The trip was no less than a pitara of colourful adventures. To start with, our bus got cancelled 4 hours before the boarding time. Apparently there was some issue because of Independence Day. So we had to book another bus with quite some difficulty. Luckily we got the sleeper class for our 13-hour long journey.
We boarded the bus at 10.30 PM. Soon after boarding, we realized that we didn’t get the berth we had booked. We hung over to an upper berth and made a tiresome journey to Pathankot (in Punjab).
On reaching Pathankot bus stand we saw an endlessly long queue of passengers trying their luck out to get their tickets. Some of those passengers were sadhu mahatmas who seemed quite horrendous to an ordinary man. It was difficult to stand in the queue, though. After a havoc of 20-25 minutes the ticket window closed. We got agitated and enquired about the problem. It turned out that the window will reopen after an hour, which meant waiting for the bus for another 2 hours.
Finally, we decided to take a taxi to our hotel. We had to wait for the taxi for half an hour and shared it with another passenger. Luckily our fare got cut down by 700 rupees.
We started our journey to the hotel. It was quite a hot one. Gradually we went uphill and the weather became cool. We reached the hotel and went to the reception to check-in. There, we realised that our hotel had not confirmed our booking to Goibibo, however Goibibo had confirmed our booking to us. We were in a fix. After a myriad of making calls which took us more 3 hours, we were finally given another hotel by Goibibo and we had to go 3 km downhill with all our bag and baggage to reach the new hotel. We were dog tired till then.
We reached the new hotel and decided to take a warm water bath to rejuvenate ourselves. So we got into the shower, and after 10 minutes of getting our hair and body wet, the water was out.
We were stuck in the middle of the bath in the cold evening. My husband wrapped a towel and got out of the bathroom to call up for the room service. To make things worse, we were informed that water won’t be available for the next 15 minutes since there had been a blockage in the main pipe and it was going under treatment. We waited. After 20 minutes when the water supply was still unavailable we called them back. To our bad luck it started raining heavily, so the treatment was not possible then.
We cursed the hotel and came back to the room shivering.
It’s a hell of task to dry the hair in a rainy cold weather, and my hair is already long.
Nevertheless, I grabbed the blanket and dozed off to sleep.
When we woke up it was still raining so we couldn’t go out of our hotels. We stayed shut in and finally it was time for dinner. Dinner wasn’t good either and I just pecked at few bites. I was still hungry, and felt like having Thumbsup so I ordered it. They gave us coke, but I managed. When I took the first sip my husband caught sight of the manufacturing date. Alas, it was expired.
We went back to our room and decided to watch TV. We switched it on but it wasn’t catching any signal. We came to the conclusion that it wasn’t our day so we slept back again.
The next day was pretty cool and fine. We visited the falls of Punjpulla and spent some relaxing moments there. We then headed to the Mall Road where I bought some wooden stuff along with the locally produced honey. We retreated back to the hotel at night and slept peacefully.
The day of 15 Aug came as a surprise because we couldn’t search any return tickets for Delhi; thanks to my husband who hadn’t booked it in advance.
We set our journey to Dent Kund and was mesmerised to see its calm and serenity. We sat there for few hours and felt the zephyr blow against our face. The best part were the clouds which hovered right above us. We drove back to the hotel and decided to leave for Delhi that night itself. We also went to a church near our hotel. I bought a wooden flower vase from the Indo-Tibetan market, which was at a stone’s throw from the hotel.
It was quite difficult to find for a way back to Delhi. We luckily booked 2 seats to Delhi on a sleeper train which started from Pathankot. But the plunge lied in reaching Pathankot. Somebody told us that a bus to Pathankot arrives at 6.20 PM; so we waited. We waited till 6.35 but it never came. There were a few more people who had their train tickets booked to Delhi via Pathankot. We were a group of 7 people sailing in the same boat. We decided to hire a taxi and reach the destination on time. So we did. It was a journey of 4 hours when we were just taking the never ending spiral turns of the mountains. It grew dark and our journey became scarier. A guy played some good music and we felt better.
The driver dropped us at Pathankot railway station. Actually, not at the railway station. He dropped us at the outskirts of a jungle, and told that that is the way to the railway station. Yes, at a jungle. Although the distance to cross it was merely a 500-700 metres of walk, but that short journey was a horrendous one. The jungle was reverberating with a creepy sound and it was basked in utter darkness. We turned on our mobiles’ flashlights and made way along a narrow non-grassy way. We reached the station heaving. We looked for the platform mentioned on our tickets, but couldn’t find it. So, we, once again lifted the heavy baggage and went across to the other platform climbing the stairs up and down. We couldn’t find our train. At last, my husband, along with another fellow of our cab went to inquire at the Help Desk. We were at the wrong railway station! This news came to us like a big black heavy cloud, ready to burst over us. The silver lining it had was, we could reach the other railway station by catching a train from the current railway station. We waited for half an hour for the train, and phew! We reached the railway station; this time the right one. We were literally drenched in sweat by then. We located our train, climbed onto our respective berths, dozed off in a never-ending slumber, only to open our eyes on arriving in Delhi.
These crispy memories will forever remain etched in our hearts, like a soldier’s name on his grave.