You see the seeds of this thing were planted as far back as July of 2006 (almost two months before I started this blog). We, my post-grad group, wanted to relive the days of the yore and have fun together again. There were many trips that were planned but died a natural death due to non-feasibility.
The trip that we finally were able to manage was a flying visit to Coorg in 2008 year end. After that trip we had decided that we were a bearable company for each other even after four years and wanted to do an encore. This materialized when I shifted to a new city closer to my friends and we started planning a trip.
I am not aware as to who was the promoter of this plan but the group came up with plan to go to Pondicherry. This got shifted to Lonavala, subsequently the location was changed to Coorg, Panchgani, Gokarna, and finally it was Goa.
It’s become a sort of given as far as I am concerned. Whenever I am going on a trip I am invariably late or rather just in time. My TQM (Total Quality Management) faculty would definitely be pleased if he saw how frequently I use some concepts that he taught. When you have to cover 15kms during rush hour in 15 minutes or less it sort of takes the fun out of thing. My friend, when he dropped me at the auto gave specific instruction to the autowallah that I had to catch that Volvo, anyhow. I was not sure if he was genuinely concerned about me or just wanted to get rid of me, the optimist in me prefers the first option. The autowallah too was somebody who had come straight from Monaco Grand Prix or that he had missed his calling as a dirt race biker. Eitherway his driving made sure that I resumed my not so frequent communication with God, willing him, requesting him to please just let me live. The autowallah’s antics almost made me laugh but I was scared after he shot down my request to stop to buy ‘Slice’ by saying that ‘We don’t have time, we will get late’. How audacious is that?
Couple of frantic calls were made to the travel agency to assure them of my approaching presence, they said they will wait. Finally we reached, only to realize that in my hurry I was trying to check for the wrong bus and that the bus I was supposed to travel by had not even arrived. I paid Schumacher with a 500-Rupee note. He came back with a lashing, “Would I be driving an auto if I had change for that?” I deemed it wise not to answer that question at that time.
There in the darkened street I waited for the bus. This was where I was treated to a cornucopia of smells, a deadly combination of sweat, ammonia, and what not. I am sure the upscale fashion brands have not experienced these else they would have bottled these and marketed as an eccentric fragrance. Waiting for the bus was not as bleak; there was a regular onslaught of myriad people from all over the world, including the fairer sex (wink, wink) which kept me pretty entertained.
The journey was surprisingly uneventful except for the normal tussle that always takes place when you travel in a bus with a stranger. This is when you and your fellow passenger (usually male) fight over space on the shared handrest. Usually in these tussles the length of the tussle for space is inversely proportional to the size of the passengers. The bigger the guy the lesser is the chance of the other guy of raising any questions over space. This time I got a weenie; I wiggled for my space and with a smug smile sat back listening to Steve Martini’s Undue Influence. All the while I was thinking that if this is how the journey has started, good times are ready to roll. I could not have been more wrong!
(Part II to follow in the meanwhile enjoy the view)