Thursday, 13 May 2010

Bolly Wally doodle all the way

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.


  1. I had heard about the buses with Bollywood films playing. Interesting to hear your take on the theme; that they are always about a couple eloping, there is always bloodshed over the eloping couple and there is always a shift to a joyous scene of beauty.
    The differences in cultures in defferent countries struck me for a second time when following comments from facebook comments from friends in the USA on Katie Makkai performing her poem Pretty on youtube. It is interesting how very different beliefs and values are and the effect these have on how we behave towards each other and towards life in general. How we purposely or inadvertently comment on those values ourselves. Pity you couldnt understand the words. I wonder what is underneath the surface of the movies?

  2. The bus and video sounds like a nightmare, poor you. How where are you now? Take care of you. Annie

  3. That's what you get for having nice long legs,
    no problems for the gnomes of Zurich - or Berne!

  4. Simon, I am really enjoying this blog - you write well, keep them coming and enjoy this season. Steve

  5. It's beyond me how you actually were in a position to SEE the film. What with headgear, all that luggage at improbable angles everywhere, and the ramshackle seats, viewing a film came low on any priorities I had. And if you DID see it, how did you hear it???