Indian bus

By keeping an open mind when you travel, you’ll meet different people from all over the world that you would never normally encounter back home. It happened to me that morning when I was about leaving New Delhi. Finally!

His name was Arjun. We started to talk while we were having breakfast at the Gostopsdelhi hostel where I stayed for a couple of nights. Nice environment but too expensive for the Indian standards.

I told him about my plans to move and that I needed to get to the bus station in Dhaula Kua situated 12 km from the hostel. He explained me that the station was easy to reach by metro but three changes were needed and since I was probably looking quite lost he finally walked me until the last stop. Arjun and I just met randomly during our breakfast, we never spoke to each other before, but he offered me his help and without asking anything back. The only thing he wanted was a coin from my country since he liked to collect them and damn I didn’t have any! I’m so sorry my friend….If I could come back in time, I would definitely save an European coin for you!:)

Would you imagine someone from Verona willing to waste so long of his time to help out a visitor or a tourist in town? I don’t think many would do that.

Why does the majority of Indians do that? On one side, I think they are really excited about the idea to have international friends so when they meet some it’s like they don’t want to miss the chance to have them among their social friendships, on the other side I understood it’s about something deeply belonging to their culture, their religion and their beliefs.

“Have you ever hear about the Indian code: “Guest is God” (in Hindi “Atithi Devo Bhava”) ?

Having travelled for two months throughout India, I have seen it practiced in the purest form even by the poorest farming people I’ve met on my way. They do it in such a genuine and simple way that you will immediately be touched by the warmth of their hospitality.

I left New Delhi around 11.15 am. The journey on the bus was about seven hours.

I remember that the corridor of the bus started to get crazy crowded along the travel. On the long distance buses, if no spots are left, the driver shouldn’t let other people get onboard but in India everybody makes his own rules for taking advantage of it. And I’m not saying it in a negative way. There is over one billion people in India and every kind of service is most of the times overbooked. Indians make up their own rules to make things easier and in the majority of the cases it requires giving up on what we usually call “legality”.

At mid way we stopped for lunch and that’s when I met Priya. 

The menu was only in Hindi, so I asked her to help me with my order. We ended up to eat and to spend the rest of the travel together. She was going to Jaipur for work. She was of my same age and already married.

I always enjoyed listening to the stories of people crossing my path.

You’ll quickly learn that there are interesting people in every bus, café, bookshop or club, everyone has something to offer if you give them a chance. Priya explained me many aspects about Indian culture, especially related to women’s conditions.

For instance, she told me that women are restricted entry into kitchen, into the temple and are confined into their room during the menstrual days. They have separate sleeping beds, different clothes and different utensils for eating. What??? Her words sounded crazy to me!!

I was stood there in stunned disbelief wondering myself why someone should follow such ridiculous rules, when all in a sudden I started to feel a terrible pain in my stomach.

I will spare you the details but I just remember that that was the last time I had lunch in a restaurant placed on the road.

But let’s move on and let’s arrive at Jaipur where I will meet my future travel buddies…from Jaipur to Pushkar