Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Weekend Bus to Tiru

Each weekend I take a bus from Chennai to the ashram town of Tiruvannamalai. It is the location of the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharishi, the great Indian sage, and my main reason for moving to India. The bus ride itself is an adventure; it's a 4.5 hour journey from the Chennai city bus terminal to my bus stop in Tiruvannamalai. The bus terminal in Chennai is the biggest in all of India, and it took me several tries to find which bus went to Tiru as most of the signs are written in Tamil.

The 4.5 hour trip is by government bus; sometimes I think I could run the 189 km. faster than the bus, but you can't beat the price of 62 rupees one way. This equals a little over a dollar. Three days ago the government increased the fare to 110 rupees, and I was incensed (this is highway robbery!!) until I figured out it was now $2 for the 4.5 hour trip.

For the average Indian worker, this is quite a jump in fares, so I am waiting to see what comes of it in terms of protests. Buses are often burned when the price of sugar or some other commodity rises; I'm not sure if the buses are safe from burning with the fare increases, maybe they will set fire to a sugar warehouse?...stay tuned.