You bump, shudder and twist your way down the crumbling road at a suicidal speed, staring wide-eyed into the rushing river below, tonguing a prayer that you avoid the sensation of plummeting. To wrestle down your fears, you distract yourself with the lush, emerald beauty of the hills, the swallowing grey clouds, and the wild combinations of colours your fellow passengers chose to wear. You feel like a drab wren among peacocks and parrots.
High-pitched and nasal, a woman's voice uncoils from the staticky radio in a wail, singing something about pyaar and zindagi. Dust, exhaust and sweat blend into a thin coat of sticky brown on your skin, exhausted from the rigorous scratching of mosquito bites. The window offers some relief from the heat, though you often have to cover your face with your faded scarf to avoid breathing in the dark clouds of passing trucks and buses— vehicles adorned with eyes and serpents, Buddhas and Shivas, cryptic messages about having no time for love and claims to being the "Road King."
You shift your legs to get the blood back into them, and scratch another blushing bite.
Four more hours. Could be six.