Meri Waali Trip!

My fiance calls me crazy for this. My parents get really worried when I resort to such ways. My friends think that what I am doing can turn out to be a total disaster in case the God decides to undo the blessings and luck that He supposedly is showering upon me. In short, they all think that this is very uncalled for and I should stop doing this on an immediate basis.

Well, I am talking about the fascination that I have with traveling around the country in my car, be it alone or with a couple of friends. This time around, it happened to be a very dear friend who decided to give me company.

Like all the other trips that I have undertaken so far, this one too didn’t have a plan. When I left my place to pick up this friend of mine from his, Kanpur was the city that seemed to have caught my attention, courtesy the wonderful campus of the college in which I happened to have spent the precious few years of my life.national park

By the time I reached his house, the plans had taken a 180 degree turn and the pleasure associated with spending some time in the vicinity of lush green woods seemed to have taken me in its grip. So, we decided that we should go to Dudhwa National Park in the Lakhimpur Kheri district, which is also known as the sugar bowl of UP, and is around 240 kms from Lucknow, the city where I happen to be living at the moment.

And there we were driving on the Sitapur road, which by the way has developed into an excelllent highway and when I say excellent it means, one can average around 80-100 km/h on the same for a stretch of around 80 kms or so.

As we were about to reach a destination where we supposed to take a right turn for the national park, an idea of going to the hills struck me. I looked at my friend and gave him a smile. The excitement could very much be seen in my eyes. Having known me for the past couple of years, he knew what I was upto. Fearing the odacity of the plan that I could have had in my mind, he said, “Don’t even think about it. We are going to Dudhwa.”

Though I wanted to bring my idea into reality, yet I had no issues when it came to spending some time in the woods. After reaching the national park, we opted for a Safari, which in many ways turned out to be a pleasant experience with us driving amidst the woods in a Gypsee with trees towering upon us from both the sides. We were lucky enough to see a couple of wild animals, considering that we had reached the place in the evening.

After an hour and a half long Safari, we decided to munch upon some delicacies in a canteen which is located within the premises of the park. I could see the hills right in front of my eyes, while I sat there sipping on a cup of tea.

I looked at my friend again, who by the time had understood that I had made up my mind on something which is not going to go away so easily from my mind. “Ok! Where do you want to go now?”, he asked.

I was wondering whether we should go to Nainitaal. It is not very far. I guess it is around 350 kms or so. Right now, it is 7:30 p.m. I am sure we will reach there by 12:30 a.m. We will take the Pilibhit route which is quite decent when it comes to the condition of the roads. And we will bid good morning to each other in the beautiful Naini lake. What say? 😉 “ I finally revealed the deliberation which had been going on in my mind for the past couple of hours.mountain

Do I have an option?”, He smiled back.

And there we were, once again all set to hit the road with the back packs that we were carrying along. It took us around 6 hours to reach a place called Katgodaam (from where Nainitaal is just 35 kms away) much more than what he had expected, courtesy a very bad patch of road that we encountered in the path that we had decided to tread.

By then, we were completely exhausted. Good sense prevailed and we decided to find a place where we could sleep for at least couple of hours. As if, God had finally decided to ditch us. We were unable to find a room in the hotels, as all were full, as it was the weekend and not many people in the World travel in the same unplanned manner as we do.

Having no other option, we decided to sleep in the car itself. It was only after 2 hours that we realized that we were sleeping in our car which was parked on the road itself. It was already 4 a.m. We knew that if we wanted to see the first rays of the sun in Nainitaal, we better leave then.

The beautiful valley along with the curves associated with the path that leads to any of the hill stations seemed to have rejuvenated both of us and made our ascent to the top one of the most pleasurable and serene of experiences that I have ever had.

It took us another hour and a half to reach the hill station and there we were sipping again on a cup of tea along with a plate of band makkhan at the Naini lake looking at the sun showering all its energy and blessings on us.

After having our breakfast at the lake, we drove towards a hill top totally engulfed by the clouds which seemed to have traveled from the heavens just to meet the stretch of mountains.

It was getting colder and we had of course not carried along any woolens, for in the first place we had no plans of going to a hill station. Good sense prevailed once again and more than having a good time, an idea of consuming some alcohol came up which was nothing but a means of survival at that point of time.

We sat in a dhaba munching upon some snacks prepared by the gentleman who happened to own the place, along with our drinks, which truly acted as our saviour. After having had the couple of drinks and after feeling all charged up and warm having consumed the same, we decided to take a stroll down the mountains and do some casual trekking.

There were, by the way two reasons, why we wanted to do so. First, we wanted to experience the beauty on foot and second, we definitely wished to get back to our natural senses as we hadn’t realized that we had drank enough for both of us to have that feel good factor associated with the heavenly drink.

We took what can be called a self semi-Naini tour, borrowing the terminology used by most tourist operators in the area, the only difference was that we didn’t have a guide to give us company as it would have killed the self-exploration tendency that we all have.

It took us another 3 hours to regain our senses. By then it was already 3 in the afternoon and it was time to head back as we wanted to reach home before it got too late at night. We halted at a couple of dhabas en route. It was only around 10p.m. that we were able to enter our city.

Having dropped my friend to his place, as I drove back home, my mind seemed to have gone blank. With a couple of hours of sleep to my credit, my mind and body seemed to have stopped listening to me.car tour

I straight away threw myself on my bed on enterting my house. There was this big smile on my face as one would normally see on the face of a satisfied and content person. As I closed my eyes, I wondered, when it would be next when I will get to experience what I had just done. 🙂

Source for Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fundy_National_Park_of_Canada_9.jpg, http://brainz.org/16-most-incredible-north-american-national-parks/, http://blog.hippocampus.in/2010/09/29/upcoming-field-trips-in-october-hippocampus-koramangala/

The Misleading Perceptions!

Perceptions can sometimes turn out to be a mockery of one’s rational outlook towards different things in life. And what we see at times can just turn out to be another illusion.

If you are wondering by any chance, why suddenly I am talking about perceptions and illusions, it is because of this incident that I happened to witness today in the morning, while going for my morning walk.

To tell you about the place and the surroundings where this incident actually happened, there is this flyover that is in the process of being built near my apartment and seemed to have resulted in a number of skirmishes, courtesy the poor management of the project by the state government and illogical and irrational methodology of implementation which surely seemed to have taken a toll on the lives of the so many living in the vicinity.

Without going into the details of how the projects are implemented in India and trying not to sound too critical of the same, there is this railway crossing that passes right below the proposed flyover. One side of the road is blocked courtesy all the construction material that has been dumped. The other and the only side which was supposed to be a one-way affair has now turned out into a two-way affair with people trying to find their way amongst all the chaos and traffic.

Though the traffic is not at its peak in the morning hours, yet the road has become so narrow that if one doesn’t bring out the best driving skills that one possesses, then surely, he or she is bound to collide with a vehicle coming from the opposite side. And that is exactly what happend in the morning.Accident with two cars

A man in his mid-forties, or atleast seemed to be so, who happened to be driving his i-10 managed to barge into a SUV by the name of Xylo, being driven by a hugely built guy, who looked nothing less than a body builder. To his fortune or misfortune, the SUV was adorned with flags of a political party by the name of SP who had managed to come into power in the state in the previously held state elections.

Surely the man in his forties had noticed the flag, for his face had gone pale by the time the body builder stepped out of his Xylo and started to move towards the man, fearing the consequences of the incident that had just ensued in front of his eyes.

Expecting that a flurry of bad words would be thrown from each side, coupled with a high probability that a one-sided fight might start, the man in his forties decided to lock his car from inside and thought that he might as well look for a way to escape.

But he could find none, for by the time he reacted, the railway crossing had already closed, waiting for the train to pass by. Realizing that there was no escape available, the man decided to step out of his i-10.

The body builder walked up close to the man, who by then had already started preparing for what seemed to be and can be referred to as the first war of his life. The body builder raised his right hand and kept it on the man’s shoulder. As the man was about to retaliate using his right fist, the body builder said to the man, “Sahab, did you get hurt? I am sorry for the incovenience that I have caused you. You can bring your car to my brother’s garrage. He will repair it.”

On hearing what the body builder had to say, the man couldn’t but believe what he was hearing. On one hand where he was perplexed seeing the unexpected unfold in front of his eyes, on the other hand he was happy for he didn’t have to go through what he had just thought about with regards to the consequences.

The man took the body builder’s leave, accepting his apology and thanking him for the offer that he had made. The body builder too got back into his SUV to proceed to where he was heading.

I, on my part, couldn’t believe what I had just seen. Such courteous behaviour was totally unexpected on part of the body builder who belonged to the ruling party. I wondered how my perceptions towards the guys belonging to political parties (which by the way are based on some of the incidents that I had earlier witnessed and by all stretch of imagination this was truly an exception) had made me imagine things similar to what the man in his forties had, while seated in his car and while trying to find a way to escape.benefit-of-doubt-logo

But this particular incident certainly made me wonder whether it is always a good idea to jump to conclusions based on a set of perceptions. Isn’t it a good policy to give one a benefit of doubt? After all, it doesn’t cost you much for being considerate and moderate. Does it?

Source for Image: http://www.cartell.ie/trade/trade-help/write-off-help/accident-with-two-cars-3/, http://shanegarrison.org/2011/10/07/lanbaptist-sermon-audio/