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Gokarna ->This way

Never Sit in the Backseat

It was supposed to be a solo trip. Few days before leaving, I felt like an overheated CPU, in dire need of cooling. Summer had just taken over Bengaluru and instead I was experiencing heating issues, mentally and emotionally. A beach was the necessity! A trip to Goa had already been a successful undertaking before, so the next never-visited destination that flashed in my mind was Gokarna.

All excuses and no company, hence ho! Girl on solo trip! Though I must admit I was much apprehensive about it. The new destination, the search for peace but then Indian men have always been surprising women. So I got a company of a good friend. Bus tickets were booked and one good evening I excitedly boarded the pick-up bus to Seabird Tourists . My excitement turned to embarrassment when a newly wedded couple got hold of the last seat, at the far end of the window, opposite to where I sat. Not long after the pick-up bus began moving that the kissi-pissi started and all sorts of nasty sounds made it really the most uncomfortable 45 minutes for me, until the main bus stand. Oh God, Their co-passengers are going to have a tough time, I thought.

The main bus stand was lined up with crowded Travel Agencies, that had set up their small offices in the most cramped and spooky places, so much so that all the Goras (foreign travelers) waiting for their buses, thought and discussed repeatedly among themselves, whether to go in, at that time of night, for an enquiry or not.

I was there for an hour and a half, sitting in a cramped path; waiting for my bus, while the other passengers walked passed me, often brushing themselves against moss-filled, chipping-walls to the enquiry office. I strangely felt good to be among strangers, who, as if encapsulated in a time along with me, were waiting for their vehicles to take them ahead. There was an aura of impatience but a hint of eagerness for the coming time, in that WAIT.

The Places that should be left Undiscovered

By this time, two girls came to sit beside me on either side, waiting for their bus, trapped in the wait-time capsule, like me. Something triggered a conversation and they asked me where I was travelling to. While we were getting acquainted, I felt a sudden urge to go to the toilet. I asked the people there for directions and they directed me to the most filthy travel agency toilets. Just when I was about to enter, a MAN came out, of a Ladies’ Toilet?! When few people told me go further in and that there was a ladies toilet inside, I was left wondering with a blank mind and a question mark on my face. With my nostrils all shut to the pungent smell, I made a face of sheer disgust and entered.

The door to the ladies washroom was inside the men’s loo! WTF!

With no other way out, I relieved myself and just as I was about to open the door, guess what? I heard the presence of a man, outside, through means that you might have probably guessed by now. The most disgusting feeling that crept inside me, told me to get the hell out of there!

In the most gentle and polite tone out of my heightened endurance, I spoke to ‘the Man’ through the door, ‘Bhaiya, aap bahar jaa sakte hai (Brother, can you go out?)’

Though I didn’t get a reply, I heard the other door open and shut. I slowly opened the door and thankfully there was nobody standing and peeing just outside the women’s toilet.

I rushed out, and went straight to my new acquaintances, to tell them what just happened. My conscience was pacified with wide-eyed responses and curses to the travel agencies. To be careful next time, Don’t opt for Seabird Tourists, the reasons I will share later.

Happy Journey!

Post that, we chatted for a couple of more minutes and it was great to know their purpose of travel, out of all excuses, was to escape from life. We discussed our lives and it felt great to know those two complete strangers for that brief period. When the Wait was over and their buses arrived, I bade them goodbye and merrily wished them a happy journey. Though we discussed so much about our daily life in such short span, that bounty of time was refreshing and welcoming.

For the next half hour, before my bus arrived, I sat there, alone but not lonely because my mind was already buzzing with the coming of an excitement that had already started.

gokarna

A Vast, Wide Escape

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The Call

I had heard many people do official conference calls and talk all professional vocabularies. I had liked how people spoke and how they portrayed themselves with their sophisticated voices, impressive flow of words and a sense of unhindered continuity in communication. Such a picture of classic perfection it displayed that I thought i would attend the calls, we had in our project, with the client and other teams’ members, from now on. Though I only listened, it was still an experience until today.

An unexpected call, welcomed me one morning at sharp 6:30, when it immediately got scheduled out of blue with no one but only me available from my team . Some Australian (onshore application guy) had some complicated operation to carry on while I was supposed to be their partner for a jiffy. I was a little nervous, OK quite nervous actually, to the bit of racing heart and fumbling fingers. I started with a hoarse tone, well, which one has when one gets up that early in morning. I did it all well though a little slowly, call it easy, until they started asking why-questions about the processes I was supposed to do. It literally took a flip when the session turned to the one like viva exams during my college days. I replied to each of their query like every student does, repeat the question and make a jelabi out of it, move the conversation in circles around just those points you know and repeat the question again somewhere in the answer. To add onto it, the usage of sophisticated words and flow of the conversation gave the pawn in my hands, thankful to the fact that I am a writer too.

In the last few minutes some activity was  followed by a little more of a conversation after which we winded up with my ending one liner of ‘ will surely intimate you after the completion of the task ‘ and  we set our receivers back to case. The adrenaline, though left me twitching for the next hour, made my day complete with pride and pragmatism.

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The Twilight

One of these days I was in morning-shifts that go from 6 to 2. Early morning at 4:30 I get a call from the cab driver that he will come for the pickup at 5. Adding to it, he didn’t know the area where I lived, not even close. That is going to be a busy early morning I thought as I had to catch another cab from my previous office branch to my current one. I know the transport sucks. Continue reading