(India 1985)


Alun Buffry

From Delhi on an Indian Tourist bus,

We left thinking they'd take care of us.

An Indian video humbly plays and we're

Told in 24 hours we'll reach Kashmir.

The journey goes into the darkest night,

As jungle and hills slowly dodge our sight,

The road now is just long and straight,

No bumps and bends or jerks to hate.

We're speeding along, ever so fast,

As if this journey is our last,

The road the driver's trying to keep,

Me - I'm just trying to fall asleep.

Suddenly, we swerve, a crash, a jolt,

Us thrown around, bus comes to a halt,

We look through windows only to see,

We hit a small tractor and just missed a tree!

Spite driver's brave efforts to curve and sway,

One side of the bus has been torn right away!

Amidst cries of Oh God!" - in Hindi "Ram Ram",

And in my own mind "Oh shit, oh damn!"

No one here seems able to tell,

Whether we're earthly or in heaven or hell.

But nobody's hurt, so we all get out,

A policeman a sweeper's given a clout.

For without thought he's just learned that he'd officially signed

A statement unread because he was blind.

There's nothing to do now but sit and wait,

Arriving Kashmir we know we'll be late.

Then mosquitoes surround us and all rush in,

"There's three dozen humans in a half open tin!"

They must have shouted and told their friends,

"We can buzz all about them and insanity send!"

Well I know it's our blood they are trying to drink,

And "Kill the bastards" is what I think,

And now the sun has gotten bright,

People are gathering to smile at our site.

Apparently the tractor driver was drunk,

The cop wanted baksheesh or he'd be sunk.

Ah, now they're trying the bus to fix

With hammers, wires and broken sticks!

It'll be midnight tomorrow before we arrive,

If just 36 hours more we can somehow survive.

But surprise, surprise we weren't there all day,

For two hours later we were on our way.