Thinking we had learned our lesson from the train ride a few days back, we tried to come better prepared for the four-hour bus ride we took up into the mountains of Wayanad yesterday.
We bought take-away chicken biriyani at the terminal and confidently boarded the bus clutching the plastic bag, sure we wouldn’t go hungry this time. The bus had bars on the otherwise open windows and kept taking on passengers like a sinking boat takes on water.
We sat at the very back, on the bench seat, and eventually, so many people had squeezed themselves down onto the bench that Zach was sitting with his shoulders sideways — the only way he could fit — and I was plastered up against the window, feeling the bruising on my right arm spread and deepen every time we bumped over a pothole or took a hard left turn.
We jostled and bounced along like this for about two hours, up into the mountains of Wayanad around hairpin turns, and eventually, we got hungry. We both eyed the plastic bag that was now jammed between my leg and my backpack at my feet.
As we pulled it out into our laps, we realized one important detail we’d forgotten: a fork. Neither of us would entertain the idea of eating with our hands after two hours spent steadying ourselves in the bus, grabbing at anything that was nailed down, and even occasionally our fellow passengers.
We had nothing to eat this biriyani with. Absolutely nothing.
After I shot down Zach’s idea of using his credit card as a shovel (gross!), I remembered I still had the half-full package of gingersnaps he’d offered me on the train a few days before. Feeling confident that I had solved our problem, we each grasped a nice, flat (clean) gingersnap in our hand and bent down to the biriyani.
Mere seconds passed before we realized we had another problem: The bumps and jives of the bus were so frequent and so unpredictable it was virtually impossible to get the gingersnap into the packed-down rice and up successfully to our mouths without sending rice flying everywhere — except into our growling stomachs, of course.
It would’ve been funny… if we weren’t so hungry.
After a few attempts that left rice in my lap, on the floor of the bus, and probably even on our neighboring travelers, we looked at each other, laughed not a little maniacally, and gave up.
Win some, lose some, right? And anyway, the views once we were up into the Western Ghats were worth it!