Rajasthan Diaries / 1: The Beginning

Rajasthan had been on my 2017’s resolutions and quite magically that wish came true at the last moment. I was home for Christmas vacation when I finally booked my tickets. D and I had been planning for this trip for quite a while and the Republic Day week was our perfect opportunity. Technically this was my second trip of 2018 but Rajasthan travelogue will appear first as it was more epic than the first one.

I am usually the ‘planner’ on every trip, but this time I had left it all to my friend. So she booked the buses, the hotels (another epic story there) and pretty much researched on the itinerary and everything else. What did I do? Nothing, except booking flights for Ahmedabad and back. And planning what to wear. This time I truly kept my expectation low and planned nothing. Result?? Keep reading.

Our initial plan was simple. I would fly to Ahmedabad from Bagdogra and then we would leave for Jaipur on overnight journey. I was on the auto from Siliguri to Bagdogra when I received the message. My one-stop flight from Bagdogra to Ahmedabad via Delhi had been rescheduled. Now I would be flying to Bombay from New Delhi first, then to Ahmedabad from Bombay. Not to mention my final arrival time had been delayed by 7 hours and I would be arriving in Ahmedabad at 4 o’ clock in the morning. And the scariest part was something else. Jet Airways was constantly sending texts rescheduling the times. I was standing at Bagdogra airport with a resigned body language and hidden anxiety. And then something amazing happened on that flight to Delhi. I was sitting on my aisle seat, minding my own business. I was reading my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and wondering how I was going to survive the ‘hospitality’ (They were repeating this word nonstop) of Jet Airways when I noticed the guy from one row ahead opposite was trying very hard to read the name of my book. I gave him a smile and told him which book it was. I was back to my book; and he was back to his laptop. Maybe after twenty minutes or so I suddenly looked up and he was facing me again. This time he was holding a book. “Have a look at this one, it’s quite good.”“Umm okay. Would you like to see mine?” “Yes sure.” Rest of the journey we read each others’ books, occasionally stealing glances at each other. The literary exchange soon turned into a lively conversation as soon as the flight landed. I am not going to bore you with details of that. Just wanna mention that every single passenger on that airport bus was probably looking at us when he was asking me about my relationship status and I was practically crimson red telling him how effing single I was. Bottom-line? I was inwardly thanking Jet Airways for messing up my entire journey. Had it not been for them I wouldn’t be sitting at Delhi airport Starbucks outlet having coffee date with my guy while trying to throw mock angry glances at the gods inside my head. Our date ended with us exchanging our books and me rushing to catch my next flight to Bombay. It was exactly 1.30 in the morning, I was loitering around in Bombay airport lounge telling D about what had happened. “Are you drunk?” “Nope! But I am like literally high on coffee and that’s pretty much the same thing.” “You are a fucking @#$%&.” “I know!” I ended up singing Dil Diyan Gallan out loud during the whole time in the boarding queue.

IIM Ahmedabad campus is beautiful. The red brick buildings and the peacocks roaming around nonchalantly give it an air of tranquility in an otherwise lifeless city. I did not like Ahmedabad. The city is well developed but has no soul. I was over the moon seeing my best friend after so many months. For past one month I had been going about telling pretty much everyone about my upcoming trip. After a couple of turbulent months I was eager to see my friend. There is nothing like being completely in your own skin around someone without the fear of being judged. And I was too fucking exhausted of being judged. I just wanted to be awkward and goofy and filthy and not care about a damn thing in the world. If you ask me to select top five things I am grateful about in life, one of them would be my friends. And she is not just a friend anymore. She is the sister from another mother.
Ok, enough drama.

My friend's garden. My friend's dog. She is a stunner by the way.

Our bus from Ahmedabad started exactly at 9 o’ clock in the evening. We kept munching on khakras until the bus finally reached the outskirt of the city and took up speed. Not to mention the lassi we had at a roadside dhaba on the way was the best lassi I had ever had in my life. Can lassi give you an orgasm? Oh yes it can. Even though the sleeper coach was fairly comfortable and my friend was literally snoring I couldn’t sleep well allthroughout the journey. I had almost dozed off when I realized that the bus was going at a maddening speed. In my half sleepy state my fertile head started picturing the bus being toppled off in Rohit Shetty style and my sleep was gone. In the freezing cold of late January night I began to sweat so much that I had to turn up the AC. I was having a terrible panic attack. In the end I sat up and tried to divert my mind by looking out of the window. My friend was still snoring at the same tempo.

D and I are the similar breed of jackasses with a few outwardly differences. We both are insane shopaholics who can skip meals for a week in order to afford a designer dress. We knew what was going to happen in Rajasthan so we had opted for budget hotels. And by budget, I mean a 6x6 room with a tiny TV whose wire you would have to tug at in order to turn it on, a very questionable bed spread, and a bathroom whose lock didn’t work. And by the way, that was a semi-deluxe room. In case you are wondering, the deluxe rooms came with wardrobe and flat-screen TV. She was afraid I might flip out seeing the room. My reaction? I was laughing my ass off. And she joined me. We were laughing at the distorted face of Madhavan on the dysfunctional TV. We were laughing while using the toilet with the door open. We were laughing while clicking selfies in our ‘semi deluxe’ room. We were laughing while washing our face with Forest Essentials over the shabby basin. We compared our hotel with Hotel Decent and laughed till our stomach hurt. Sometimes adventure comes in form of shabby hotel room. And every last cell in my body was suddenly alive, after a very long time.

To be continued