Wednesday, April 19, 2006

stoner story 5 - The stabbing and Aki Narula

August 2003

Chottu, desperate for a sight of the mountains had roped me and Danny in as well. Our trip up and at Old Manali was largely uneventful.
Five days of sitting in the verandah at the Dragon's third floor, staring out at Vashisht across the river with loads of Mary, Monk n Coke, Moby warbling mournfully on Chottu's computer speakers with an endless supply of chicken hakka noodles, mutton salami thin crust pizzas, and rich chocolate cake... heaven!!!!

On the way back, we'd booked ourselves on one of those two-by-two "deluxe" buses. I had the window right behind the driver with Chottu and Danny in the seats behind. This dude gets on the bus and grabs the seat next to me. Looked kinda familiar but couldn't quite place him.
The bus wheezes its way out of Manali and we settle in for the journey ahead with leftover rum in a coke bottle. The guy on my left is an Indian dude dressed obviously like a hippie with a bright orange shirt, three quarter pants, pierced ears, and generally dishevelled appearance.
I introduce myself and the guys at the back..."Hi, I'm Colin," ..."Hi I'm Aki," he says and lapses into silence.

Just as the sun begins to dip behind the mountains, the bus swerves violently shaking us from drugged slumber.."whoa what the fuck!!" curses Chottu, unfolding out of his seat. (We call him Chottu because he's 6'4 and 120 kilos)
The driver is yelling something jovially to the conductor and resumes his course. Probably hit a dog or something.

When we stop for dinner outside Sundar Nagar, the night is the pitch black you only see in the hills. Everyone hops off, stretches and heads to the dhaba. The charsis hang back in the bus to roll and smoke a joint to stimulate the munchies.

I smoke my spliff, grab a quick bit from Chottu's plate and am heading back to the bus when Aki emerges from a nearby bush grinning from ear to ear, "Hey," he yells, "Wanna try some oil," (hash oil that is)
I never say no to free drugs.

We smoke a quick doobie behind the bus and clamber back on. Chottu and Danny join us a few minutes later.
The bus driver and conductor are talking about the near accident. Apparantly we almost hit a group of four guys in a Maruti 800...almost sent them off the mountainside. The driver seems to find it pretty funny and is laughing his head off.
Soon its time to go so he honks a couple of times to get the stragglers back on the bus. Just then, below me, outside the bus, I see four guys come up to the driver's door and hammer on it.
"Bahar nikal saale!" one of them yells. The driver gets out and without warning they start kicking the shit out of him.
I'm too stoned to react when one of them pulls out a shiny blade and sticks the driver in the stomach six times.
Chottu isn't and barges out of the bus with a "teri maa ki...."
By the time the commotion subsides, the driver is on the road, bleeding profusely from his head and stomach and the four guys are running down the road, disappearing into the darkness.

So there we were. 30-odd people in the middle of nowhere at some time around 11pm with no driver. A Sumo parked nearby is pulled into action and the driver is loaded into the back seat. Only the rescue workers are so busy shoving him in, they bang the door shut on the poor guy's head.

Chottu's shitting bricks by now. "We're just going to take a taxi and go back to Delhi...fuck this bus." and starts badgering the conductor to open the back to get our luggage.

Aki agrees with him saying, "We'll just go to Bilaspur and take a cab from there."
Considering Bilaspur was still a good hour's drive away...suuuureee!!!

In the end, another tourist bus rolled in for dinner with luckily, a spare driver on board who got us all back to Delhi a lot faster than the earlier guy was driving.

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