A ride to Nilambur - KSRTC Fans Trip; Part-1

One fine day while browsing through the umpteen posts that came on my Facebook wall, I came across a set of images describing a place as Malabar's Gavi (Gavi is a recently made famous tourist destination in Pathanamthitta district in South Kerala). The photos were quite inviting, and I did make some plans to explore the place - I kept it on my wish list. Some days later, planning for a KSRTC Fans trip was in full steam - the trip was to cover some tourist places in Malabar. I wanted to somehow include our Malabar Gavi in the trip - just like the patient wanted, this place was included in our itinerary.

July 25, 2014:
I and Jayadeep set out from my house in search of a KSRTC bus to Thrissur. The last bus had just ran away teasing us. I knew that there is one more bus a little later - so the endless wait for that bus started. As the clock ticked past 2015hrs, I got a bit anxious and we decided to take the last KSRTC bus of the day - that one is only till Irinjalakkuda, some 20kms short of Thrissur. The bus was quite empty - I was a bit upset about the bad start. As we got off at Irinjalakkuda, a fairly crowded private bus appeared - left with no choice, we ran in to the bus. The bus dropped us near the KSRTC bus station around 2130hrs. After a quick dinner, we started bus watching. One thing was sure - all the buses were crowded, and it was almost impossible to get into any bus towards our destination - Nilambur!

My only hope was the 2300hrs Thrissur-Bangalore Super Deluxe, via Nilambur. I had checked this bus before leaving home - and the bus had more than half the seats empty. As the clock ticked by, buses got even more crowded. Thrissur is one very busy bus station - but it doesn't have even half the space required to handle the crowd. Sometime around 2230hrs, the Deluxe was brought in - the conductor was a Boss - he did not take our request for two seats to Nilambur lightly. He looked at us with scorn. We remained outside the bus - as the clock ticked past 2255hrs, the conductor called for short distance passengers - as we saw, passengers travelling distances even shorter than us barged into the bus. We had no time to lose, and we too barged in. Grabbed two seats at the back row and we settled down.
RSC682 of Thrissur (images from the archives)

The bus (RSC682) left the bus station sharp at 2300hrs. All the 39 seats were sold - a good proportion were passengers to Perinthalmanna. The conductor came around to sell tickets - it was Rs 131 per person. The bus headed to some patchy roads - the ride at the back was amazingly comfortable. The maintenance team at Thrissur surely has done a great job in keeping the suspension in great shape. I had travelled in the same bus once earlier, but that was at the front - the ride did not feel great then. I was loving every minute of the ride. By now the bus was near Shoranur. We slept off for some time - it was a long day ahead for us. I was woken up when the bus reached Perinthalmanna - a whole lot of people got off here, and the same number got in as well. We left Perinthalmanna at 0032hrs. I slept off again. I woke up again just as the bus was pulling in to Nilambur bus station - the time was 0124hrs then - so that was a 2h24m long ride!

We walked out of the bus station soon after the bus dropped us there. It was all dark around, and we did not have any orientation of where we were - both of us were half asleep.We walked towards the road with no particular destination in mind. There was an expensive hotel nearby - but we did not want to burn that much of money for hardly 4 hours. Our aim was to get a room and sleep for some time before we started for the next long day. We decided to walk towards the town. Both of us walked aimlessly towards the town in search of a lodge. Everytime we saw a hoarding or a lit board, we looked at it with hope - but they were some odd shop. Jayadeep jumped up in joy when we saw a series of ATMs - he ran into one. After than we continued our aimless walk - we saw Seenai Holiday Home. The main gate was locked - so we had to find a way of going in. Later, we found there was another gate - we went in. By now it started raining hard. The receptionist was fast asleep - we had to shout a bit to wake him up - he opened the gate for us, and allotted a room. All I remember was lying on the bed - woke up only when Jayasankar called up to find out my whereabouts - he was coming right behind us.

I told him how to reach us, and continued sleeping. I do not remember when he reached - but he did reach the room. My senses were restored only when the alarm rang at 0500. After the morning rituals, all the three of us were game to go. I was the first to leave the hotel - since I wanted to visit the ATM. The other two joined me at the ATM, and we started our half-a-km walk to the KSRTC Bus Station in Nilambur - we never realised we had walked so far at midnight!

To be continued...