It started off as a plan for an one month long all India car trip. The plan went down the drains the next day as the great man who suggested it asked us to postpone it by one year. Then it morphed into a trip to Ladakh, as we decided to fulfill our long cherished dream of setting foot on India's own heaven. Everything was set and then on the day that we were to start the sojourn comes in the devastating news of a cloud burst killing hundreds and ruining large parts of Ladakh. Ideas of cancelling the trip never crossed our minds. We set on, deciding to re route on the way. And so, it started, an epic 14 day trip to the Himalayan country...
The early rays of August 7 were coming in as we reached the Bangalore International Airport, which seems more closer to Hyderabad than Bangalore. Our lowest of low cost flight, courtesy Go Air, was on time. We realised that low cost meant you wont even get water free of cost. Two hours went by gazing at the deep blue sky and by catching up on lost sleep. At the Delhi airport, we ran into the guys from Indian Ocean, one of India's most loved bands. The unassuming, but sage like Rahul Ram was happy to spare few minutes with these unknown fans. It felt great to meet the band in their own backyard, where they were back after yet another concert. I forgot to show him the rolling stone mag with them on the cover, which I bought at Bangalore airport.
Delhi was as hot as expected. We passed the current epicentre of Indian corruption, the Commonwealth Games HQ on the way. Hungry media vans waiting for the next murky deal leak were also seen. We walked the streets of Janpath in search of low cost dhabas. And a panwala directed us to Saravana bhavan. The irony of it, coming from south to north and eating at saravana bhavan. The bill rather than the food filled our stomachs. Next was destination India Gate. As we walked along a long road full of MPs official residences on both sides, we had a small idea to head inside a Kerala MP's house. After a long walk, the India gate came on view...MAJESTIC. Far away, along a straight line was the rashtrapathi bhavan. Pity that someone undeserving resides here now.
the names of soldiers who died fighting for British India in the 1st world war, inscribed on the walls of India gate
The names of those soldiers who fought for India in the 1st world war were inscribed on all sides of the walls. And then there was the Amar Jawan jyoti, that undying flame in respect of our brave countrymen...RESPECT. Maintenance work were going on in the India gate. The scaffolding did spoil the view a bit. The rashtrapathi bhavan was not as near as we thought. It moved further away as we walked towards it. The parliament also came on view on the side. The sun was shining from behind the rashtrapathi bhavan. As dusk approached, we rushed back to catch the bus to Manali. The journey started at 7 PM and its still not dark in Delhi. We pass landmarks like shakthi sthal, rajghat on the way. We pass through Chandni chowk as the Delhi 6 theme plays on my mind. A part of red fort also came on view.
The Delhi-Chandigarh highway is a marvel, a straight road that extend till the horizon. The road that pass through Haryana and Punjab is peppered with a 1000 dhabas and those colourful Punjabi lorries parked in front. And wine shops were as common as tea shops. The last scene I remember from the day is that of a view from the top of a hill of a city full of lights down below in the valley. The bus sped on as I slipped into (un)wet dreams of dreams of whats in store for the next fortnight...
your crusader Praveen