After booking my ticket first thing in the morning, it was a race there on. As much as i like leisured road trips and idyllic walks, i knew this was not a time for one. Packing my bags, i had leave home after breakfast to catch my 2pm to Jaipur.
Landing in Jaipur, the first thing that happened was that my lips started cracking. With the affable autowallah asking me random questions about whence i came, and whereto i am going, and me trying to answer them in an obscurely philosophical fashion which irritated the driver to no small extent, i found myself happy in the dusty roads and dry air. It was strange, for i no longer felt like a stranger in a strange land, though that was exactly what i was. However, that was not the minor miracle of the day; it was getting a 3 day job done in a government office in 2 hours.
Thanking my lucky stars, i boarded by bus to Delhi at 6.30pm. As afore mentioned, i love road trips, especially when they come in dying lights of the day on speeding highway. Soon the ethereal bliss passed and came the horror when i saw my ramshackle of a bus, dodging headlights. I decided this is the best get some sleep. I was awoken by my window seat fellow passenger at Kotputli. Almost half the bus emptied itself at that point. I was happy with that since i got three-seater to stretch myself. However, as if Fate balancing its act, the conductor walked up to me, and informed that the bus wont go to Delhi but stop midway. At 10 pm i didn’t have the courage to fight for consumers’ rights, instead i asked the conductor to get me another that will take me to my destination. Panged with shameful guilt he obliged.
At Behror, it was the usual sight of small travellers’ town. It had the usual Midway resort, the usual dhaba, the usual taxis, the usual sweetmeat and liquor shops, the usual toilets and drinking water taps. What it lacked that hour was a bus to Delhi ( in spite of being assured by the conductor, that buses to Delhi leave every ten minutes). However, being the helpful conductor he was, he got us a car, which one of my fellow jetsammed passenger vehemently refused to take (quite like Dustin Hoffman from the movie The Rain Man) for he was sure his throat would be slit on the way. While the other guys took the cab, i decided to keep the company of my septuagenarian friend. We had dinner of omlette and bread, and cola, while he lectured me, in between puffs of his beedi, on the how harmful smoking is and what kind of deep-shit we were in. Luckily, we got a bus after dinner, which was on its way to Haridwar, via Delhi. Thus, sharing a the seat with a really fat lady, who was apparently going to Haridwar to relieve herself of arthritis in a bus which nearly broke my back, the last leg of the journey to Delhi was brought to a bloodless conclusion (much to the disappointment of my old mate).
Getting off at ISBT at 2am in the morning is not the smartest option. I was politely informed by one autowallah that there was a bomb scare in a particular part of Delhi with police checking every traveller on the road, and he was the only one who could take me to a safe haven. Being my sources of information highly limited, i had no choice but to be led by this good Samaritan. He was smart, he knew how to keep away from checkposts with panache. I thanked him in ways that would please him most. He tried to respond by lining up the speeding auto beside another with a less than agreeable lady passenger. I urged to make him understand that my trip was purely on business.
Next morning, after getting my work done, i made a beeline for lunch at Connaught Place. Previously, i had always been in company of my friends, in this city. Without the gang, the experience was palpably different. Nevertheless, i called up a few, and had a chat. And then decided to make the most of the trip anyway. I went to India Gate and spent sleeping on the grass which was refreshingly cooler than the rest of the city. However, at sundown i knew, i couldn’t stay here any longer, and decided to head home.