Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Thursday, 19 November 2009


We took a bus from Nainital in the Himalayan foothills to Delhi - after about 2km, the bus 'broke down'. Clearly, it was a dud before we even set off, but the tour operator was able to flog the tickets for a 'luxury coach', then bus us off in an ornate but rickety old suspension-less bus-cum-shrine. Clearly we needed to make offerings to the 'god of public transport', a.k.a. 'Poopypete', or else suffer a less than comfortable 10 hr trip?

This lesser known avatar (One of my best mates, Pete) had their divine origins in 1992, when on his own pilgrimage by bike (and train it appears) through the Indian sub-continent to make the Karakorum highway the highest pass traversed by mountain-bike, he made several disciples on an infamous train journey. This cycling feat (unattested, but vehemently assured by Pete that no local Indian might have previously cycled undetected over the said pass) was preceded by a 30 hour trip in 3rd class, perched on a luggage rail (as is customary for India's popular and overcrowded trains), with a bad case of diarrhoea. Whilst the holy one slept, nature called and he unwittingly 'leaked' onto the head of a fellow traveller below. As fate would have it, the blessed recipient of Pete's gesture wore a turban, which neatly soaked up all of the westerners curry-charged goodness until, at saturation point, the fellow became aware…enlightened if you will, about the anointing he had received. Pete awoke to find an initially irate man, who not only softened when he noticed this was English poo, but was charmed by Pete's winning smile and bizarre ethnic appearance. They each shrugged off the humiliation with a shared laugh and a conversation about the state of English cricket. By the end of the journey, he was a committed friend, offering humble accommodation and perhaps even his daughter's hand. What a conversation opener.

JP and I were reminiscing over this very amusing story recently and believe that somewhere, there is a small marble statue on a family's mantlepiece…a white, tie-dyed, dreadlocked, grinning apparition, on a 1990 mountain bike (his chosen vessel) with fire emitting from his bottom, who brings them good fortune and safe travel. Hinduism is such an organic and inclusive religion. I considered perhaps mentioning to our tour operator that I have direct contact with Poopypete, and therefore could I be upgraded. No such karma…we suffered a bone-shaking trip to Delhi on the back seat at the hands of a sleep deprived megalomaniac driver.
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1 comment:

  1. I remember being told that story differently by Pete way back when the lad had dreads and still played some trumpet. I shan't tell you my version for fear of ruining a good story...................... x