The 'chalta hai' attitude isn't quite universal, you see! Two British nationals on Monday got a taste of Indian hospitality after an air-conditioned (AC) bus of Himachal Pradesh state transport that started at 12.10pm from Chandigarh for Manali broke down within minutes at the Balongi barrier in Kharar.
While others among the 30 passengers were sent to Manali by alternate, non-AC ordinary buses, the two young men - Sheffield engineering students William, 19, and Fretty, 21 - refused to board a non-AC bus. After waiting for several hours on the roadside, the two were finally sent by another AC bus on the route around 7.30pm.
The duo, who had started their month-long Bharat darshan four days ago, were smiling, sweating and sarcastic as they talked to HT while waiting: "We had heard a lot about Indian hospitality, but no one offered us even water." Asked why they did not take the non-Ac alternative, they replied, "We cannot travel in ordinary buses, as the climate does not suit us."
The 'natives', too, rued the breakdown. One such passenger, Mukesh Pandey said, "We paid Rs 500 for the ticket, but they are sending us in ordinary buses now. When we asked for refund, they said we should either go to the Sector-43 bus terminus or collect the money at Manali. We had a tough time for nearly four hours."
Bus driver Raj Kumar said the bus broke down after the engine developed a technical fault. "We made arrangements for passengers in ordinary buses. As far the two foreigners are concerned, they just refused (to board the non-AC bus)!"