Scorching heat and I with nothing in my hand decided to leave for Gangtok, a place named the cleanest city in India, a place most disciplined, a place whose beauty is incomparable. Last night in Hotel Jagat Inn I was encouraged by a friend of mine Vivek Gautam who told me his story when he was stuck at a place and had to steal blankets from a hotel to sleep at night. I still remember the conversation. I was alone physically but there were many people with me while I needed support. Again there were same friends whom I mentioned in my Part 7 of another series. I remember Vibha was as calm as she has always been on the phone. She is always like nothing has happened. I started to believe this was normal. I remember Ruqaiya laughing her heart out at my situation. I called Chandani's father from the airport and asked for the directions. He gave me directions and I sat in the same auto for SNT to take a bus to Gangtok.

     SNT buses were all filled by the time I reached there. It was around 2 pm. "There is no bus after this", said the lady at the counter. "Well how can I reach Gangtok today?" "Take a shared cab". Okay I said. There is a huge problem for me to take a shared cab. I can't sit in the backseat of a cab which has its face sideways. I start to feel nauseous and there has never been a day that I sat during a journey to a hill station on that seat and never puked. My eyes say we are moving where my face is but my ears says we are moving straight and this causes a state of confusion resulting in vomiting. One guy came to me and asked "Do you want to go to Gangtok?" .I said "Yes". "Come with me". I said, "Look I can't sit in the backseat". He said, "All the other seats are occupied". "Sorry then". I moved ahead and called Chandani's father again "I can't get a bus from Sikkim National Transport Bus Terminus". "There is another bus stand at a walkable distance from SNT Bus Terminus". "Alright". I moved ahead and about 150 meters away from SNT bus terminus saw the board "TENZING NORGAY BUS TERMINUS". "Well this is it". I quickly went to the counter and asked for the bus. The lady said, "There is only one bus to Gangtok at around 6 am in the morning, you can catch the bus tomorrow only". I asked her father again and he said, "You might have to take the cab now". I went outside the bus station and the tumult surprised me. I asked for the cab to the drivers there and they said, "You can get a cab from SNT only" I went back to SNT and the man that invited my earlier saw me. I told him, "I am ready to sit in the backseat". "Sorry brother, seats are now occupied". "Well, tell me where I can get another cab?" "Norgay bus stand". What the hell!! I just came from there and they said cabs are hired from here. I went again to the Norgay Bus Stand. I asked one person for the cab. He said, "My car will be here any minute, you can go in that, but you have to wait for a little". As soon as he said this a very skinny guy screamed from few meters away, "He is lying, they are looting everyone. Yesterday they took a passenger and dropped him on the way and asked them to go on their own from there. They are not trustworthy sir, come with me". Then the driver whose car was coming went to him and they both started shouting at each other. I have never in my life seen a place where people are so fond of shouting at each other. As I said in my earlier post even a shopkeeper shouts to his customer. I stood just beside the Norgay Bus Stand and I could see buses coming very frequently. As soon as the bus would come to the gate, many taxi drivers and other bus conductors would beat or bang hard on the bus with their hands and start shouting, "Move, Move". They would do that until the bus reaches the main road. They would do it even if there is a red light. I was so damn eager to sit in a cab. Please take me out of this place. This is the worst place I have seen in my life. I cannot withstand this for one minute and they are living their whole life in this place. I really wished I had never put that power bank in my bag. I was standing for about 1 hour now but there was no sign of any cab. Then the same skinny guy came to me and said, "Look what I told you, they are fooling you" and again the shouting started among them. I saw a taxi coming towards me from behind the bus stand but it was completely occupied. I crossed the bus stand and went behind it to see if there is any more cars waiting there for passengers. I saw a Mahindra Bolero 50 meters far away. I was so relieved to see GANGTOK written on the cab. I quickly went to the cab. It was completely empty. Maybe it was not going there. A man was tying ropes to keep his luggage on the top of the cab. There was no one there. I asked him, "I want to go Gangtok". He said, "Yes Yes I am going, bring your luggage and till then I will tie this". "This is all I have". "But you have nothing". I laughed listening to this. He laughed too and said, "No luggage? Great!!" One man came to me and asked, "Is this cab for Gangtok?" I said yes it is. He was a healthy man with specs and very small hair. He was around 6 feet. He sat inside on the front seat. I sat in the middle seat. The driver finished his work and came down.

Tenzing Norgay Buses
  The driver was a nepali man. He was short, wore white plain t-shirt and smiled on every sentence he spoke. He looked like a very happy man to me. We started towards Gangtok at around 4 in the afternoon. As soon as we came to the Bus Stand gate (around 10m away where the car was), his car stopped. He tried to ignite the engine but nothing happened. He said to us, "Self start is not working in this car" and then smiled towards us. Two men who were busy calling everyone to sit in that cab were his mates. They all worked together. You pay to this man and another will drive. I paid to the man who was calling everyone and 2 more persons came and sat inside. Cab was fully occupied now. Those two mates of the driver now pushed the car to start it. They were all laughing to what they were doing. It took them 3 pushes to start the car. I asked the driver, "What if this car stops in between". I was worried because Gangtok city is located high on the altitude. We will be climbing on the elevated road, it is a little dangerous there. He said, "No it won't" and smiled. Finally we started towards Gangtok.

Mahindra Bolero (Google)

The roads towards  Gangtok before we started climbing were very clean. They had trees on both the ends and it was cooler than the Siliguri city. I guessed outside Siliguri everything is pleasant. From the scorching heat that burnt me in the city, the clouds cooled down the place here. I could see black clouds moving in the mountains far away and we were going in the same direction. When we started climbing up the hill, the weather became more and more pleasant. I pulled down my window pane and enjoyed the cool wind striking my face and eliminating my tiredness. I saw towards the mountains and the clouds were darker than before. Wind speed rose and it was the most pleasant thing I felt till now. We were now much ahead and far away from Siliguri.
On the way to Gangtok
Time had past so quickly feeling the cold wind on my face and thinking about my trip till now. We were travelling for 1:30 hours now and I could see little droplets on the windshield of the car. That car was not seeing it's best days. It was making few noises and driver had the responsibility not to stop the car because it would be so hard for anyone to push on the elevated road. The wind speed increased to an extent that I had to close the window. It was not a pleasant weather anymore, it was the start of a storm. Far away I could see the rain shower on the mountains which looked like a five year old has brushed grey paint on a white canvas. On the right side of me I could see the river flowing down in the valley. Soon, brown and dry leaves started flowing in the air. There was no dust or sand, just the leaves as far as I could see. This scene stopped soon after two or three minutes. All of us were happy that at least we won't be stuck in storm but just then we heard a noise, it was the noise that came from under the car. The sound was as if a metal pipe is being struck to another metal pipe again and again. We asked the driver what is wrong? He said nothing is wrong, everything is fine. We knew we have hired the wrong cab.

Few minutes later just before the sunset the car passed through a pothole and after that the sound changed which was coming from the car. Now the sound of metal pipe being dragged on the road was all clear to us. I was sitting on the window seat. I peeked through the window to see what happened just now but I could see nothing. I told the driver, I can't see anything and he said, everything is fine. He was still smiling as he spoke any word. We could not stop the car because self start was not working. Few minutes later I was looking outside the window and noticed that everyone is looking at the car where the rear tyres are. Everyone was looking towards the tyres. That really made me curious, I knew definitely something is wrong. I peeked through the window again and I could not believe what I saw. Smoke was coming from the tyres and beneath the car. Being in India and watching Bollywood movies have made up my mind that this thing is about to explode. But I knew it is not that easy. I deleted that thought as soon as it came in my head and I told the driver that smoke is coming from the rear end. We had spent about 2.5 hours inside that car and it was the first instance I saw his face without a bright smile. He got worried I guess. But not that much. Who would not? Driving up the hill is a very tedious job for any vehicle especially for one who had 10 passengers sitting. No cab starts from Siliguri without at least 9 passengers out of 10. He did not have money since that skinny guy at the bus stand took the fare from all of us. I was sure this is the thing that had made him worry. Where would we spend the night if car breaks down? It was a complete forest area with no street lights and nothing for stays. I was worried too about the same when I saw droplets on his windshield. In a few seconds it was raining cats and dogs. The leaves were flowing everywhere I could see, rain was pouring so much it looked like someone is throwing the water at us and the atmosphere was as windy as one could imagine. It was the nightmare of my life. At least smoke cooled down a little but that did not solve anything. In a very few instances of my life I have seen such a storm and believe me I have even witnessed cloud burst. It was as windy as it can be, as rainy as it can be. It was terrible. The driver saw the Indian Oil sign a few meters away and stopped the car at the fuel filling station. I got down of the car and peeked down. It was raining so heavy, the droplets were pricking my eyes, neck and anywhere on my body it was touching. I saw a metal pipe broke down and was hanging from one end only. I asked the driver what is it? He said, "This is the spring, it keeps the tyres in position". I looked at the tyres and I could clearly see that the left rear tyre has moved a little bit back. It was touching the mud guard and the friction was producing the smoke including the sparks from beneath the car. The healthy man who asked me about the cab in Siliguri and two ladies were sitting inside, all the boys came out to have a look. We were stuck at a place where there is no electricity due to storm. You cannot even see the house few meters away. No streetlights, and the most efficient car of the world. I did not know whom to blame for this trip? Nothing good has happened till now. I was not worried, maybe because I had nine more passengers with me. They were calm too. I guess this is in the blood of Indians. It is really hard to make us worry about anything. Everyone was asking something to the driver but he did not answer. He had no answers, I knew it. The ladies started chatting, the man sitting in front started to chat on Whatsapp, four men sitting at the back were talking in Bengali, two boys took out a packet of Gold Flake and lit a cigarette. I looked at the driver who was thinking to do something and I asked him the million dollar question, "Can it be fixed?"


Popular Posts

A Broken Dream - Chandrayaan 2

I remember the day when Chandrayaan 2 was set to launch. My friend had left for Sri Harikota to watch it live in front of his eyes. It was a big event. Bigger than Chandrayaan 1. I was watching it live too. But, 56 minutes before the launch, ISRO decided to postpone the mission due to some technical glitch. Chandrayaan 2 was finally launched on 22 July 2019. I watched a lot of videos and read a lot about the mission. Its history, mechanics, trajectory, almost everything I could find. It was a big event for India and certainly a big event for the world. It is not that easy to reach the moon. I mean, you can just figure it out by seeing that only three countries have been there. India could have been the fourth.

Every time something Chandrayaan 2 did, it got reflected in the foreign media. Look, India's lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 has entered Earth's orbit. Look, India's lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 has exited the orbit. Look, India's developed Chandrayaan 2 has entered …

A Letter To Your Mother

Thanks for this beautiful gift you gave this world. "Thank You", seems like a smaller word. But wait, will this gift think like you do? Or is it independent enough? You must not have thought this. Actually, I have seen enough. I have heard enough. I am tired of this. Are you a parent? Or a child? I don't really care as of now. But, you should. You should go back and think about your actions. You should think about your thinking. Are we moving towards the age of robots or you already have given birth to one? I am confused.

Everywhere I see, every time I hear, the same whining and the same useless thoughts make me think about the existence of yours in this world.  You must have thought you are a great parent, a great mom perhaps. But, does someone else thinks the same? Is she proud of you in the same way as you are proud of her? No, she will think. Yes, she will say. "Nobody thinks of me", is the perfect solution and resolution to hundreds of problems you have i…

The Divided States Of India

As I landed in the city of Bangalore, a man is shouting just outside the airport. He is shouting something that I do not understand. Fortunately, he has learned 4 5 English words. After all, he is standing outside the airport. “Where,” he asks. “Marathahalli” I spoke. “Bus 8”. He says one word and starts shouting again. He was a bus driver. But most importantly, a resident of Karnataka state in India. Yes, this place is in my country and we both cannot communicate.

Many years back when I was in the eighth standard, my textbooks proudly and boldly highlighted the words, “India is a diverse country”. They would show the culture and folk dances of each state. Unique on its own. A moment to feel proud. You can never find a country as diverse as India, as culturally rich as India. That was just the textbook. My practical started almost 2 months ago.
Soon when I reached my hotel I realized nobody in the hotel knows Hindi. Yes, Hindi. A language spoken in India. A language which is not only…

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 which many o…


Earlier last year I went to Mumbai for an internship. People in Mumbai are of mixed culture. A heavy number among them is local people who speak local language i.e. Marathi. I also encountered the same situation everyday where I would find many people talking in Marathi in my office. Mumbai being an alive city will preserve its language for a long time to come. But this is not the case for every region.

I once had a chat with an old man sitting outside his house and thrashing the wheat. It was a nice morning in the month of July at a hilly area Karnaprayag. He was sitting on the ground and lived just 10 meters away from where I stayed. I used to see him everyday on the same chair while going to office. He was consistent. So was I. It was Sunday and my day off from office when I went outside the guest house into the sun. I used to live alone in that 3 BHK guesthouse and I used to feel alone sometimes. This loneliness lifted my feet in the direction of that man. I went to that man pret…

A Day Before Long Nights - The Start || Part 1

I took my empty bag, I took my jacket, dressed in college uniform I started my ride. I was going to my college to give my final semester presentation for the project I had done in LTI, Mumbai. I was happy about the fact that after today, there will be no exams, no attendance and my college life would be over. I had my days planned. Since I had been on the flight from Mumbai to Delhi to come home, I had planned all my days. I wanted to learn driving at a driving school. I wanted to learn swimming. I wanted to go to the gym. I wanted to go on at least three trips in one month. I had all planned but I guess life had other plans for me.

      I gave my presentation to a four judge panel out of which three were ladies. They were chit chatting and I don't remember any of them listening to me after I told them the company and brief of the project. My presentation was over as soon as they told me "Thank You". It was a moment of epiphany. My college was over with that sentence. I …


As I mentioned earlier, I was seeing double from the first day till now. My eyes did not improve even a little for many days. Everything I used to see was double. Two doors, two mobile phones, two coffee cups everything. The doctor said my pupils are not moving synchronously as they should and hence you are seeing two images of everything. The images are seen separately by both the eyes but our brain combines it as one, while in your case it is still two images. But, you will be fine with time. With time. This is a very vague sentence. There is no specific maximum limit nor there is any medicine. You will see normally with time. Hence, I waited for "the time".

Two days after I came home after being discharged, I picked up my father's phone, opened chrome browser and typed, GB Syndrome patients case studies. I wanted to know how much time? How everyone else have managed and how much time they took. I needed to know. I needed to be prepared at least. I read three case stu…

Mumbai Life

Mumbai as you know, is the financial capital of India with big buildings and sky touching hotels and apartments. But as I know, Mumbai is really more than that. I arrived by August Kranti Rajdhani from New Delhi to Mumbai transitioning from 0 degrees to almost 25 degrees. I had 2 sweaters in my hand and an internship offer letter in my bag which I had to show in LTI (previously L&T Infotech). First of all I was kind of looted at the railway station by the cab driver. Well, let's not say looted but I was charged like uber after finalising lesser amount before getting into the cab. On the way I got to know that so called kaali peeli taxi and the ola-uber taxi have become arch rivals on this land. Well, still I believe that you should not get into those cabs and prefer ola-uber only. They really try to play smart and think they can earn more from Non-Maharashtrian,

      Next day, I had to go to my office from the famous local train. I had never seen so much crowd at one p…


A smile on his face, tied to the ropes, 10 heads and considered one of the most intelligent man, Ravana is standing in front of me. He is about to die. He is about to be "killed" actually by a man who was exiled, saving his wife and one of the greatest leaders in mythological history who led millions to the other country for this event.
For those of you outside the boundaries of India, Dussehra is a festival celebrated in India.

Coming back, I am standing with hundreds others. They are celebrating, eating street food and enjoying with their family and friends. It has been like this for the past hundreds of years. It has been like this for the past 23 years of my life. But today, I am alone looking at him and his brothers and wondering a small thing. Why are we celebrating this festival? Every festival has a meaning, a lesson which is moral and some reason to be happy and celebrate. You must be having your own festivals with all these characteristics. But what about Dussehra…


Vishnu poured four cups and the owner asked me, "Do you want some?" I asked, "What is it?". "Oh! this is our favourite alcoholic drink prepared by jaggery in our homes. We can't go so far into the town just to bring a bottle. Our forefathers have derived a way to make it in home. Our mothers and wives prepare it." Although I would not have accepted the drink, but it sounded exciting and I knew I might never get to taste it again in my life. So I happily agreed. It tasted just like jaggery dissolved in some bitter liquid. I drank very very slowly intentionally so that they can enjoy their last day with whatever they had without involving me. I asked him, "So what are your plans for the future after this?". "Plans? Huh! This was not even a plan that is happening with us. We are in pain." Vishnu said, "Brother, this is something we never wanted. This is our living and they are snatching it from us" "They who?" I a…
Managed and maintained by Harish Rajora