On Exploding Engines And More

Pune Bus
Image used for representation only

It has been, dear reader, a while…

Well, it has been a while on two accounts, actually: one, been a while since I wrote this column. My apologies, but if you know me at all, the wonder isn’t that I didn’t write this last couple of weeks – the wonder is that I was as regular as I was until then.

Second, it has been a while since I wrote about the gift that doesn’t stop giving, otherwise known as the PMPML. I have touched upon, as regulars will no doubt remember, buses that set themselves on fire, besides other fun topics related to our much revered public transport service. 

But the other day, even I, jaded old cynic that I am, was forced to admit that the PMPML had outdone itself.

How, you might wonder, can you possibly outdo buses that self-immolate? Well, dear reader, wonder no more. The PMPML achieves this by having engines explode.

No, I assure you, I have not suddenly taken leave of my senses, nor is my vocabulary weak enough for you to worry about there being a misunderstanding on my part. The Times of India report that I perused clearly mentioned that a bus engine exploded.

Now, I am an engineering dropout. Not for me the innards of a mechanical device – I never could, and I never wish to, figure out these devilish contraptions.

But even I know that engines can conk out, be unreliable, perhaps even be temperamental – but explode?

Three staff members were injured, I am sad to note, but I note with relief that all three have been discharged from the hospital after treatment.

Now, it gets better. These three unfortunate employees had finished their maintenance work on the bus, which was stationary and under repairs. They were taking a final confirmatory stroll around the bus when, and I quote, “Suddenly, the engine cover of the bus opened on its own and there was an explosion. Small machine parts and fragments hit the three employees of the repair and maintenance section, leaving them injured.” This eye-popping narrative was delivered by the public relations officer of PMPML. This, clearly, is a man who likes a challenging work environment.

And lest you think we’re done, wait on! The next day, there was another report in the ToI. In this report, the PMPML was at pains to point out that there was no explosion. None whatsoever. Zip. Nada. All cool.

Just to be on the safe side – not, you understand, that there was any explosion – they are sending one of the other buses to the Automotive Research Association of India for examination.

So, to be clear, they’re sending a bus with a non-exploded engine for inspection, to reassure themselves that the other bus, that did not have an exploded engine, is ok.


The sting in the tail? The report, which is about the non-explosion, concludes with a quote from a PMPML official that speaks about a problem with the turbo-charger in the bus that had… a blast.

Not, you understand, an explosion.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni