|Get Ready for the Pageant of a life time|
The sweet, intoxicating aroma of fuel exhaust has bewitched residents of Manipal near Udupi for years. This summer, those residents will pay homage to the source of that scent when the University town hosts its ﬁrst District Bus Pageant.
Scheduled to take place in mid- May, the Bus Pageant promises to be spectacular.
Manipal resident Shri Haridas Pai said “Connoisseurs of the local bus travel know that the Manipal Mass Transit system boasts the loveliest bus ﬂeet, and also lays claim to the least bus-related deaths and mental-illness-related mucous slippage.”
The opening ceremony, to be held at the Tiger Circle, will feature a solemn “blessing of the buses” by the priest from Venugopal Temple. Noted Manipal band Zehen will debut a new composition written especially for the day, entitled “Drive On To Romance.”
A promenade following the ceremony will feature every Manipal bus in a continuous convoy through the towns educational institutions. Scheduled to appear as the pageant’s head judge is Neelaiah Shetty, the guy who sits in front of the bus and beautifies the streets by spitting paan stained saliva at regular intervals. When asked for commentary on the pageant, Neelaiah said “Huccha! You Huccha! Lie to me, will you? You Huccha!” (Huccha is the local word for Mad).
Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners Association (DKBOA) secretary and Pageant organizer Ajeej Parthipady said. “He’s been a loyal passenger for over two decades and has helped push the Manipal bus system into the 2010’s. To christen the lead bus in the promenade, Neelaiah will chew on the choicest of paan, spit out the saliva and use it to spell the word Huccha on the side of the bus.
The Bus Pageant ceremony will take place in the parking lot of event co-sponsor Manipal Butcher’s association Pvt. Ltd. There, the panel of nine judges will be given the difﬁcult task of choosing “Manipal’s Liveliest Bus.” The winning vehicle will get a soapy water scrub-down and a coupon good for a discounted oil change at any Indian-oil outlet.
Competition will be held in four major categories.
In the Talent Competition, buses will be judged for “most skillful right turn, without use of an indicator or slowing down”.
In the Chassis Competition, buses will parade before judges without their exterior frames, revealing the alluring inner-workings of their recoiling parts and motors.
In the essay category, drivers will be asked this year’s special theme question: “How will you make the world a better place for our children through bussing.”
And the Evening Gown Competition, busses will be elegantly draped with an attractive, rust-resistant tarp.
Other features of the judging include Best Vandalism and Best Viscous Floor Covering.
In the end, the District Bus Pageant will be not about the attractiveness of a single bus, but a celebration of all things mass transit. “The people love the Manipal Private Bus, and Manipal Private Bus loves the people,” Parthipady said. “Who among us hasn’t been lulled to sleep by the steady rocking of our buses as they plow their furrow across the dark night? Who can forget their childhood excitement when they yanked the bell-pull for the ﬁrst time? Or the mustachioed smile of the kindly driver, and the perky sound of his paper punch perforating a transfer? The Bus Pageant will bring these simple joys to everyone.”
Parthipady went on to stress that smoking, eating, drinking, and the playing of loud music would not be allowed at any time during the celebration.
The “facts” in this article are all made up (but you already knew that, didn’t you?)