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Posted on: Wednesday , Jul 11, 2012 At 18:10 PM

Whats In A Journey That Is Without Surprises And Excitement


Earlier this year my cousin had flown from Canada to visit her ailing father and my ailing mom. My Uncle now retired from the Armed Forces, always had a bag full of tales to keep us, the kids and grown ups entertained, when all the relatives used to get together in a big family reunion during the vacations. Most often than not, my late Aunt used to wink and let us know which of his tales were reel life. This ritual had continued for a long time till about the time we began to grow up and learnt to fend for our selves and fly away from the nest. So when my Uncle fell ill, I wanted to visit him and be with him for some time, and, with my cousins around, it had to be now though I would have preferred it to happen at a time when my Uncle was more active and my Aunt was around. My other cousin, was flying from Ahmadabad and I joined him on the flight to Kolkata.

 

Some of the tales I remember most that my Uncle used to tell us were from his travel experiences, of how he missed his train in spite of reaching the station on the date of travel only to realise that the train was scheduled at a very early hour of the day which in plain terms would have been a very unearthly hour for a commoner. We would roll into peels of laughter and would say in our minds never to let it happen with us.

 

So must have said my maternal uncles too at the end of their hearty laughs, but, how serious they were in their resolve, was revealed when one morning, my late Dad, picked up the phone and was surprised to hear one of my maternal Uncles announcing that they were heading for Delhi and I must pick them up from ISBT. ISBT?? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard  my father say “They were arriving by Bus..” We knew that they were headed for Nainital and were giving Delhi a slip... But a sudden change in plans and destination Delhi and that too by Bus... I could smell that something was amiss. I let my Father gradually reveal the chain of event.

 

Apparently, my maternal uncles and their families had planned to go to Kathgodam via Lucknow. They had arrived at Lucknow early in the moring and since their connecting train to Kathgodam was due to leave at 5 minutes past mid night that day, they had plenty of time with them to go around Lucknow. After a quick breakfast, they  were out in the streets visiting the City of Audh. After a “Nawabi Dawat” at a local restaurant they packed some food packed for the train journey and trooped into the station a couple of hours before the train was due. Since the platform wore a desolate look  one of my Uncles thought of enquiring from the enquiry counter if the train was on time. It was here that they realised that their train to Kathgodam had departed at the right time that day, exactly at 0:05 hrs. Well just after midnight. The train for the following day was on time at 0:05 hrs. My relatives had managed with ease to sleep their departure time out on their train to Lucknow. In simple words, they had missed their early morning train. Now the next best destination was Delhi. Gomti Express leaving early in the morning was out of question because it was fully booked. Without wasting any time They Boarded a Private Bus to Delhi.

 

This time the laughter was at the cost of my maternal uncles (both very eminent personalities in their respective professions). I announced that since I normally prefer driving to my travel destinations, I am to a great extent, spared from such agonising situations. At least it gave me an assurance that I'll never end up being the butt of jokes in a similar situation. The last time when I faced a similar situation was on my way to Shimla. The Himalayan Queen was late by thirty minutes and the toy train I had booked was due to depart 15 minutes before the anticipated arrival. The train attendant had assured us that the toy train would only depart 15 minutes after the Himalayan Queen reached Kalka. Sure, it was waiting for us. So, I never thought that any thing like missing a train could occur with me. However, I would have never known that there could be any one who thought otherwise, had my families not decided to go on a vacation trip this year.

 

The planning started well in advance and they roped in my Sister in law and her family for the trip. North East was chosen as the destination and the days were frozen, but, since I would not be able to accompany them it was decided to cut short the trip to just 8 days.  Tickets were booked about two months in advance and all that was left now was to plan how to make most out of the eight days. With due respects to all who matter, I knew that since this was almost an all female outing there would be a chaos and lots of it just before the d day and also during the trip, so I was not taking any chances. As I planned, I also started stocking not only for the trip but also for the house hold which would then be under my command. With meticulous detailing, I started with medicines followed by coffee pouches, tea pouches, powdered milk, sugar, maps, travel Info literature, travel gears, clothings, memory cards for the cameras, batteries for the cameras, Cameras, chargers, mobile phones a four way power strip, a multi plug power adaptor, cello tapes, duct tapes, cosmetics etc., etc.  Finally with every thing in control, all that was left to do was to prepare a day to day “to-do” list for them and keep waiting for the D-Day.

 

Finally a day before the D-Day, I sat with my daughters, detailing them with travel plans, dates of travel, times of trains, what they were to carry in their back packs and what they were to carry in the AT strolly. Since NE Express is an early morning train, the only reason we were able to secure reservation when all others were fully booked, we called it an early day but not before I called up our ever dependable Surinder Singh and asked him to drop my family to the station. My Sister in law would reach the station along with her family separately from their South Delhi Abode.

 

Surinder Singh honked his presence sharp at 5 am. The girls were all ready along with their mom. Since my bedridden mom insisted that I drop them to the station and see them off, we trooped into the waiting cab. We covered the distance to Old Delhi Station which would other wise take at least 40 minutes in barely 15 minutes. It took us another 10 minutes to reach the platform. We now had about 40 minutes with us before the scheduled departure. Well the train will depart only after it had arrived on the platform. Now there was a train on the designated platform and the electronic information board announced it was Brahmaputra Mail. “OMG... Brahmaputra Mail is running so late....” I heard myself tell my wife, in the overwhelming cacophoney of voices, as we found ourselves standing in front of a unreserved compartment on a platform full of people jostling with each other amidst a pall of strange smell of  a mixture of body odours mixed with smell of stale sweat and occasional whiffs stale perfumes. I asked a porter where the AC compartment would be and as quickly as possible I moved my family in the direction he had pointed. On the way we found a a spot with an embedded waiting bench which was strangely vacant. Promptly we occupied it and waited patiently for the Brahmaputra Mail to depart.

 

As we waited patiently my better half ranted on my incorrigible “too early” arrival tendency. There was reason for her rantings. She had left behind her spectacles in the early morn hurry. I tried to pacify her saying that I would courier it and that her spects would certainly reach her before she started for Gangtok from Coochbehar.  Once in a while a passenger with a strolly in tow or another with a chain of kids and a wife in tow could be seen scurrying from one end of the platform to the other. I could hear my better half telling the girls that the frequency of such sudden realisational rush would increase as the time for departure came near. My children giggled every time the spectacle repeated its self. Because the departure time of NE Express was nearing and there was no sign of the rake I was beginning to worry if we were on the right platform. Announcements on the PA system confirmed that we were on the right platform, but where on the earth was the rake.

 

We were still waiting when I spotted a railway official pasting list of passengers on the coaches of Brahmaputra Mail. This looked strange. The lists should have been pasted as soon as the rake entered the platform. I rose from my throne and proceeded to check out what list he was pasting. It was then that I realised that the rake in front of which we had been waiting for the last 30 minutes was not Brahmaputra Mail, but was NE Express. Well the stage had turned upon us. It was time we started scurrying... A man with a extra large strolly behind him and three ladies in tow.... I was smiling in my mind thinking the amusement some other passengers like us were having at our cost. But, all that was not important, we had barely 5 minutes in hand and I was desperately trying to reach the first AC coach, so that my family would be on board the train and could eventually find their coach through the vestibules. Barely two minutes in hand we found the coach. Luckily the destined coach was the very first one we reached and found the seats in the very first coupe.

It was only as I began to unboard the train that we realised that my Sister in law and her family were missing. A flurry of frantic calls and teleconferencing with my sister in law, my wife, my children their son, my spouses brother in law and a brother in law at his home packing for his train to Bhubaneshwar revealed that they had just entered the station. Almost at the same time the coach jerked into motion. With the  sound of horns slowly fading away, the train rolled away from me. I followed it till I reached the staircase from the over bridge. At the top of the staircase, I found my spouse's brother in law panting downwards with my nephew and sister in law in tow behind the coolie he had hired. My spouses brother in law rushed past me in hot pursuit of what was now the back of a train that was swiftly moving away from us. The strange look on his face was like as if asking me what prevented me from holding that train a minute longer. Only one more person who was in hot pursuit was the porter he had hired. My Sister in law and my nephew joined me at the foot of the staircase watching in disbelief that this was happening to us.

 

A minute later, I don't know if it was the end of the platform or it was “happy realisation” that there was no use fighting a lost battle that my spouses brother in law suddenly decided to stop and turn back. With him stopped his man Friday clad in red uniform and a dhoti that didn't give way in the valiant run. With a bag tucked under each of Friday's arms and a strolly that had been taking a happy stroll sitting on his head, slowly returned our soldiers as they panted back to where we stood waiting for them. A onlooker advised us to rush to Ghaziabad, where we could probably intercept this train. Off bolted our man with a shocking red back pack on his back and a red porter following him with two grown ups and a child in tow... it looked like a flick right out of a comedy film.

 

While we were rushing out of the station, I was conferencing with my better half on the train and a friend off the train. I had shoved in my daughter's back pack copies of the relevant pages of the time table. My wife had asked me what was the need. Now I was slowly complementing myself as she referred to the pages as we zeroed on to Tundla the most safe and nearest station where they could board this train. The next best option was to try and intercept it at Kanpur. But, now the problem was how to reach Tundla. The time table came handy again. We found out that Kalka Mail follows this train for quite some time before overtaking it just before reaching Tundla. This train had a long stop at Tundla, giving them enough time to catch up. But, by the time all this realisation came in my in-laws had almost reached Ghaziabad (20 mins flat incredible speed the cabbie had driven) while I was on my way back home on the Metro.

 

Just as I was explaining the situation to my spouses brother in-law, I over heard my wife on my other phone say “we just passed by them... they are standing on the platform....” “Pull the Chain...” was my immediate response because I thought this to be the best inconvenience  to save a lot of other inconveniences. On the other phone my spouses brother in law was yelling “pull the chain....pull the chain....” it was only after he had calmed down that I could tell him that I could not do so because I was on board the Delhi Metro headed for home and not on the North East Express he was chasing. All said and done, my in-laws managed to board the Kalka Mail from Ghaziabad and were finally on their way to Gangtok... well not really so till they overtook North East Express. The TT on Kalka Mail was cooperative and had spoken to the TT on NE Express on wireless. Almost the same time I de boarded the Metro train, my better half informed me that the TT had come to inform her that her 'consignment' was safe and on board Kalka Mail and will be delivered at Tundla.

 

I still can't believe that this happened to me and us..... me.... sitting for minutes in front of the train to board but waiting patiently for it to depart..... and... Us.... we managed to play a role we never thought we would ever play..... five men in a row chasing a missed train...... The comedy of errors didn't end here. On another train My brother in law ( my wife's brother) who had left for Bhubaneshwar with his in laws in Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani the same day, scored the highest by managing to do the ultimate undoable.... Pull the Chain... Privy to our teleconferencing, the idea of pulling the chain in an emergency was in the back of his mind, it errupted when his Father in Law had stepped out for a stroll on a station and the train had decided to leave him behind. He had like a worthy son in law, pulled the chain.... within minutes, all sorts of security personnel train staff, station staff, engineers and every one one can think of came down breathing on his neck with all kinds of nasty expressions.... cooolllll.... so folks except for the one in the Lavatory, please don't pull any chains, particularly when traveling on Rajdhanis.

 

All who have been with me so long, please do not disclose this to my cousins.... my over 45 years of unblemished travel history is now in your hands.

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Posted on: Sunday , May 08, 2011 At 21:31 PM

Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan...


Yeh hai Mumbai Meri Jaan…

 

Unwinding in Mumbai…

 

Mumbai, the City of Hope has attracted people from far and near… from almost every corner of the peninsula… primarily for better Prospects, a reason why Mumbai has gradually grownup into a city of prospects. While some hit it big, many were left disillusioned. While some went back to where they came from, others with determination written large stayed on… While, the sky as their roofs and pavements as their beds were home for some, chawls were for the more fortunate ones. But, almost every one would fall asleep in the soft glow from lights which came from structures towering above their heads, churning new dreams of newer pastures and newer heights. I have often wondered if any Indian has remained untouched by this Megapolis. Most of us have been touched in one way or the other by this Magnificent City. Mumbai has played an important role in my being what I am today. So every time I get a chance to visit Mumbai, I look forward to feel and see the kaleidoscopic change it has been undergoing since ages.

 

I got a chance to visit Mumbai yesterday after over a decade and a half since my last visit to the City. The visit was sudden and unplanned and the schedule tightly packed. But I was determined to sneak past every obstacle and still find some time to unwind before returning. I reached IGIA Terminal 1D at about 5:20 am and went through the check in formalities. The GoAir Flight to Mumbai took off on time at 07:05am. Moments later Delhi zoomed out into minuscule dots like a Google map spread out below me. The 3d top view of Lotus temple accompanied by sky scrapers of Nehru place were soon replaced by vast stretches of land mass and clouds. As we rose over the clouds and turned southwards we were greeted by the bright sunshine. An hour later with the cloud below us like towering spirals of snow, we felt like we were flying over icy white Narnia. Half an hour later the Captain announced we would land… the clouds gave way to in intermittent view of the Ghat topography, before cruising over built up masses. A long bridge over a creek was probably the bridge at Vashi Connecting Navi Mumbai with Mumbai. My destination in Mumbai was just a few kilometers from here and I almost heard myself hailing the Pilot, to drop me there… Niway after gliding over a Mumbai Chawl, the aircraft made a soft landing, I must confess one of the best, if not The Best landings I have so far experienced… Welcome to Mumbai… The temperature outside is 29 degrees Centigrade… I disembarked to a comfortable Mumbai and walked straight to the prepaid taxi booth for a cab to CBD Belapur.

 

The New trends...

 

The Belapur Skyline, Navi Mumbai...

 

Searching for an Indian Identity...? Skiline of Belapur Navi Mumbai...

 

It took me 520/- and an hour and a half to reach my destination. My meeting was scheduled at 12 noon so I still had some time to look around the place. CBD Belapur has come up on purely modern lines with modern new forms and shaped defining a new sky line for this Mumbai extension nestling on the foothills along the Pune Highway. My work at CBD Belapur was over by 2 pm and my next destination was Dr. D.N. Road, Fort (Fountain). A colleague and I thought we would avail the local train for ST (Short for Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal, erstwhile Victoria Terminal). Both of us walked with confidence in a direction opposite to the CBD Belapur station. We had walked for about 25 minutes, when we realized that neither of us actually knew where the station was and we were following each other assuming that the other person knew about the station. A boy on a cycle looked as us as if we were nuts, when pointing ahead of us we asked him if the station was near by. Nodding his head, he pointed towards the direction behind our backs. When I heard him telling us to take a Rikshaw, I noted a big change that had come over Mimbaikars. From the usual “bus baaju mein hain” “Oh just nearby” here was a guy saying it’s not near… We managed to find an autorikshaw who agreed to take us CBD station for 14 bucks. The train was faster and bypassed all forms of jams on the road and in little over an hour we were in CST, a trip that would normally have taken a couple of hours by road. Best of all, it did not cost us the earth. In merely 12/- per head, we reached CST.

 

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)

 

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus Entrance.

 

A Clock to Time the Gap... Chatrapati Shivaji terminus...

 

BMC HQ, Mumbai...

 

From CST, we walked down Dr DN Road to Prospect Chambers, our next destination. It was almost 5pm and It took us a while to get over with our job. In the end the only other thing left for me and my colleague was to head towards the Airport for our flights back home. But, I had other designs running in my head. My Flight was at 9:20 pm and check in started at 7:20pm so I had about 2 hours with me, but, my colleague had to report by 6:30 pm latest for his flight. Together we decided to steal a few moments to look around while we headed for Church Gate Station.

 

Double decker BEST Buses in Mumbai...

 

Art in Mumbai... Energetic Graffities...

 

Art in Mumbai... Peek-o-Graffities...

 

Leaving behind Prospect Chambers, the name of the building which is the bottom line for every one lining to this Tinsel World, we walked around for a while to have a glimpses of Fort/ Fountain area before finally calling it a day. Though I still had some moments more than him to spend I chose to accompany him to the Airport after we walked down to Flora Fountain/ Hutatma Chowk on our way to Church Gate Station, form where a train to Andheri would take us to Vile Parle in about 25 minutes. The grand old buildings were holding their grounds in the back drop of the modern high rise housing the Bombay Stock Exchange. We spent about 15 to 20 minutes clicking pictures before snaking our way to Church Gate Station, walking shoulder to shoulder with the local commuters past vast excavated stretches… the foundation pits of a Modern Mumbai of Tomorrow.

 

Flora Fountain...

 

Hutatma Chowk...

 

Hutatma Chowk...

 

Central Bank Building with BSE on Back Drop...

 

With a cup of refreshing coffee we waited for our train. We were almost over with the coffee when a swanky new train announced it’s self to the platform. Being a weekend there was no rush. We found our selves seats beside a window. The humidity was starting to increase and it had started feeling a little uncomfortable as we waited for the train to start. Probably this was how the urgency to reach Vile Parley was beginning to show and the silence between the two of us asserted it. Just as we were about to enter Santacruz, the train screeched to a halt. People were craning out of the door openings to see what had happened. Mind thoughts flew back to late eighties when I had visited Mumbai as a child. That time too the train had screeched to a halt just after Santacruz station, I had craned out of the window to find to my horror the torso of a beautiful woman lying just below me. She was probably no more. Though this happened decades ago, her beautiful unscathed face looked so beautiful and in peace even in death... her white dress colored with her blood still remains embedded in my mind., I still have nightmares about someone telling me that if you stay long enough in Mumbai, you’ll also end up the same way. My colleague joined the group at the door who a little later confirmed my worst fears.

 

A local train to Vile Parle....

 

Few minutes later at Vile Parle we hired an autorikshaw for 25 bucks to take us to the Airport. It was 6:30pm and ‘check in’ had already begun for my friend’s flight. Mine was to begin an hour later, so as my friend checked himself in, I proceeded to some stalls at the lounge and helped myself a strawberry shake and bought some Sneakers Chocolates and storybooks for my children. Since the flight was slightly delayed, I also helped myself to a Vada Pav and Coke. The flight finally took off at 9:50 pm instead of 9:20 pm but landed in Delhi at the scheduled time at 11:20 pm. After taxiing for about 20 minutes thanks to the new runways of IGIA we were able to disembark. It took me another 15 minutes to get a prepaid cab and finally 21 hours after I had started my day I was able to get back home with memories of a very fine day spent in a very fine way at Maya Nagri Mumbai.

 

I've learnt that Cabs are not always the best forms of transport. Lesser modes of tranport like cycle rikshaws, three wheelers or even local trains often score above the white collared modes of transport...

 

When one wants to look around No.11 is the best mode of transport...

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Posted on: Wednesday , May 04, 2011 At 17:14 PM

Wrapping Up The Rajasthan Saga...


The Last Six Hours…

 

 

 

7th January 2011 was perhaps the only day in our 7 day trip when there was no urgency in our actions. Jaipur was just a technical halt. We had been to Jaipur so many times before that we really had nothing in our itenery except do some shopping and drive back home. Going with the mood, I managed to wake up at 7 am and my immediate reaction was “oh my God… we are late…!!!”. Just as I was about to turn around to wake up my wife, the realization sank in that we are now finally on the home run (read turf) the urgency really did not exist. I slumped back and tried to sleep on. Fifteen minutes later I was up again.

 

 

In the midst of SMS requests “pls c if u can get dis… dat… avbl here….there…” we were ready for the final run back to home. But before leaving Jaipur, we needed to do some shopping. We checked out of Regency Inn at 10 am and headed straight for Johri Bazaar. We asked our way to City Palace parking lot where we planned to park and do the rest of our looking around on foot. Parking fee at City Palace parking seemed stiff @ 50/- per entry. A flock of pigeons were feeding near the gates of the parking lot and they littered the skies in dots each time they got startled.

 

 

 

Walking out of the lot, the iconic controlled elevation shops of Jaipur in shades of pink and white greeted us. Shops and stalls selling souvenirs and apparels quilts lined one side of the main road while the other side had two important structures one which, the Hawa Mahal have remained as the identity of Jaipur… The other structure is Sawai Man Singh Town Hall. Almost element used in the planning and development of this busy location had an element of heritage etched into it, right from the controlled elevations, the color scheme to the design of street lights.

 

 

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur's Identity...

 

Conserving Heritage

 

Town Hall Jaipur

 

We had with us requests of more quilts from those who missed catching us when we were in Jodhpur, dresses, Jackets, Henna, Jewelry, souvenirs and what not… we also needed tidbits to see us through in order to perform ‘eat, drink-n-drive’ our way back home. First in the list were the quilts, which we found to be a tad dearer than in Jodhpur (ranging from 400 bucks to 1200 bucks), and unlike the camel wool quilts for the same amount at Jodhpur, the ones at Jaipur were of polyfill fiber… that made these exorbitantly costlier than the ones in Jodhpur. Niway, since we could not return without them, we bought whatever was available within the budget allocated. This how ever later at home gave us a chance to compare the stuff we bought from Jodhpur and the stuff we bought from Jaipur. Jodhpur undoubtedly scored over Jaipur both in terms of quality and price. The Jackets we bought from Jaipur however fared as good if not better that the ones we had bought from Mount Abu, our honey moon destination over a decade and a half ago. Frankly, I would have been rather upset if they had not fared as well. We bought henna for a colleague, from a specific provision shop in Javeri Bazar which was rather an unusual establishment in a market dominated by jewelers. The children and their mom bought some silver jewelry they fancied.

 

Shoppers Paradise

 

SBBJ's Mobile ATM...

 

 

In about an hour and a half we were almost over with the shopping. We now had to buy some traditional Rajasthani outfits for the kids, some souvenirs, they needed for distributing to their friends and of course I needed to find an ATM to replenish the dough I spent on the shopping. I headed for the surprise mobile SBBJ ATM van I located at the Chaupar and replenished my wallet sufficiently for the rest of the journey. With the shopping over and the souvenirs purchased, we headed back to City Palace parking where we had left behind Ram Piyari. We thought of returning via Jaigarh. Following the road to Amber Palace we snaked our way up the hills up to the Fort. A beautiful panoramic view of the Man Sagar Lake filtering through waves of hills greeted us. We stopped a few times to capture some breathtaking views before reaching the fort. Just before we were on the final leg to the Fort a Papad wala waved us to a stop. We relished some very tasty papads before proceeding to the Fort which had mounted on its ramparts one of the largest Cannons in the World. The entry to the fort was very nondescript and some how failed to arouse interest in us. One has the option to walk or drive through the Fort. Tickets are available at the gates. Since we did not know how long it would take to cover the Fort, decided to just stop over for some kesari and badami kulfis and some uninteresting pictures before retreating our steps.

 

Jaigarh Fort from a distance....

 

Majestic Walls of Jaigarh...

 

Out Side Amber Fort...

 

Dr.. Hazra... Does it ring a bell... Begalis will be able to tell...

 

Snaking down the same road built and owned by Indian Air Force, we reached the Junction on Jaipur Delhi road from where we had ascended to the Fort. A little later to our left lay the magnificent Amer Palace dazzling in the radiance of the sun. I could not help stopping to capture a few shots of the Palace. Soon after we had crossed the Palce, right before us rose magnificent walls up the sides of a hill almost like the Great Wall of China… the only difference probably being in its length.

 

Amer Palace...

 

The Great Wall of Jaigarh...

 

The walls and hill sides gradually gave led us to Delhi Highway NH8. The LCD clock in the car said it was past 1:30 pm when we finally began our home run on NH8. I restricted myself to 85kmph as long as we were in Jaipur jurisdiction. There was nothing to regret… even if the speed checkers would not have been present, the condition of NH8 would not have permitted driving any faster. But since we had been speed for the last six days, the inertia led me to step hard on the gas pedal as soon as we were beyond the speed checkers.

 

The road would suddenly narrow down due to expansion works and then again spread out. After negotiating a couple of such things, I got the hang of them and managed my speed, often with a cheeky overtake now and then. While the Roadways Busses would not give way refused to give way, we had to zig zag our way past the trucks. Though this was dangerous, we had enough space and ‘confidence’ in the heart to perform the cheeky maneuvers (these are dangerous please don’t try them at home… read roads, unless you know very well about what you are upto). Our progress wasn’t bad, when we made it past huge jams at Manesar and a few other tolls en-route to Gurgaon, to reach Dhaulakuan at about 5:15pm, meaning we had covered about 267km in 4 hours flat. Ironing out the time spent in the jam even after maneuvering cheeky this side and that side, and wait at the toll booths, the effective time taken was 3 hours which meant we did about 90 kmph against the normal 5 hours. This was very satisfying and now it was the odd 20 kilometers need to be back to where we started from… home sweet home. The phones had begun to buzz as we announced our entry to Delhi. We told mom we would be home in about an hour if not less.

 

But this was not to be. Just as I slowed down near Dhaulakuan, an Indica car going towards India Gate suddenly chose to swerve to where we were. Instinctively I too swerved to the left to avoid hitting him. I managed to avoid hitting him but a biker who tried to overtake me at that moment from the wrong side could not control himself as he grazed past us… well to stop and alight. Sensing trouble I pointed to the Indica as the real culprit (though the biker was responsible too because he tried to overtake from the wrong side). The fellow motioned me to alight as he flagged the Indica to a stop behind me. And just as the biker and I approached the Indica, the driver suddenly reversed and zoomed past us brushing me so hard that I was flung on the road. Luckily there was no traffic passing by at that moment else it would have been a sure run over. But before any one could react, there were vehicles rushing past me from all sides. My elder daughter had to hold back my younger daughter who was hysterical and wanted to jump out of the open window as she witnessed me being flung to the center of the road with vehicles zipping past me. Interestingly the biker had vanished away in the confusion that prevailed. As I picked myself up and made it to the road side, a passer by who had witnessed the entire episode gave details about the Indica, before vanishing away. It took about half an hour for the PCR to arrive, who after listening to us took us to Dhaulakuan Police Station barely two minutes walk from the spot. I had bruised my knees. The tough traveler jeans had been so severely scraped that it had holes where my knees hit the tarmac. The police wanted to take me for a Safderjung Hospital for first aid. But since I was real tired and had my family accompanying me, I declined the offer even though it made my case weaker and preferred to lodge an informal report. Realising that my wife was in a way affiliated to them, the cops assured us that they would see to it that the man is taken care of that night…

 

What happened later is anyone’s guess, but at the end of it, it were the cops who gained out of the situation. On my part I lost on time and my favourite pair of jeans… Luckily it wasn’t too worse than that. We reached home an hour after we had announced our expected time of arrival and this made mom very anxious. My family was distressed too… and these were some things I did not have in my itenery. There is a saying that “all is well that ends well” That we returned safe… that Ram Piyary suffered just some scratches and nothing more… was in totality something that “ended well…” Thus came to an end a Wonderful Rajasthani Saga that began on the 1st of January 2011 and ended on 7th January 2011 running over 1800km approximately…

 

A trip that we will cherish for a long time.

 

It was finally Home Sweet Home…

 

Some points to note:

 

  1. Keep your permit documents (if any) or exact change ready at Toll Booths for smooth and quick passage.
  2. Keep your cool while driving. Helps in keeping at least one devil behind the wheels off the road.
  3. Try to remain calm and remain in doors as much as possible when in a face off situation on the road. Helps in keeping safe.
  4. National highways have speed limits upto 90kmph. Most important metros along such highways have speed monitors. Over speeding can lead to unsavoury situations as well as more fuel consumption and even mishaps. Speed only when there is a compulsion and you know you'll be able to handle the situation.
  5. Start early, because mornings are cool and one can cover longer distances in more comfort.
  6. Avoid traveling at night unless one is accustomed in doing so. Glares from approaching head lights can turn night driving into a nightmare for all those who have vision complications.
  7. Drive in such a way that you enjoy driving. Don’t turn it into a competition of sorts.
  8. Ensure that your vehicle is in the best of health before going on a long drive.

 

Happy Touring…

 

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