Thursday, July 28, 2005

All routes are busy. Please try again later

Roads: blocked. Rail: blocked.

The kind of rumours that spread! A quick call to Goa and a private operator assures us that the routes from Panjim are open. Word spreads like wildfire. But where's the bus to Goa? It's not here! Where is it? It's stuck in Goa, a transport official says irritably, where it's been since noon because it can't get out. What about the Kolhapur route? That's open, he says. We run to the Kolhapur bus, which is now a Jhumritaliya bus because, the conductor tells us, there have been landslides and no one can get to Kolhapur. When can we go then? He chews his tobacco slowly and says he can't help. We race from bus to bus, asking "Bombay? Goa? Kolhapur?" Everyone's got a suggestion, but no one has a clue. One helpful man suggested we catch a bus from further south, closer to Bangalore, or a train at Bangalore. Most of us refused, wondering what would happen if there was another slide and we couldn't even return to Belgaum. This way we'd paint ourselves into a corner in Sri Lanka.

A call to the station in Goa tells us there are trains leaving but no buses, because the route is blocked. A call to the station in Belgaum reveals there will be no trains to Maharashtra because all the routes are blocked in some way. Progress will surely be made tomorrow, the optimist on the line says. Now I doubt it's as bad as this, but it gives a fair idea of how lost everybody is. The news says one thing but around here, when you're running from one bus to the next, from one state to the next, the situation is quite another.

And it's now pouring here. I guess it's the hotel room and remixes for the next few days.

No comments: