I have mentioned before about that fact that I am geographically challenged. So when it comes to travelling, I rather rely on somebody else. I know nothing about train routes and stuff. In fact, I hate trains. I can go one step further and safely say that I loathe travelling in them. I don’t mind those sitting journeys, but those overnight trips can really make me edgy. I prefer bus journeys, may be because the stinky toilets are not stuck to it. About a day before a train journey, the eating and drinking almost comes to a halt. I can assure you that in the past 5 days, I must surely not have consumed more than 500 ml of water.
I travelled to Mumbai. Was it that much awaited vacation? NO!!! I just want to pretend that the last 5 days did not happen. I cannot believe that we spend 5 days and a certainly ridiculous amount of money for nothing. The whole journey and the experiences amounted to almost nothing. So, now I am seething, knowing that, 5 days and a lot of money was wasted and I did not have that vacation that I so craved. It was terrible from the word go. By now you must have understood that I was dragged into this trip. There was a lot of emotional crap heaped on me and how I was not understanding why I should travel etc.
Like I said, I was on the edge. Once we got off the train, I told myself to stop cribbing and try and enjoy myself. I was really kidding myself. The accommodation that we ‘had’ to stay in was not really confirmed. We did not carry the address either, so we were at the mercy of the cab driver. And in a place like Mumbai, they fleece you like crazy. They can sniff an outsider. Mind you this was at 4:30 am. Now that we did not have a place to stay, we had to hunt for one. We did. And it was pathetic for the price we were paying.
Then we ‘had’ to travel on the local train. I was told that in Mumbai, you ‘must’ travel on the locals or you have not really experienced Mumbai. Well, if you ask me, I could really have done without that ‘experience’. The weather was humid, I just wanted to tear my clothes and get into a jeans n tee. But then, what am I thinking. What would the people we visit think about me! Ooops!
This gentleman that we visited was ill and his doctors have told his family that he is slipping away. Much as I felt sorry for him and his family, I had to acknowledge the fact that this man was just a neighbor to my in-laws. Yup! We went all the way to meet a neighbor! We travelled more than 2 days on stinky trains, paid hotel fare for 3 days, and what not, to see a neighbor. Can u imagine to what lengths we might go had he been a relative?? I shudder to think.
We just travelled to far and wide places in Mumbai, meeting people we could have really done without meeting. There was no time to shop or sightsee. Actually I did not care for it either. I just wanted out. I craved for those few trips that I made with my friends, where I could soak in the rain; dip into a pond, without a care. Then, it did matter how we got to our destination. Now, I have to watch what I eat, where I go, how I go etc, courtesy the fact that I have a kid. Then the whole thing of swine flu was looming large. I was worried sick.
The journey back was ridiculous. You see, we had waitlisted tickets, a fact that was kept hidden from me. We left the hotel at 10 am on Sunday, only to reach home the next day at 1 pm. We had to get off the train at 5 pm on Sunday in Pune because we did not have confirmed reservations. I was told that there are numerous buses that ply from there to Hyderabad. But as luck would have it, we managed to get tickets on the worst bus in the world, which was to depart at 7:30 and which finally started at 10 pm.
You must be wondering who is my travel coordinator, right? Well, that amazing person is my husband! Don’t laugh, you guys!!! I thought he might compliment me in the one area where I admit some weakness, i.e., travelling. According to his tales, he practically grew up travelling on trains and he knows many places like the back of his hand. Well, it looks like I have to invest in an atlas some travel books and some time on the internet if I have to travel ever again. Nope this travel coordinator is surely going to go out of business! I am not buying his plans, ever again!
Edited to add :
Shopping? You must be kidding. Where was the time? If you can count buying slippers to replace your broken one, then yes, I have shopped! We were so busy travelling like mad people from one end of Mumbai to another. I mean, none of the people we visited felt even remotely sorry for us knowing that we were travelling with an old lady and a young kid. They should have agreed to meet out. If I describe one of the eating experiences I had at a friends house, you' d really feel sorry for us. And the distance we had to travel to get there! Wow!
We did have a meal at the Leopold cafe and saw the Taj, both of which were vandalised by terrorists in November 2008. Leopold is back in business and there were those few tell-tale signs of bombs and gun shots. Sitting there, I realised how vulnerable the whole situation was.
I did not mention Neha on purpose. If there was ever a strain on our relationship, it happened this time. She really went berserk with all the travelling and the bad food. She practically lived on chocolates which gave rise to other issues. Travelling was a total nightmare. For some reason, my M-I-L who normally does not interfere when I disciplined Neha, decided to act up and interfered like crazy. So, every time I said no to a particular thing, that thing was promptly handed over by my M-I-L or husband. It did not take my tantrum free child too long to figure out how it works. She began daring me to try and discipline her. By the end of the trip, Neha even vocally said that she does not like me. It broke my heart.
When we got back, I had to really put my foot down and enforce some serious discipline. I am having to balance discipline and love very precariously now. It will take me a while to get things back in order. I am really fatigued in many ways. I am emotionally and physically strained by this trip.