It was a long time since I'd traveled to Mysore on a bus and my first time from the not-so-new Satellite bus terminal, Mysore road..
Me and dad bought tickets and got onto to the bus. And that was when I noticed strange alien people camouflaged amidst rest of us.. Yep, hard to tell them apart, but if you are observant enough you can always tell a Mysorean from a non-Mysorean.. It's probably the sense of relief at leaving Bangalore evident on their faces (who doesn't feel relieved to leave this city ??)
The driver came in and announced that everyone had to get tickets before getting onto the bus. Strangely he never asked anyone to show their tickets (a trusting Mysorean perhaps??) Instead he proceeded to every passenger, palm stretched outward in a way a guru blesses his disciples, muttering perhaps a prayer (something like -Forgive them for they know not what they do when they beshrew me for my driving) It was a few seconds later that I realised he was actually counting passengers!!
The bus finally started and what a start it was!! I've never been on a bus that crawled like that. Whining, wheezing it struggled to keep up with even the slowest vehicle on the road.. (My cousin told me later that was due to speed limiters - apparently some drivers haven't got used to it yet)
Nothing interesting happened for another 3 and half hours(except sleep, tea at Maddur, sleep, sighting of a large congregation of foreign tourists - yeah - Sri Sri's disciples – I knew about them long long before newspapers announced their presence at Dussera, and some more sleep)
We reached Mysore at about ten a.m and checked into the Dasprakash's.. We dumped our luggage in our room and came down for breakfast.. That was where I saw the strangest of signs - "Please refrain from Smoking"
I've seen a lot of "No Smoking", "Smoking Prohibited", "Smoking here is punishable by law" signs over the years, but never something like that.. Refrain?? Why not prohibit? With that puzzling thought I left the hotel as we took an auto to my aunt's place..
I witnessed yet another unprecedented event on my way.. A traffic jam in Mysore!! Nope that's not the event I'm talking about, it's how Mysoreans react to such traffic jams.. There was literally no honking at all.. Damn intelligent Mysoreans, they seem to have realised that honking is no solution to traffic jams!! Wish we could learn a lesson here :(
Now, I have an explanation for such Mysorean behavior. I call it the "Aristocratic theory of Mysoreans" (for the lack of a better name) Here goes:
- The Dasprakash's has been a host to many members of royal families and their ilk.. Now when a Dewan or a king's kin arrived at your hotel, you naturally could not ask them to "Stop Smoking", right? If they had right sense they would refrain from smoking.. This is what I believe is the cause for such a polite sign to be put up instead of the usual - No Smoking
- Mysoreans are perhaps used to traffic jams caused by some king happening to be passing along the same route.. You do not honk at the king, do you? This seems to be the same sense of non-honking even the modern Mysoreans have inherited from their ancestors..
(Note: To the wisecrack who remarked that the title of my first post sounded like a high school essay - my minions are well on their way to your place, hope you're prepared to meet their fury)