Travel had been on my list of resolutions this year quite long. I was thrilled when a friend of mine, M, suggested a trip in June. First quarter had been gone a waste due to my fractured hand and the second quarter was also about to end with due precautions being taken for my injured hand. So, this trip was more than a welcome treat to my heart and mind to escape the monotony of my life. I jumped to the offer. After a few hours of research, we decided on the hows, the whens and the wheres! Planning a trip had always been my favourite task! Everything was set. It would be a peaceful relaxing trip, or so we had thought! Our excitement grew as the day came closer.
On the day 1 of our trip, we were to wake up early to catch our train to Vapi (nearest Railway station to Daman) at 6.30 AM. We were supposed to meet the other two of our friends at the Andheri station at 5.30AM. From there we would get the local train to Mumbai Central, the station where our train to Vapi, originated.
“Job fills our pockets, Adventure fills our soul“, said out loud my friend N, while going to bed.
To which I retorted, ‘It’s a peaceful trip with hardly any adventure on our plate.” If only I had known it otherwise. So, here’s what exactly happened. Couldn’t be told otherwise.
The alarm rung and we (me and N) woke up almost instantly. We were to get ready and reach station by 5.30AM, which was 10 minutes ride away from our home. I was in-charge of waking up M. So as soon as I opened my eyes, my fingers were already dialing her number but no response from the other side.
Six calls and still no response. We got ourselves busy hoping that she would be getting ready too, but we both were fearing the worst that she still wasn’t up.
We were almost ready to leave for station in another ten minutes and still no response. Eleven missed calls. Calling the other friend P, we got to know that she wasn’t answering his calls either. There wasn’t much left to hope for now.
In the last few minutes or so I had stopped calling her and called P instead. I asked him if by any chance he had any idea of M’s address. I had been to her place only once so couldn’t possibly locate it right away.
P luckily found her address and sent it across. It was not time to put aside all the hopes and jump into action. Me and N locked our place and quickly descended the stairs and found the auto five minutes later.
During all this time, one of us was calling M continuously and to P for any updates he might have and the other navigated the auto driver through google maps. But in the country like India sometimes Google can be no help at all. And unfortunately, this was one of those times.
We had almost reached in the vicinity of her place. Being here only once I could just recognize the place but not exactly the building as every other building looked pretty much the same. Another five minutes were gone in asking any person that we came across that where this particular PG (Paying Guest) building was! Half of them didn’t knew what we asked for, another half just shrugged off and walked away. Finally, a man helped us out with the directions. I had, by now, already jumped out of the auto for better idea of the streets while N followed me in the auto.
By now we knew that it would be impossible to catch our train from Mumbai Central, the backup plans kept on propping up in the background of my mind. Just when we thought things wouldn’t be going as planned, P called up to inform that M had finally received his call and was finally awake. A sigh of relief. But we were still to locate her house. Meanwhile we came across a lady to whom I again asked my question if she knew the place we were looking for. She seemed to be in her own mood and this is what she said (because it was something that we won’t ever forget just for the sake of drama involved!)
(imagine this being said in a slow sing-song voice and that too when you neither have a single second nor a moment’s patience to spare)
“PG to idhar bhi hai, PG toh udhar bhi hai.. PG toh hamare yahan bhi hai..” [PGs are this side too, that side too.. We have PG at our place too]
I waited no more and started walking away from the lady without any acknowledgment of her reply. It was then I suddenly spotted a little in-house play school. The board stood out loud with a big image of beaver next to its name. My memory suddenly decided to help and I remembered the building next to this play school was the building we were looking for. Phew!!
But the struggle wasn’t over yet. Though I remembered the building now, I couldn’t place which floor it was! We literally contemplated ringing the bell of each of the houses. Luckily we didn’t. Repeated calls to M saved us from that.
After 30 missed calls and an hour’s struggle we were finally back in our auto heading towards the Andheri station and this time along with M, who was in a denial mode of everything that had just happened. And finally, our heart beats returned to normal.
The other local train for Mumbai Central left at 5.48 and in these last two minutes we were running like crazy with our luggage. But we made it to the platform before the train could. Another five minutes but the local train was still nowhere in sight. We changed our plan to catch our train to Vapi from the another station now.
The Irony of the situation was, first we were running late when we were to catch train at 6.30 and now were waiting for the next hour for our train to arrive at the different station. At 7AM, the train arrived and we boarded. The adventure has finally ended but the trip had just begun.