Havent blogged in a while, but am sitting at the airport waiting for boarding, so figured I’ld correct that now. For those of you who dont know, I’m on a roadtrip to create social change in Uttarakhand, where I’ll spend a couple of weeks. Doing what exactly, I’m not too sure, but rest assured, there will be fun!
But, to tell the tale as it started, let me take you to yesterday, the day of departure. Due to some massive work pressure, I wasnt sure if I could join the others on the train, due to leave at 8 that night. However, that evening, a little owing to actually finishing some work, but mostly due to my falling at several people’s feet, I was told I could go. I was thrilled, and rushed home , packed everything as quickly as I could, and left for the station.
I knew I had some time, so initially, I wasnt too bothered about the traffic jam. At some point however, I realised that there was still a fair distance to go, but not too much time. And the worst part was, I had everyone’s tickets! I kept urging the auto driver to hurry, and he kept assuring me, we would make it in time for the train. And so it was a huge shock when after a while, he casually asked me what time my train actually was!
When the wise guy finally got me there, I found the train had departed. But a quick call revealed that it might yet be possible to catch up with the train when it stopped at the cantonment station. So I jumped back into the auto and we were off again. I was really tense, and the wind on my face in that zippy auto, as I was fighting a second battle against time, only added to the drama.
In a while, the station drew up, and I grabbed my things, a large backpack, a heavy laptop and a pair of hiking boots, and ran towards the train, which was still standing. I jumped in and asked a startled guy standing near the door if that train was the Udyan express. He replied in the negative, and pointed to a train on the adjacent track.
My heart skipped a beat as I realised I was on the wrong track, but I regained my composure quickly, and without another moment’s hesitation, plunged from the train onto the gravel separating the two tracks, and with a massive effort, hauled myself onto the other train.
As I bent over and paused to catch my breath, unable to believe I’d somehow made it, I didnt notice at first that I was standing in a large dark coach. When I finally did, I was really puzzled, and stepped out to investigate. I found myself getting off one of several luggage coaches just standing on the track, unconnected to an engine. With no other train in sight, I asked someone standing there if the Udyan Express had left, and got a grave nod.
So there I was, standing in some random station, sweating, panting and and feeling like a fool, and the trip had officially started without me. I can think of a dozen things that can go wrong, and I’d even budgeted for quite a lot of bad luck, but not before it even began!
One good thing that could possibly happen if my luck stays true to current form, is that you the reader, could be in for some really funny posts (I hope not though!). To give you a taste of things likely to come, here’s a brief summary of what happened the last time I went trekking (you can read the entire episode here).
We’d gone on a night trek to the Skandhagiri hills. About 30 minutes into the climb, I was panting pathetically, but not wanting to tell the others that I needed a break because I was tired already, I pretended the scenery was so beautiful, I simply had to look at it for a while. Though they fell for it at first,after my third attempt, the others didnt buy it any longer, and I had no option but to trudge on. In a while though, I declared that I couldnt see anything (it was a night trek, and we were sharing torches), and that we should probably wait a bit for my night vision to acclimatise. The rest however decided to put two guys with torches around me instead, and push on. Thus foiled, I went on, feeling the slowly increaing pain in every joint.
Finally, I told ’em that my bag was too heavy, and since everyone had their own bags to carry, we should stop for a bit. To my incredulity, one of them actually offered to carry my bag along with his. I should have felt abashed, but it felt great to walk with a large burden off (duh!), so I gladly accepted the offer. However, the relief proved to be short lived, and the ache in every muscle, coupled with the shortness of breath was really getting to me. So when I saw a flat rock, I just climbed on, rolled over and refused to move, insisting that I would die a painful death if I did. The poor souls with me, patiently heard me out, waited for me to regain my breath (and some sense), and finally persuaded me to trek to the top.
And that was just a little hillock on the outskirts of Bangalore. I am now going to the Himalayas. Sigh, I forsee a lively fortnight for the readers of this blog..