so’ to these guys.