It all sounds state-of-the-art: weekend getaways, candid shots, losing oneself in the middle of nowhere & leading a life that’s a little better, a tad bit more fulfilling & slightly enriched than others.
But travelling is not always as glorious as the listicles or podcasts make it sound. It’s uncomfortably sometimes, can be dangerous if you’re not careful & can surely go wrong like most things in life.
But like most, I always thought that nothing could go wrong with me. After all, it’s me! How can I be anything but happy?! How can I be near trouble?! But I were. More than once!
October 2013: an adventurous experience of eve-teasing near Auroville Beach
I was overjoyed because I was in Pondicherry. And the next 3-4 days were reserved for all kinds of fun! So, I dressed up on the very first day and we started for Auroville!
And I met this wonderful group of 3-4 local guys who were humming some Tamil songs.
As soon as they took notice of the lady traveller, all sorts of hurling, hustling, stalking & sneering began. Luckily, I was with my friends & no damage was done! But I were scared. That day, I kept looking over my shoulder & refused to go anywhere on foot till the time we were there.
By the way, I am from Ghaziabad, and whatever happened that day in Auroville really scared the shit out of me. It wasn’t nice. It shouldn’t happen. Since then, I began exercising extra caution whenever I travelled. Needless to say, I started dressing conservatively too unless I am going to Goa.
April 2016: When life got a little too adventurous & I gasped for breath!
So, humans can be dangerous, you may infer. But no! This time, the river Ganges took it upon herself to have some fun with the bunch of rafts floating around & had a little more fun with yours truly! Most of you know that I was capsized & fell under an upside-turned raft & gasped for breath under water.
So, adventure activities can go wrong sometimes. Big deal? Right? No. Wrong. But more about that later! Let’s talk about how you could be troubled in the least expected situations.
April 2017: when the hotel lost our luggage that was carefully kept in the cloak room!
This was the most irritating incident of all. We had a train from Amritsar scheduled to depart at 9:30 pm. Our luggage was kept (and labelled) in the cloak room of the hotel in which we had stayed for past 3 days. When we came to pick it up at 8:30 pm, we were given 3 bags instead of 4. One backpack was missing.
As luck would have it, this backpack had a laptop, an iPad & a Kindle with some chargers and battery back ups.
We of course enquired & the staff kept looking at each other. The lady who was the manager dialled a number & told the person on the other line, “something something in Punjabi (Unanu bag Kho Gaya si) something again in Punjabi”. This went on till 9 pm. Every time we said something, the lady would call up someone and tell them that our bag had been lost. The staff continued to look at each other, hoping that we will grow bored & would leave soon. Meanwhile, our train was ready to depart in next 30 mins. & we had to reach the station to catch the train. At last, we left with a luggage count of minus 1. Honest mistake! But costly & can really throw you off. With the increasing number of trips, my experiences began to grow too – both good & bad. And 2017 just got started.
June 2017: emergency landing of the aircraft during my flight from Goa to Delhi
Minor disturbances and aircraft bobbing don’t upset me. But that evening was something. I felt absolute absence of gravity & at one moment, everyone in the flight was chanting & praying. We all thought we would crash. But some prayers were stronger than the damage that air currents & faults in the aircraft could do. And we were saved. Of course, an emergency landing was arranged. And we reached Delhi 30-45 mins. early. Read my full story here. 2017 wasn’t too kind on me. And it had more in store for me.
August 2017: In the middle of a landslide on a bend of the road to Munnar
I took two days off from work to spend amongst the tea gardens of Munnar, stress-free! My boss ensured that I had some work to do over the vacation. And 2017 ensured that the trip doesn’t begin as per planned. We flew from Delhi to Bangalore, stayed there overnight & decided to drive down to Munnar. Now, those who have done the road trips from Bangalore/ Mysore to Munnar would know that it’s a scenic route (whichever of the three you take) replete with hairpin bends and sharp turns & bends. Driving on such turns in itself is difficult. Imagine being in a landslide on a route like this?! We were about to reach Munnar in next 1.5 hours & were enjoying the weather thoroughly when we noticed the puddles and boulders on the road. It must have rained & there was water on the road now which made it prone to slips & delayed brakes application. Somehow, we crossed that hilly patch of 7-8 kms. & manoevered our way through stones, mud, puddles & ditches! We thought it was over when we found ourselves stuck behind a bus. It was the scene of fresh landslide and the traffic was jammed everywhere. The water was so strong that the road gave in at the edges and now we were driving by the inches! The bus began adjusting to avoid being parked right on the bend when an Alto came out of nowhere & began battling the slide. The car got jammed in the middle & just about then, we noticed that the water was still gushing down the side mountain along with mud, leaves & stones. The push was so strong that the Alto began to slide to the edge of the road, and pulled the brake just in time. Half an hour later, JCBs & Journalists arrived & the scene began to clear little by little. Give or take 2 minutes, it could have been us instead of that Alto & who knows whether we could have pulled the brakes in time! Life’s so strange, wierd, unfair & unpredictable. I would never have imagined any of these incidents happening to me. But they did. They did happen. And happened one after the other. Tomorrow, I am again taking a flight with my family to some place nice. And honestly, I am a little worried. My mind brings back the memories of June 2017 & I begin to feel the tension & panic that everyone went through in that flight. I hope all goes well & I live to tell tales of my travel coming Wednesday. Safe travels!