I have no idea how people spend weekend in Mumbai. “You should go to town (means south Mumbai which is tourist place) or “go to Bandra for shopping”. These suggestions are common to hear for first holiday. I’ve already been to both of places, so what about second plan? Then I tried visiting Pune to see some friends on Saturday and Sunday. “Are you crazy?” Everyone, even my Indian manager said to me when I met him at office next day because it takes 5 hours from Andheri to Pune at least. “How is it possible going there for only two days?” But in my opinion, crazy thing was made by Indian, not by me as usual.
I woke up 5 a.m. on Saturday and took Rikisha to Andheri station which is closest station from my flat. It was still dark in the early morning but once I reached station, I saw many people. Then, I took train to Dadar station for 30 minutes and tried to find bus to Pune. After walking few meters, there were many agencies which provide bus to Pune. Actually, the place was that I had come in July. Each bus has different destination in Pune. I had to find the one which go to Pune railway station. A guy suggested me one bus and I was asked to go to the place where bus pick me up after buying a ticket. The bus seemed not same with photo which the agency showed me. Not so clean and A/C was not working well. But I have already been getting used to this kind of situation. I just made sure the destination and the bus left to Pune railway station as last bus stop. The bus had full of customers.
After one hour, when the bus passed Vashi, a woman suddenly asked driver to stop the bus. She spoke in Hindi but I could understand she was complaining about quality of bus. According to a girl who sat next to me, she claimed they had to return money and prepare another bus because this bus was totally different from the one she had been told from agency. No good seat and no A/C. The driver stopped the bus with full of customers. People started to discuss something and checked their bus ticket each other. “This driver and conductor are cheater!” Somebody said. People had different companies bus ticket each other. The conductor collected our ticket and made us get on their original bus which has no good quality. I guess, they could get money from agency by showing them our ticket. I asked some guys what happened exactly but the answer had never been expected. “The driver and conductor run away.” We were on highway. Of course, nobody could drive the bus. “So what should we do?” I asked guys. “Another bus will come to pick us up after one hour later.”
So what will you decide if you face this situation? You are on highway in India, you do not have enough time to enjoy your holiday, and people said you have to wait for one hour. I decided not to wait another bus. One hour is really dangerous sentence in India; it can be two hours or more. A young girl next to me said, “I need to reach Pune until 11 a.m. anyhow.” It was a moment I found a company to overcome this situation then I start to get any car which was going to Pune on highway. A young guy told me “I have a car with A/C. I charge you Rs 250 (= 385 yen/ USD 5. The bus ticket was Rs 220. My delivery lunch costs around Rs 100 every day.) for each.” I exactly did not know where the guy came up from. “Do you think it is safe? We do not know that guy.” A girl said to me. But I was sure that I could find another company from our bus. “We will go with you but you can get other guys who want you to take them to Pune as well. Why don’t you get back to our bus and find another people?” I suggested to him. Then we could get more two guys and it meant good deal for him for money and for us for safety. Of course, A/C was not working in his car as I expected, he had said his car had though. My first priority was clear, getting to Pune without any waste of time. I bought time but not quality.
We reached Pune railway station after two hours as the driver promised. He could get Rs 1000 as charge from us and we could reach on time. “What an adventurous day!” Even an Indian guy who shared the car with me said at last. On Monday, my manager gave me a caution. “Kaori, Don’t do hitchhike in India. This is not Japan.” Well, but I’ve never done hitchhike in my country. I did not need to do in organized country like Japan. This thing happened because of India, didn’t it? After two weeks in Mumbai, this experience reminded me I’m in India now like last year…What a lovely country, here is???