Friday, August 13, 2010

Himalayan Trek - Part 1

I always liked sea.

The breeze, the calmness, the vastness and the trance: all made me closer to them.

I loved mountains but never been to one before I went and saw the great Himalayas.

My life – has changed after that.

Every year, in the month of May, Youth Hostel Ass
ociation of India conducts a trek for the youths(read as all) for a 11 day to cross Sarpass – near kasol in Himachal Pradesh. They provide food and accommodation and also guide you cross the pass. Instead, you have to behave according to the code and conduct of YAHI – which means no alcohol and no smoke :) and more importantly early to bed and early to rise.

Before I begin the description about my Himalayan expedition, let me give a preview of what happened before I reached the land of snow.

I first heard about this trekking programme from one of my friend who had gone the year before. He said it was an experience beyond anything he had felt or ever feel. He didnt say anymore and I didnt think further. Then and there I had decided to go.

I basically prefer to travel alone. But this time it was different. Along with me, came three more. All of them were my campus friends. 3 years of industrial experience had made me an epitome of laziness. And even though I never planned anything, the others had enough maturity to do advance booking of the train tickets – both to and fro. So we had a train booked to Delhi and then back after 13 days. Even though we booked on the second opening day of booking, we still were in waiting list category. They were optimistic that we could pull it off - “hey there is 2 more months”. But I had a fair bit of idea about the things that were going to happen.

Around two weeks before the start of the trip, one of my travel mate informed me that the ticket had not confirmed yet. But he was still optimistic that it would confirmed. Time was ticking. I didn't mind the ticket getting confirmed because I had something inside me repeating all the time that I was going to be at the foothills of Himalayas. But we started to panic once it was close to the D-day and ticket were not even budging from their waiting list status. Then one of us suggested of taking a ticket from an agent. Youth of today cares less about money and they , I believe, trust everyone. We spend around 7000 bucks to get a confirmed ticket to Delhi on May 15. Even though we still had the tickets that we reserved, we thought there was no harm in having a backup. The problem was our ticket started moving up the status on the D-1 day while the ticket with agent still hadn't moved. One of my friend was so good in statistics that he analyzed the train booking series for the train we had booked and said we would get ticket. But we believed more on the agent and hence we canceled our ticked and put our entire bet on the agents one, which was one day later. Thats were all the problem started. On May 15, we four reached Bandra station at around 4:00 to catch 4:15 train. To our dismay, we came to know that our ticket had a status of waitling list 1 to 4. The agent from whom we had booked was no-where to be seen.

As we watched helplessly, we saw the train moving away – so too was my dream. But I had decided to go. My phone ceaselessly dialed number of all possible airliners. We came to know that there was an Air India flight from Mumbai International terminal at 8. Within half an hour, we were in front of the ticket counter at the terminal. “4 tickets to Delhi for the 8:00 PM flight please” I did not want to waste anymore time. I was shocked to hear that flight was full. I would have vented out all my frustration to that lady at kiosk. But lack of time compelled me cut down no -nonsense talk to updating their server information every 5 minutes.

I could see my himalayan trek going into smoke. But there was one chance left – I called up another airline which had a flight at around 11:30 PM. The flight was available and I did not waste time in booking the ticket directly through the phone. The issue was, the flight left from Mumbai domestic terminal and not from where we were currently holed up.

After about an hour fighting for a taxi, we finally reached the domestic terminal. As soon as we arrived, we checked in. The airport was as usual busy with 'god knows what' but that did not stop me from drifting to my Himalayan dream. It was around 11:40 when we finally boarded the flight. And in about 2 hours we landed at Delhi airport.

I was definitely going to see the great mountains!

To be continued.

Dedicating this post to never dying spirit of भारतीय प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान, मुंबई including all its goof ups :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Questions

In a lifetime, there are many questions that stare at you.

We try to answer them. And Everybody have a reason behind these answers.

But, there are some questions which have an answer but no reasons for that answer.

If you set apart that bunch of questions, may be, you can find the ones that actually need an answer.

Life, after-all, is all about asking the right questions.

And if you can find answers to them - life becomes a bliss.

I think, finally, I have started asking the right questions.