I was feeling immensely satisfied after locating both the houses of late Jayant Bhai and Bhabhi. Now I had to start my onward journey to other destinations. I had left Mumbai with four places in mind to visit; Vidyanagar, Patan, Modhera and Jasmalnath ji Temple. So, next destination had to be Patan, as it was most important, due to Rani ki Vav. This was really something that I was very keen to experience. As per the deal, auto dropped me at the Anand bus-depot. I paid him and went straight to the enquiry counter. I asked the man about schedule for Patan buses. He said in a day there are only 2 buses for Patan and the last one has just left. I was well prepared for any such situations. I asked about Modhera. I was told to sit in a bus parked in Bay-6. I did that promptly. As the bus was empty, I selected a window seat and kept my tiny roller bag on top. I got some snacks and a bottle of water. There was no time to have lunch. Taking the first available bus was a priority. The bus was not in a great shape, but that hardly mattered. All state roadways buses all over are like this only. Not that they are, not-usable but just they are ‘not air-conditioned and not luxury’, although seats are soft and cushioned. I was surprised with the efficiency of the staff. Drivers and conductors in all the buses I experienced never wasted even a second at any stop. As soon as people got off, new ones got in and he got his papers signed by the authorities at the depot, bus moved out.
Although traveling by bus in some parts of India can be challenging, especially when the buses are old and in poor condition. It’s important to keep in mind that people in rural areas rely on public transport as their primary mode of travel, and ST buses are a lifeline for communities in such areas. These people are used to these buses. They would find AC or luxury buses forbidding.
Any way. Bus moved out of the depot and hit the rural landscape in just a few minutes. These days, Indian roads are a sight to behold. They are like, they were never so good in my entire life time. Now the uncertain part. The bus was not going to Patan. Enquiry told me that I have to go to Mehsana in this bus and take another bus from there. I was told there are many buses to Patan from there. First time in life, I had left home with a very different state of mind. Completely relaxed, un-panicked about whether I will get a bus or not. What will I do if there are no buses? Nothing bothered.
To top it all my phone was giving trouble. I realized much later that money in my phone had run out. I didn’t even think about it. My friend in Mumbai knew that I am having trouble with phone. So, she kept calling me and letting me also call her to get important messages, if any. At Mehsana I stepped out of the bus and entered another one that would drop me at Patan in about 1.15 hr. I checked the time. It would be past sun-set when I would reach there. My friend had searched for a hotel in Patan for me, ‘The Grand Piano’. It sounded good. So I settled for it. Finally, after a 6-7 hour bus travel and no proper food, I saw the words written across a large board, ‘Welcome to the World heritage city of Patan’. An auto driver called me out, ‘where?’ I said, ‘Grand Piano’. He said ‘60’. I said, ‘okay’. That was the best answer to give when you are tired, hungry and don’t know the distances.
At about 8.15 pm, there I was; bathed, in fresh clothes, in an AC room of the Hotel Grand Piano. First thing I did was to get their Wi-Fi password. So I could communicate. Room service delivered my dinner that looked like heaven. I sent a pic of the food to π.
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