Undertaking a 19 hour bus journey to the Arabian Sea coast of India is an experience. It's an air-condtioned Volvo bus with reclining seats. Leg room is ok until the seat in front is reclined. Then you begin to realise what it must be like to be a chicken squashed in the cages that sit outside the chicken vendors' stalls awaiting the end they were bred for. But after a few hours the leg position sort of gets fixed and almost comfortable and it's straightening one out when the blood rushes back in that it feels excrutiating.
But there's something else even more excrutiating. As soon as the bus sets off, the dvd with a Bollywood movie is slipped into the player and the movie begins. OK, I'm not an afficianado of Bollywood movies, I don't understand what they're saying other than the few English words that creep in at speed and disappear even faster and I don't get what it is about them that makes them so popular. But my fellow passengers are rivited. When the first one ends, the second one starts. Surely it's the same movie with different actors and the heroine love magnet is called Anjali in both movies. The car chase is the same, the cars packed with distraught families chasing the eloping lovers who are always on a motorbike; the kung-fu style violent fights with bloodied voice-overs emphasing the cracking bones and sharpness of the punches; the dancing, oh yes the dancing, always a straight scene shift to a beautiful mountainside usually after a blood-soaked fight. There are subtleties here I need explained to me but for now they help in diverting from the crushed legs.
At least when it's time to try to sleep (ha!), the video falls silent...and the snoring starts.
I remember I had thought of doing a six month bus overland trip from the UK to Australia. Suddenly this journey doesn't feel so bad.
I've booked a flight back.