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Round-the-Clock Bus Travel in South India

May 15, 2009

My trip to Veerapandi last weekend had me on buses most of the time. I departed from my home near Pondicherry at 2 p.m. on Saturday. I travelled 40 minutes to Tindivanam, where I caught a bus (see the purple bus featured in the photo below) that was heading to Tiruvanathapuram, Kerala, via Madurai, which was where I wanted to spend the night. The journey took from around 3 p.m. till 11 p.m. In Madurai, I hired a room at New Ruby Lodge, off Town Hall Road. I slept at around 1 a.m., and woke at 3:30 a.m. to catch a bus at 4:30 for Veerapandi from the Arapalayam bus stand. I arrived at Veerapandi at 6:30 a.m., which was a very good time to arrive. Pilgrims were already busy with their rituals, but the place wasn’t overcrowded.

I explored Veerapandi for four hours. At 10:30 a.m., I caught a bus up to Kumili, a town in the nearby hills, to escape the heat for a couple of hours. I arrived in Kumili by around 1 p.m. It was indeed cooler up there, by at least a few degrees. At around 3 p.m. I boarded a bus for Kambam, where I transferred to a Madurai bus, arriving in Madurai at around 6 p.m. At 10 p.m. I boarded a bus for Pondy. That bus broke down at 3 a.m. The driver woke a young roadside mechanic who worked under the bus by the light of a cellphone for two hours. He changed the fuel line, and at 5 a.m. we were again underway. I arrived home at around 8:30 on Monday morning. Needless to say that my legs and ankles looked like balloons by the time I reached home.

Tamil Nadu State Transport Bus

Tamil Nadu State Transport Bus

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara Rockinger permalink
    May 16, 2009 4:11 am

    Hi Brooks,

    This one is better, seems more professional somehow.

    And the art at the top also seems more relevant, although the first section on the left is rather disturbing, to put it mildly. I guess women have been treated like slaves, orworse, for centuries. Very disturbing! What’s your thought on that?

    Thanks for putting my site on there!


  2. Brooks Anderson permalink*
    May 16, 2009 1:01 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for your comment.

    In India, women are widely regarded as “second” to men. For example, the birth of a son is universally regarded as a blessing and cause for celebration, while the birth of a daughter is regarded by many as a curse or burden, or as a consequence or evidence of bad karma.

    Some couples take the extreme step of aborting a female fetus, or killing their female infant. This behavior has caused serious gender imbalances in parts of India.

    For my blog’s header, I selected the shocking carving from the temple chariot because it reveals or symbolizes a hidden, and often denied, dimension of Indian culture. This dimension is highlighted in my novel, which is about a young Indian dancer who is trafficked to Dubai.


  3. December 12, 2009 5:05 am

    It looks like you are a real pro. Did you study about the issue? lawl

    • Brooks Anderson permalink*
      December 13, 2009 12:31 pm

      Thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment.

      I can’t claim to be a pro. I’ve been studying the issues for the past 7 years while writing a novel about a young Indian woman who works as a cabaret dancer and sex worker. I’ve been assisted in my fieldwork by several NGO’s working to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS , and by the good folks at CM Centre in Madurai.

      I’ve not been able to work on the novel for the past month or so because I’m on an assignment to document solid waste management projects in 4 Indian towns and cities. I look forward to getting back to revising my manuscript in January.

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