Saturday, July 26, 2008

Time Traveler!

Saturday, July 26, 2008
With 10 days left for my holidays to end, I decided to give my grand parents, who reside in Jammu, a surprise visit.

But before this, I had to spend five days in Delhi. Oh wait a second. Guess I made a geographical faux pas. I had to spend five days in NCR. The need for the correction is immense. From a traveler’s point of view, NCR provides quite an experience. Oh and do add the budget constraint as well as the inclement weather to the melting pot.

Having stayed in Hyderabad for most of my life, I have to say that traveling has never occupied a major portion of my day. The reason for this is because Hyderabad is quite a small city and commuting doesn't really take much time. Its only after spending time in Delhi and neighboring agglomeration that I have discovered what "taking time" really means. My uncle says as I sit there gaping 'Yeah that place is quite close by, just about 9-10 kilometers'

To begin with, Noida has too much crime and Gurgaon has too many rich people. Also, due to the latter, commuting in Gurgaon without your own vehicle is just impossible. Cabs are expensive (as would be the case in any city), cycle rickshaws show too much attitude and take an eternity to reach even the simplest of destinations. And the auto rickshaws’ have absolutely no space to sit. Why no space you ask? Because the public transport is so poorly developed that the working class simply unleashes itself upon any and every auto or shared cab it encounters, like hungry hyenas (sometimes, with shovels). Want a 360 degree turn from Gurgaon? Then come to Noida. Here you will encounter cycle rickshaws wallahs encompassing the entire territory, steering their vehicles with finesse. People are also appreciably less “cooler” if you get my drift. And the crime rates soar high with someone being killed every day (to add to that, Noida is quite close to Ghaziabad border). Thankfully I did not know this, so I had no problems while hopping down sector 34 at midnight.

But as always, life moves on in both these cities.

It becomes a real carnival when one has to travel from Noida to Gurgaon and one has angry friends waiting in Gurgaon. The journey is something I am proud of. My cousins in Noida told me that the journey takes around one and a half hours by a direct bus. Guess they forgot to mention a multiplication factor which equals 2 in this case. Guess they also forgot to mention that the bus would leave me in a jungle from where I’d have to take another bus which was as stubborn as a (pardon the cliché) mule.

It just wouldn’t budge.

Oh but it was a disco, with all that testosterone pumped grinding that I got to experience for those 2 hours in the bus. Too bad that I couldn’t enjoy it for I was too busy clutching onto my wallet with one hand and my cell phone with the other. A true test of resilience and patience. The journey has also sharpened my sensory perceptions. I can distinguish between different types of odour (for my sample space is enriched with a wide variety) more efficiently now.
And so as I waited in Gurgaon that evening after meeting my pals, for time to pass, so that I could take a bus from Iffko Chowk to Delhi’s interstate bus terminus to get my bus to Jammu, I get a call from my mother.

Rishabh, there’s an indefinite curfew in Jammu. You might have to just get
off the bus at Pathankot itself if they seal the border. I’d say reiterate you
trip for the next set of holidays

Sigh! Its 8 in the evening and I’m stranded in Gurgaon. And have 5 more days to spend here.

Photo source:


vineet pandey

At least You didn't have to fight the comnibed forces of coconut oil-sweat and daaru . Sigh! I miss Kerala.


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@vineet: enough daaru for these hols for me :P

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