THE MOST UNUSUAL SOLO TRIP - THE START || PART 1 Skip to main content

THE MOST UNUSUAL SOLO TRIP - THE START || PART 1

I and my sister decided to visit Bhutan on the 24th of March for its international festival and trekking.  Bhutan hosts this beautiful international festival called Paro International Festival and I wanted to witness it. We had made all the reservations for flights and train but left the reservations of Hotels for on the spot booking. On the 24th morning, I arrived at the Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and met my sister, all set to see the spectacular view of the festival that was being organised which looked just like this.


   
I expected to see people dancing on the roads, wearing traditional dresses and huge dragons on the way. But soon, my sister spoke the words that shattered all the above imaginations. She said, "I won't be able to go, I have some really urgent work in the company, I am really really very sorry". I was like what the hell? Why didn't you tell me before? She said the flights were non-refundable and still I thought we could hang around in Delhi. We could also book a hotel in Delhi. I had no idea what to say now. The departure time was still three hours away. We decided to eat something at the airport and then leave. While eating a sandwich I thought, Why can't I go alone? People do the solo trip all the time and I have heard really great things about going on a solo trip. I have heard they might become your best trips ever. That inspired me. So I made up my mind in a positive direction, or so as I thought. I decided to visit Bhutan on my own and witness the Paro Internation Festival. I decided to go on a solo trip. My first solo trip to a place all unknown, a new country. But soon it turned out a solo trip that no one can imagine.

      I had a 5.5kg bag pack. I could have taken it as a piece of carrying baggage in the flight or as check-in baggage. Normally I do not check-in as it is just some overtime headache. But an old lady came to me and asked how to check-in her luggage. It was the first time she was travelling. I told her about the process but she was confused. Therefore, I decided to check it in with her since the queue was very short and what's the harm? I could help the lady. The flight soon took off to Bagdogra and it was a really small airport. The infrastructure of the Bagdogra Airport was so bad that some of the Delhi metro stations are better than that. It was so small airport that I could see the flight standing in the back from almost 300 meters outside the airport on the road. I waited beside belt no. 1 on Bagdogra Airport for my bag. I waited and waited for it. Soon I saw there is nobody left beside me. Everybody had left. The belt stopped moving. I went to the belt manager and told him that my bag had not arrived from Delhi. They said it happens sometimes. Let me check. He went to the Flight and Cargo department. He returned empty-handed. He said to me, "Your baggage is not in the flight" and these were the words I was hoping not to hear. He took me to the cashier of Jet Airways. The cashier was just his designation, he used to do a lot of work that did not involve money. He enquired at the Delhi airport and told me that my bag was stopped in Delhi Airport because it had power bank in it.



     It came as a shock to me. The problem was not the clothes. The problem was not my phone charger. The problem was that my wallet was in my bag. I had 20 INR in my pocket and all of my money and cards were inside my wallet. It was a shock. I couldn't think of a place to live in a city I don't know anyone. The cashier completed the formalities and denied any compensation as per the Jet Airways rule. I did not even have the money to take an auto-rickshaw. I felt so helpless in a completely unknown city. I called my sister and told her about the situation. She booked an OYO for me but I did not have money to go to the hotel, no battery in my phone and no internet. That 1 hour passed so slowly, I couldn't believe when I watched my watch. It was a very long 1 hour. I somehow managed to convince one auto-rickshaw driver to take me to the hotel and promise him to pay back (although I did not know how but I told him I don't have any money with me). He was a very nice person. He took me to the hotel and asked the receptionist to lend me some money and also told him about my situation. The receptionist lent me the money and I promised him to transfer in his account as soon as I get my phone charged.

   The hotel name was Jagat Inn. The entrance of the hotel was really confusing. It looked like you are entering through a shopping mart (a very poor and old one) and the reception is one of the shops in the mart. The hotel was away from the reception. I did not expect anything from the hotel, I just wanted a bed and a charger. But to my surprise, it was a very nice hotel. It was just constructed and was so new that the paint job was still going on. What do you expect from a new hotel? Everything was working, everything was new, everything was more than expected. I quickly asked for the charger and lied on the bed. I did not know what to do, did not know how will I spend 6 days at this place. Still, I knew just one thing. I needed some sleep.




I woke up to the sound of a knock. Someone brought a charger for me. I plugged in the socket, switched it on and went downstairs. I have now arrived at this place, what the hell in exploring it? It was evening in Siliguri. I decided to visit the local market. It was the only thing that was "worth" watching. It was the first time I have arrived in West Bengal. As I went on the road, 90 out of 100 shops were cutting fishes and chicken openly. Everywhere I saw, I found fishes. Well, I had heard of this scene from friends but it was too much to watch. It would look like I am exaggerating but I have no choice, this is the truth, and yes it looks like I am making it up. The market was the most non-happening place I have ever seen in my whole life. It was so lame, I felt I have travelled 40 years back somewhere in Vietnam (although I have never visited Vietnam). I still do not understand why everyone shouts in the plainer areas of West Bengal. No one I saw talked peacefully to a stranger. A shopkeeper shouting at customer and customer is shouting back. I decided then and there, this must be my last night at this soul-sucking place. This had to be.

    I called the Jet Airways cashier many times but he did not pick up. So I tried to get familiar with the waiters and other people working in the hotel. They all were very young, less than 20 years of age and all were fed up with their life. Still, they would joke around and laugh at each other. The owner would shout at him, "Bring me water" and as soon as he turned his back the waiter would say to me, "Won't be drinkable for sure" and laughed. I laughed along with them. I never asked their name, nor did they asked mine but we talked for 5 hours straight sitting outside the reception. We laughed almost all the time. I had forgotten my situation for some time. I had forgotten I was in a city where very few people speak my language and I have nothing with me. All those things were digested with the cold drink and the laughter I shared with them. I walked inside my room then and they went home. I hoped to see at least 30% of charge but sadly my phone had just charged to 6% from 4% in 6 hours. The charger was not working correctly and it was too late to ask for another. I slept hoping for something better the next day.

   My sister's roommate Chandani lives in Gangtok, Sikkim around 80km from Bagdogra. Her father arranged 10000 INR for me and sent them through a taxi driver whose taxi number was 2333 as I still remember because I had to. I had no charge and my reception was on and off. At least, something was getting better. I paid to the hotel, shook hands with the waiters. They asked me to visit Bagdogra again and stay with them. I have no such plans but I would love to meet them once again. I called the same auto-rickshaw driver from the day before and went to the airport. It was not a shock to see that my bag had still not arrived. Still, it was in Delhi and still, it was under security area. He asked me to wait another day but also warned me that maybe the bag won't come tomorrow also. All my belongings were in the bag, I had nothing with me except my mobile. The cashier did whatever he could. He called and called everyone at the Delhi airport. He dropped a priority email to the airport authorities. He did everything he could but still he could gave me no guarantee. What to do now? Chandani's father invited me to his place. I thought, I really cannot stand to spend one more night at this lame and soul-sucking place. I checked my pockets, I had 10000 INR, what else do I need? I decided to leave for Gangtok. A place I always wanted to visit but never could. A place about which I had read in my tenth hindi textbook and left some memories in my mind. But wait, do you think everything is over? Well, adventure is about to start.

Comments

  1. A well-told tale of your unfortunate experience. That would have shaken even the most experienced traveller. Well done on turning a negative into a positive adventure...although it must have been pretty unnerving at the time. Looking forward to the next part.

    ReplyDelete

Post a comment

Popular Posts

How To Plan A Budget Trip To Darjeeling

Darjeeling is one of the most famous destinations for people all around the world. My flight was full of couples and newlyweds (including the foreigners) while going to Darjeeling. I hope one day or other, you will plan a trip to Darjeeling and I hope this post will help you a lot. My Own Experience Of Solo Trip To Darjeeling I had a very adventurous experience while going to Darjeeling. I had planned to go to Bhutan but my luggage had power bank in it. It was stopped in Delhi and I got it after a few days. It was then I decided to visit Darjeeling and since I had no money, I planned a good budget trip. You can read my experience here: The Most Unusual Solo Trip Anyways, if you are only interested in going to Darjeeling, read below. How To Reach Darjeeling? Darjeeling can be reached either by air or train from anywhere in the country. Reaching Darjeeling By Air: To go via flight, you have to board the plane going to Bagdogra. Bagdogra airport is the clos

The Untold Story Of A Few Good Men - Kheerganga || Part 1

This blog post is about a few good men I met on the way to the peak of Kheerganga and I will come later on it. Don't presume from the name Kheerganga that I am going to recite you the beauty of the nature that I saw and how white snow embellished the high peak mountains. Well, as I said in my earlier post I would like to share my experience. The natural experience is experienced by everyone. I decided to write this post because of something else to which I will come a little later. This post is about a story which resides in the humble heart of these few men whom I met in Kheerganga. My Kheerganga story perhaps. Kheerganga is a beautiful place which is in the hilly ranges of Himachal Pradesh. I went from my hometown Haridwar to Bhuntar by boarding a normal bus. The driver was old and I thought he might take some extra time to reach the destination i.e. Bhuntar. But no!! I was wrong. The way he drove the bus on the hills is inexpressible. He was driving at a speed on wh

Countries With Visa On Arrival For Indians In Asia || Asia Travel

 From my experience and talks with my friends and travellers, I have concluded one thing for sure: Indians want to skip the visa process and are happy to visit the countries where visa on arrival facility for Indians is available. Money hardly matters in such cases, visa on arrival for Indians is all they would like to hear. In this post, on the same track, I will present you top five countries that are known for tourism and provides visa on arrival for Indians in Asia. Thailand A country known for its party culture and beaches, Indians are lucky to have visa on arrival in Thailand. There are no prior preparations needed, you can just book your tickets and reach the airport with your passport. The visa will be stamped in Thailand and for Indians as of writing this post, is free of cost. Some websites would list the price as 1000 baht or 2000 baht but I have travelled there and it is absolutely free for Indians.  Bhutan The world's happiest country, Bhutan, provides visa on arrival

How To Plan A Budget Trip To Kheerganga Trek

Budget often thrashes the ultimate goals of travelling. Kheerganga is not one of them. Kheerganga trek is a beautiful trek laid out in Himachal Pradesh and visited by thousands of people every year. I made a budget trip to Kheerganga and I am here to tell you how. My Own Experience Of Kheerganga Trek: I had a pretty rough and unique experience since it was the last day of Kheerganga trek. If you want to read my experience of Kheerganga Trek, please visit this link . It is a multi-part story, and you can start from that link and comment on your thoughts. Anyways, if you are here just to get an idea about how to visit Kheerganga and how to plan a trip there, you are in the right place. So, let's start. How To Reach Kheerganga Trek From Delhi Kheerganga is only accessible by road and airways from anywhere in the world. Reaching Kheerganga By Bus: Kheerganga can be reached by bus through HIMSUTA buses or any other Volvo buses from Delhi, Dehradun an

A Better Path To Satisfaction

On a Sunday morning, a very famous Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide in his flat in Bandra, Mumbai. Although there was no suicide note, a lot of theories have emerged regarding his attempt to end his life. I am tired of a new theory coming every day and reading them does not bring us to any conclusion. But the main essence of every theory is, "Sushan Singh Rajpur was lonely and under depression." Depression, a word that has taken a toll on a number of patients in the last decades. Except for the pockets of psychiatrists and hospital fund, depression is harmful. Loneliness and depression are often constituted together because of the relationship as the more lonely you are, the more you think and the more you get frustrated. During our evolution as human beings, we discovered that one man is easy prey, but 10 men are predators. This evolutionary process made us what we are today i.e. social animals. We are so social that the hardest punishment o

A Different Side To India China Skirmish || India-China Faceoff

The India China relationship is the current topper in all the news channel and for about three months now. But before jumping right off to the current India China relationship let's start at the beginning of where India China skirmish began. On December 2019, a new virus was identified into existence by WHO. A virus that the WHO was not sure about but tracing the infected people back to their travel history, each one of them had visited China. Not only China and anywhere but at a specific city called Wuhan which is quite big in size as well as population. The virus was found zoonotic and there are thousands of zoonotic viruses that do not spread to humans. The virus originating in Wuhan was inspected under the microscope and had similar properties to the SARS virus which erupted in 2003 all around the world. This virus had a crown-like structure on its boundaries and hence was named CORONA which literally means crown in Latin. With its behaviour resembling the SARS virus, it was al

Independence Day in India: Just A Holiday?

This 15th August, India celebrates its 74th Independence day as we complete 73 years of independence. A national holiday and the birth of a free and independent nation. Or is it? In this busy and self-centric world, as time has passed, people have started to shift their focus to things which are devastating culturally rather than positive changes that have taken place. " I know there are a lot of bad things happening all around the world, but there are more positive things happening which people overlook ", said The Dalai Lama in one of his speeches in front of thirty thousand people. That is indeed true in today's times!   As time has passed with we all standing here decades after that iconic "Tryst with Destiny" speech by Pandit Nehru, we have started to take this freedom too lightly and seeking freedom in things that are of very little relevance to us. It's like a caged parrot when freed is asking for the same level of resp

When The Desert Turned White - Rann Of Kutch (Rann Utsav)

In the darkroom and past midnight, I and my two friends decided to plan a trip. But the place should be something that does not dig deep into our pockets and gives a lifetime memorable experience as well. While my friend Harish (yeah! we share the same name, unfortunately) asked me, "Is there a place where you wanted to go?".  This question hit me with a place that I have been struggling to go for the past two years. A place which is as far as Indian borders could stretch, as colourful as a child's smile and as memorable as " once in a lifetime " place. I instantly said, " Let's go to Rann of Kutch to see Rann of Kutch Utsav ".  Not to my surprise, my other friend, Aminul said, "Where is this place?" and Harish added, "What is there to see?". I knew that pictures will speak louder than my words. I googled quickly, " Rann of Kutch Utsav " and showed them the images. I am quite sure I showed them this image:

The Story Of The Butterfly Effect With A Stranger

Have you ever felt that every small decision that you take and every small change that happens around you, that could have happened, either way, can change the outcome of certain events? Have you ever experienced the butterfly effect in real life? I never did until something so coincidental happened to me, it urged me to write a post about it. Last summer I was travelling to Mumbai. I stayed in Zostel (Hostel) in the Andheri area. It had been a long time since I visited Mumbai and met my friends there. Seeing this, my schedule was totally booked. I was in a 6-bed room in the hostel.  I just checked-in, put my stuff in the locker and went out to meet my friends. I returned late in the night around 11 PM or 12 AM maybe. I freshened up and laid on my bed. Like everybody else these days, I turned to my mobile and replied to some messages, scrolled social media a bit for a few minutes and then put the phone aside after my eyes started to hurt. I was tired of all the travel I did that day. I

2020 - A New Beginning

I am listening to a song. A very old song indeed. I don't know how but I got an urge to listen to it. A playlist instead. But, another voice is dominating this over my song. The voice of firecrackers. Oh! the new year has arrived and so has the wishes of so many people. So many people have forwarded there wishes to all their contacts which included me. But, I have not responded to most of them. What kind of new year are we celebrating? It's like celebrating independence on the cost of millions of lives and broken homes. I read the newspaper today and the first page is showing the same news as it has been for the past days. CAB protests at Lal Quila. CAA protests at Jama Masjid and many more protests at various other places. A new year but no new news. It is not a new knowledge that this country has been divided at the smallest levels till the top-most and the categories are so many. I am from a different cast of a different religion of a different state of a different ge
Managed and maintained by Harish Rajora