Personal Space, what's that?

If you thought the stunts in Khatron Ke Khiladi was scary, my friend dares you to take a bus ride from Mumbai to Khed. Blame it on the shoe-string budget travel or his talent for inviting third-degree torture, but a recent trekking trip to the Konkan side of Maharashtra was punctuated by a run-ins with ''interesting'' bus conductors.

His first destination, Mahad, a city in the Raigad district, is only accessible by road. Having already experienced the "ups and downs'' in the life of an ST bus earlier, he took a ''private tempo'' option from Karjat, the nearest town in the Raigad district. Now we've heard of private transport guys overloading their vehicles, but there needs to be regulation on this, for the sake of human rights. He was hauled in at the back of a 'Trax', a 10-seater van, far from vintage. Before he could say, ''thamba'' (Stop in Marathi), he found himself sharing space with someone else's suitcase (on his lap), an ogling infant and an about-to-puke tribal woman.

The opportunist conductor, after loading the van to thrice its capacity, was contorting at 90 degrees, yet smiling at his runaway success. "It isn't this bad everyday," he told my friend, perhaps looking at my friend's disgusted expression.


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