A Busload of Good Luck

This happened to us

Image from Canva edited by Anu Anniah

Miracles happen every day. Not just in remote country villages or at holy sites halfway across the globe, but here, in our own lives.
~ Deepak Chopra

In the 90s, mom, dad, and I used to travel to Shimoga to visit my grandma in the summer. There are lots of beautiful temple towns within easy reach from Shimoga. My grandma’s house served as a hub for such travel. During one such trip, my mom’s sister joined us.

My dad was a master at planning road trips. He picked a few places that we could visit in 2–3 days. We headed out in a 5-seater Maruti Omni car that was packed to the brim with the driver, dad, mom, me, 3 aunts, and a family friend.

Starting from Shimoga, we had to cover Shringeri, Idugunji, Murudeshwar, Udipi, and get back to Shimoga. All these are beautiful towns famous for their grand temples dating back hundreds of years.

Visiting a temple and viewing the resident God of that temple is called having a ‘darshan’.

We had a darshan of the beautiful goddess Sharada at Shringeri, gathered the blessings of Lord Ganesh at Idugunji, and headed to Murudeshwar to pay our respects to Lord Ganesh’s dad, Lord Shiva.

We stayed overnight at a hotel built on a rock face on the sea in Murudeshwar. We spent the night listening to the sound of waves crashing on the rocks. There is something about water that draws you regardless of your ability to stay afloat in it!

Having prayed at so many temples already, we had probably collected a lot of blessings. They were going to come in handy but we didn’t know that just yet.

Next, we headed to Udupi to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna. On the way, we drove past the famous Maravanthe beach. Some stretches along this road are beautiful and scenic with the Suparnika river on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other.

Passing by a delicious-looking stretch of Maravanthe beach, we had the urge to stop and frolic in the water. It was a clean and deserted beach. Finding human-free patches of beaches is a luxury. We could not resist.

Big mistake. None of us could swim.

We got out of the car and walked towards the beach. We did not notice that the sandbank was gradually sloping into the water. Not a good sign.

Dad stayed at a distance clicking photos and watching us have fun. After some time in the water, I came back to join my dad and click some pictures. Meanwhile, my mom and two aunts were holding hands for safety and had ventured into the waves.


All of a sudden, a largish wave came along and caught them off guard. All three of them fell down. Dad and I saw them struggling to get up, but even as they tried, other waves washed ashore, and they were dragged further in. Since the beach was sloping, they kept slipping when they tried to get up. Sand kept piling into their sarees as the folds billowed in the wind. This weighed them down further.

It was scary and happening too fast. It was eerie because I remember all of them laughing initially. They had not comprehended that they were in great danger. In a matter of seconds, those smiles were wiped from their faces as the gravity of their situation hit them. I saw the smiles twist into a panic.

I remember trying to run towards them and my dad holding my arm tight to stop me. Much later I marvelled at his ability to think with such clarity in a panic situation. Neither my dad nor I could swim. Going after them would have been foolhardy and just added more danger to the already scary situation.

We began to scream for help. The driver, our family friend, and another aunt were resting in the car. They saw what was happening and joined in the screaming. Not another soul was around. After all, we chose this stretch because it was empty.


The next few minutes were a blur.

We noticed a bus stopping on the road. Several people tumbled out of the bus, ran towards my mom and aunts, hefted them out of the waves, deposited them on dry land, and were gone. All this happened in mere seconds.

Later when we discussed what happened, none of us remembered the faces of any of the people from the bus. We don’t remember where the bus came from and where it went. It seemed like the bus and the people in it had apparated. We did not get a chance to thank any of them. They were gone that fast.

What prompted us to stop at that deserted stretch? What prevented my dad and me from running after them and being washed away ourselves? Where did that bus come from on such a deserted stretch of road? Why did they rush off without waiting for an acknowledgment from us?

So many unanswered questions.

Was this a miracle? Did we escape a fatal blow by the skin of our teeth? Did we pray sincerely at the temples we had visited? Or was it just nature’s way of showing us that miracles happen?

My mom and aunts lived long to tell the scary tale many times over. My mom enjoyed a healthy life and passed on just a month short of her 82nd birthday. She used to often recall the incident with wonderment. She believed that life had given her a second chance. Actually, it was the third chance, but that’s a different story.

In spite of this incident, we do not hesitate to get our feet wet when we see a body of water because we know that someone is watching over us!

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