Here is a glimpse of the lands I travelled to…
Needless to say, being back to reality……NO LIKE!
Here is a glimpse of the lands I travelled to…
Needless to say, being back to reality……NO LIKE!
Yup! Its time for yet another change. I am now ticking the “married” box instead of the “single” box on forms!
Some friends made it while some were missed terribly. We sang, we danced, we drank, we ate and partied really hard. It started days before the wedding and just kept getting better through the wedding days. Some of it still continues. Like I keep telling The Boy, I cant remember the last time I hit the bed before midnight. Its been months!! Now that the euphoria and chaos of the wedding is over, our bags are packed again as we are off for a (well-deserved!) holiday.
Its been a rather roller-coaster ride so far. Sometimes, it feels like I belong and yet sometimes the creaks of the bed, the sounds from the street below, the taste of drinking water…….everything seems so foreign. Its a new city and for now, dealing with it is on hold. ‘Coz frankly, all I can think of are the un-interrupted and fun-filled days in South Africa with The Boy!
She wanted to scream. She wanted to hit someone. She was pretty sure there were red fumes rising on top of her head. Hitting someone was not a possibility though. The hot chick sitting behind the counter could have hardly predicted the 3 hour delay even though she worked for the airline. The hot chick, with absolutely perfect hair and make up, had no say in the delay of her flight. So she picked up her boarding pass, took a deep breath, slung her backpack on and walked away from the counter (and terrible violent urges).
There was a huge line at the bathroom. There was a huge line at the coffee kiosk. Everywhere she looked she saw thousands and thousands of people. She hunted for an empty chair in a corner. She needed to getaway from the noise, from the crowd. She silently prayed for the strength to make it through the delay and the flight. 15 minutes later, she still hadnt found a chair. The entire place was closing in on her (so it felt to her) She knew she had to get out. She walked back to the hot chick, with her absolutely perfect hair and make up and toned body. Explained the situation. Emphasised on her need to get out. She was given the same response to her request about a dozen times, “But Maam, you have checked in. I am not sure we can let you go out now. It might be difficult.” Since she hadnt a heard a perfect “no” yet, she knew she had a chance. The exercise lasted 13 minutes and she spoke to 3 people about her request. Finally, the 3rd one, a guy, took pity on her and told her he’d arrange something.
All formalities completed, she stepped out. Oh, fresh air!!! Oh, sunlight!!! She hunted for an empty corner again. She found the perfect spot away from the crowd. Just as she made herself at home in the corner, he walked up to her. Leaned over the potted plant she was hiding behind and asked her for a favour. He sat down, not too close yet not too far from her. Silently he indulged in his vice. He broke the silence after the first few minutes. Inquired about how long her flight was delayed. She answered his query alongwith a few ‘special’ words highlighting what she thought about the airline she was flying. Through her monologue that lasted 7 minutes, she talked about what she thought of all airlines in general, the entire industry! He nodded, a slight smile on his lips. Eventually she inquired about his flight.
From a distance, they heard the music of a popular song. It resulted into a discussion about the attention the song and its movie were getting. This led to a discussion about movies in general. Somehow the conversation drifted to the city they were currently in. He belonged to it while she was visiting. He asked her what she was doing in the city. She explained her work, the reason she was there. She asked him what he did. He smiled and asked if she really wanted to know coz he didnt want to embarrass her. She didnt understand, of course she wanted to know. Why in the world would she be embarrassed about what he did for a living? (Of course, at this time, her imagination had led her away…..far far away…to various interesting answers) Interrupting her chain of thoughts, he explained he worked for the airline she was flying and thought very highly of. Instead of being embarrassed, she burst out laughing. She wondered how these things happened to her. They joked about it for a while, back and forth while she added few more ‘special adjectives’ to describe the airline he worked for.
A announcement cut them silent. He stood up, they were calling his flight. He walked upto her and wished her luck with her flight. He promised to put in a good word for her at the counter – ‘for the special treatment’. They shook hands and said their goodbyes.
As he walked away, she had two thoughts.
1. She hadnt realised that 90 minutes had passed since she sat down there.
2. They hadnt exchanged names.
Fyi: Kambhal in hindi means blanket.
Men can be quite strange. They have been a source of amusement for me and my colleagues (girls) through the trip. A fair share of our laugh-till-our-jaw-aches-eyes-tear-up moments were a direct result of our interactions with them. In the workshops, it so happened that all our participants were boys with one lone woman in one of them. They amused us, angered us, left us bewildered at their behaviour.
There were times when my bag was snatched away from my hand. No, I wasnt being robbed. The guy at the hotel’s reception was over eager to carry it for me. I thought I was doing a rather good job of carrying it myself and would politely refuse their help. At this point, the pull on my bag would become so strong I would be left with no choice but to give up. These men wanted to be helpful but they had such a funny way of showing it.
Talking about funny, one of our participants sat through the 2 days of the workshop with this dreamie smile on his face. His face would rest on his hand, tilted to one side. No matter when or from where you turned to look at him, he would be looking in your direction with that silly smile on his face. Have you ever tried to be serious and talk to people about serious stuff and hope to God people were taking it seriously…..and then there is this one bugger smiling at you for no rhyme or reason. Argh!
But when you put funny and helpful (way too much!!) it reminds me of the Kambhal Man. What this man was thinking is beyond me! We met him on our death-ride…oops….bus-ride in the middle of the night (what we were thinking taking this bus is beyond me too now!) The bus was almost out of the bus-station when we caught it. As we tumbled in and caught our breaths, I realised the bus was packed and I saw only 3 seats empty (lucky us you would think na?? HAAA!) These seats were all seperate. Each of our new companions were wierder than the other. DayDreamer’s companion had legs that had minds of their own. For no reason, they would be touching hers. She finally had to pointedly tell him to get them to stick to their space. My companion was no other than the bus conductor. Loud, obnoxious and unclean! Sometime during the night, I saw him raise his right leg mid-air, pull up his pants to his thights and proceed to scrath his leg! I stuck closer to the windown on my left and worked hard at not throwing up. I felt really bad for myself at that time. Of course I changed my mind when I heard what ZM had to say about her companion, The Kambhal Man.
This man took out his blanket, wrapped it around him and spread out some more on not only his own seat but also ZM’s. He turned to her and smiled, “Agar chahiye ho toh kambhal share kar sakte ho!(if you want, you can share the blanket with me!)” and smiled again. WHO says that to a strange girl on a bus in the middle of the night??!?! You dont know her, she doesnt know you, its the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere! After all my anxiety and anger wore off, I realised the humour quotient in it. I cant stop bursting into a laugh every time I recall his words.
To end this post on a good note (so that the men I know dont kill me) this old man on the train had doned the role of our protector. This was a local train where no one reserved tickets and you werent generally sure of getting seats. He and his wife had climbed on 2 stations after us and seated themselves in our compartment. From then on, every time the train stopped, he would stand at the entrance of our compartment and not allow any men or women to sit next to us. He offered us food through the journey. He even offered to watch our bags while we slept and made space so I could stretch my legs.
So you see how much of a role men had to play in this trip. So much so that the next post will still be related to this topic 😉 Men!
I had forgotten how much fun ‘rough-it-out’ travel can be. For a while now all my travel involved flying – quickest, safest and (relatively) smoother mode of travel. I missed out on a lot of things as I was cocooned in this metal cage that took me from point A to point B. Things that exist between these destination points, people and events that occur during the transit from A to B. The recent trip gave me a chance to relive that, to come back with stories galore!
The places I visited were different from what is ‘home’ to me. But none of them felt strange. As the trip drew to a close, a sense of loss enveloped me. Its been two days since homecoming but I am still not quite here.
One of the most important things for your travel to be a success (and you will all agree here) is a compatible travel companion. My ‘travel buddy’ and me arent exactly similar people. But there is something about this absent-minded, always day-dreaming, game for anything girl that made the trip super fun. (except when the hunger pangs hit her coz then either you fed her or ran for your life)
The trip was hectic and fast. The travel almost killed us. It started with a train ride that lasted 8 hours for a journey to a village that is 4 hours away by road. The next travel mode was a roller coaster bus ride in the middle of the night through the Aravalli Hills halfway through which I lost feeling in my fingers and nose. If the ride had been any longer, the cold would have eventually taken over my entire body!
The last leg of it involved a flight from Delhi in which you would imagine nothing could go wrong. Then I would say you have not been to Delhi airport. The flights kept getting delayed and the airport ran out of chairs for all us poor souls waiting. After maintaining a standing position for 30 minutes, I gave up. I spread a newspaper in one corner and sat down cross-legged. I think I embarrassed the million people (it sure felt like it!!) in the airport for within 20 minutes of my cross-legged position a cop gave up his chair for me. He dragged it across the room and asked me to take it. Which I did for 15 minutes ‘coz then I saw a young mother juggling her baby. I returned to my cross-legged position as she settled on “my” chair. All that earned me was a loud sigh and roll of eyes when the cop passed me by a few minutes later. Tch Tch!
I met some colourful characters, laughed my head off at times, enjoyed my work for a change and made new friends. Eventually, the stories will come. For now, let it be known…..I am back!