Back Home.

This happened when I was doing my second year of college in Bangalore.

It was my grandmother’s birthday the next day. I was planning on going back home for the party, but I had class and I was already short on attendance. But by some miracle, the next day was declared a holiday, so I got the next bus ticket available and decided to tell my parents I was not coming and make it a surprise.

The bus was at 11 pm. Everything was set. I reached the station, got in, and settled down at my seat, window seat that is. There is no way that I would travel anywhere without having a window seat. I don’t understand how people on the aisle stay sane.

They just look at the inside of the vehicle for hours and hours without feeling bored or anything? Psychopaths. I like to get cozy with my blanket, stare outside my window at night, and create so many unrealistic memories in my head. Everyone does this, so stop judging.

I’ll tell you some of the scenarios I think of:

  1. I save my college from a terrorist attack.
  2. There is a huge flood in my country only me and my family survive, now we have to find a way to live in what is left of Earth.
  3. Quentin Tarantino comes to college and wants to do a movie with me as the star. I play hard to get.

  So yeah you get the gist. Everything was hunky-dory until one of the worst cases in a road trip happened. The person I am sharing a seat with came in, a 60 to 70-year-old grandpa. I don’t have anything against grandparents. I am in fact going to my grandmother’s birthday.

It’s just that they tend to be the LOUDEST SNORING PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. They snore so loud that they break the sound barrier, no headphones can keep that sound away.

As I suspected he fell asleep right away and started to snore louder than the bus horn. The driver didn’t have to even use the horn because of this guy, his snore made the bus sound like an army helicopter. I could see the traffic on the road moving away as the bus came close and nope I am not exaggerating.

 This was not even the worst part, the story is only starting. I tried everything to put myself to sleep, but nothing was working. I even tried stuffing myself to go to sleep by eating 23 Oreo. Nope! Still wide awake. It was a 12-hour journey, so after the first 3 hours, it seemed like my ears got used to the snoring and I could sense myself falling asleep and I did.

I started dreaming about all this crazy stuff until I get shaken awake. I woke up yelling and saw a policeman standing right beside me. I almost pissed myself. He told me to open my bag and take out everything. Just a life tip, when a policeman asks you to open your bag at midnight in a bus which is currently somewhere on planet Earth, just do it, do not hesitate. I had packed almost 17 pairs of underwear and nothing else.

   Why you ask, students will relate because one of the hardest jobs you have, when you’re staying away from home, is laundry. Whenever you get an opportunity to go home, you pack up all the dirty clothes you have and get them cleaned and usually, it’s always dirty underwear because that piece of clothing is what a college student will wear the most time without washing.

Back to the story, I didn’t want the policeman seeing my dirty underwear so I hesitated and said, “It’s all cool in my backpack, you don’t have to check it.” Yup, I said that exact sentence to a police officer, who was doing random checks inside a bus for some unknown reason. I had reached peak stupidity.

  He ripped the bag from my hands and that is when I noticed it was not just one but 4 policemen inside the bus. They all swarmed around me. Weeks of unwashed underwear inside a closed bag for 4 to 5 hours =one ungodly smell. He opens the zip a little and it was like a volcano. The smell erupted into everyone’s noses.

They searched each and every pocket and whilst they were searching, the grandpa next to me goes, “Look carefully, only something illegal or dangerous would have such a disgusting smell.” I had to keep myself from breaking his artificial teeth. After searching for almost 10 minutes they found nothing but underwear, believe me, they were more embarrassed to find the underwear than me.

They give me back my bag and the grandpa sitting next to me says, “Boy, you do know people already invented the washing machine right”. Believe me, at that moment if he wasn’t so old, I would have stuffed one of my underwear right down his throat.

  I asked the guy behind my seat because asking the grumpy old ancient homo-sapien next to me was no use. The guy said there was a report that one of the passengers in this bus was smuggling military-grade drugs into the state. I was in shock. That is when I actually realized this was no situation to be taken lightly. Suddenly one of the policemen shouted,

“Get up right now!”.

I look there to see him yelling at a guy, the guy gets up slowly and faces the policeman, and tries to run out of the bus. Just as he reached the door, a 5th policeman came from outside and tackled him back inside the bus. He tackled him so hard, I could see the guy’s spit flying in slow motion. After they did a pat-down, they found the cocaine on him hidden…………. inside his underwear. So yup, guess who is also smuggling 17 pairs of unwashed underwear in the same bus…ME!!!

I was getting ready to be called out, but to my surprise, one of the officials says,

“This is no small operation. Now that we have evidence, the whole bus is going to be held in wait. We will be going to the Malugadi police station this instant. No one should move from their seats or do anything out of the ordinary. Looking outside you can see there are a total of 4 patrol cars and a total of 5 policemen inside the bus. So take your next steps carefully”.

 Next steps. Next steps. I knew what my next steps were I was going to take my phone and write a note to anyone who was going to read it.

“I, John have been captured for smuggling underwear into the State and will pretty sure be spending the rest of my life in prison. Please wish my grandmother a happy birthday from me.”

  The bus started to move and this time it was one of the policemen who was driving and the rest were inside the bus watching everyone. I wanted to call my parents and let them know the situation I was in, but you guys don’t know Indian parents.

The moment I mention the word drugs, all hell will break loose so I was hoping this problem would solve itself and no one had to know a thing. We reached the police station and was asked to get out of the bus without our luggage. It was the first I was traveling alone, so no one was there as emotional support. I could feel my brain telling my body that I was going to poop my pants.

There was like a countdown in my head for when the poop will depart from my body. There was a total of 32 passengers and the police said they would interview each and every one of the bunch. I looked at the time, it was 2:54 and we were in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere you look, it was empty. Just one small building which was the police station and nothing else.

We were all made to sit outside the police station and one by one were brought inside. Finally, it was my turn and I was so scared that I could not walk properly. I was bumping into the walls and such. All of this behavior, bumping into the walls, not being able to stand properly, shivering too much …not good things you want people to see when you’re currently being interviewed for the possession of drugs. They brought me in and it was 2 officials not in uniform dressed very sharp.

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 One of them says,

“Please state the reason for your visit”. Suddenly the other guy goes

“why are you trembling so much”.

I had seen a lot of movies to realize this was a bad cop good cop situation going on. I worked up the courage to say how I was traveling to see my grandmother and that this was my first time traveling alone.

After almost 15 spine chilling minutes they let me out free. Me, being scared had helped me there for the first time because they did realize I was just genuinely scared to death and just an innocent dirty underwear smuggler.

 Then came another problem. This was not my night, I just wanted to go home. It turns out it was a huge smuggling operation after all and 76 of the passengers were part of it. So the bus wouldn’t be let go and everyone else had to be taken back by someone or had to find a way back home on their own. That is when I realized I would have to call my parents about the whole ordeal.

At that point, I was weighing the pros and cons of living the rest of my life at the police station or calling up my family, and frankly the police station did seem a better option. If it weren’t for my grandmother’s birthday I would have picked the police station but I wasn’t going to call my parents I was sure I would mess up and they would make a mountain out of a molehill.

So I requested one of the officers to call up my house. I gave him my mom’s number and the call went for about 2 minutes and I actually saw the police officer sweating a little. He comes up to me puts a hand on my shoulder and says

“Guess you’re not going home boy”

“What! What do you mean I am not going home? What!”.

Then he went onto say what happened he calls my mom and says

“ Madam this is from the Malugadi police station and the bus your son was traveling in was seized by us because they were smuggling drugs into the state..”

Before he could finish my mom interrupted and said

“What! What! Travelling! Travelling where! Drugs? What drugs? My son is a drug lord? He was smuggling drugs??” the officer tried to tell what the situation was but he kept getting interrupted. She said “listen here officer that boy is no son of mine anymore! No one I  this family will be a drug lord! Never call this number!”

And she hung up……she …hung up. I just stood there outside the police station looking up. Tried calling my family members no one is picking up. I thought to myself

“I wanted to wish my grandmother a surprise birthday but ended up traveling next to an old man who I believe is no human but a tractor engine fitted robot then was embarrassed for smuggling dirty underwear and then was part of a drug operation and then finally became a drug lord according to my family. All in one night. Great”.

So as I write this story in front of the police station it has been 3 days and I am really hungry so if someone could please tell my family what really happened or if mom you are reading this please come get me. Finally. Happy birthday, Grandma.


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