The journey to Manali may be a little tedious but nothing extraordinary. We started from home at 4.00 pm from Gurgaon for Vidhan Sabha metro station. Chhavi, my neighbor, her daughter and I were traveling to Manali from Delhi. I usually book tickets on Manali Mail but I could not get any tickets this time. So, I went with Indo-Canadian.
When we reached Majnu ka Tila, one of the pickup points in Delhi, there were at least 10 Indo-Canadian buses. My ticket mentioned a time but no bus number. No one picked up the phone on the number provided in the email. The people in the first Indo-Canadian bus coolly told us, “Your bus has already left.” I have traveled way too many times on this route to pay them any attention. But that is how the supposedly premium bus service operators deal with you.
We walked a little ahead and one Indo-Canadian bus agreed that we could board it. What I figured out is that there are many buses of the same company leaving one after the other. You could board any bus that you could muscle in.
Once we were inside the bus, the air-conditioning was a welcome relief from the Delhi heat. The kids settled down next to each-other. They had a gala time till they could keep their eyes open. Once they were sleepy they wanted to go back to their own seats next to their mothers!
We had a late dinner at Rajpura at 11.30 pm. Chhavi and I had half an Avomine, the anti-nausea medicine after it. After that we slept for the most of the journey. We reached Chandigarh in the dead of the night. The people boarding said the bus was 2 hours late by now. Even though I was sleepy, I realized that the bus kept standing at their Chandigarh office for a long time. That did not auger well for an early arrival at Manali.
When I woke up next, at 6.30 am, the bus was moving next to the beautiful Beas River. That made me hopeful. But when we went through the Aut Tunnel in the next few minutes, my heart sank. That meant we were still a long way from Manali.
We still made reasonable time. But just before entering Manali we hit a traffic jam. Chhavi was already restless. She kept telling me she was hungry because she had a packet of chips with her that my neighbor bought. I was a bit scared as she has vomited in the past after eating chips in journeys. So I told her she can’t eat chips.
About half a kilometer before the private bus stand we decided to get out as walking would be faster than just sitting in the traffic jam. I have always been able to get an auto in the past after walking a short distance. There was so much traffic all around, even walking was a pain. There was not a vacant auto in sight. In the end we walked all the way to mall road and the main bus stand. The kids walked eating chips, I gave in after all.
We got into a local bus to Jagatsukh, which is at a distance of 6 km. I was thinking that we would be soon home now. It was past 1.00 pm. We didn’t get any breakfast. But there was a huge traffic jam to get out of Manali as well. It took us more than 40 minutes to get out of the jam and get on the way to Jagatsukh.
In those 40 minutes the kids were truly downcast and restless. There were six foreigners sitting in the same bus going to Naggar. But once the bus was out of the jam after like forever, the driver accelerated and for the kids it became a joy ride! The foreigners would get equally surprised by the twist and turns of the bus!
The person sitting next to the kids asked about their vacation plan. They happily chimed about their trekking plans.
Once I reached Ramakant ji’s home, all my tiredness vanished after seeing his apple tree and the mighty Dhaulahdar beyond it. If everything goes according to the plan we are heading out on a kiddies trek tomorrow!
We are off camping, Chhavi and I with my neighbor and her daughter. Seshadri is already out trekking with his friends, he is doing a tough trek. My niece Vasu was also supposed to come, but she backed off, saying she is missing her parents!
Finally the packing is all done. I should be actually cross checking what I have packed, but here I am glued to my screen, doing one last post before I go. I should have net access for part of the holiday. I may surprise you with more posts. But I am not sure.
The trek is of course going to be easy (walking wise) as there are two small kids for whom it is meant. But you never know in what ways they will make it interesting.
I so like staying in a tent. The pictures in this post are from a 2009 trek we did in Triund, Himachal Pradesh. It was the last trek Seshadri and I did together. After that Chhavi came in our life. She has already trekked to Triund with Seshadri! I think she has done at least 5 treks till now. We should actually sit down and count her treks properly.
This is the first trip for me after quitting my job, so it is extra special for me as well. In fact, we have not done the return bus ticket from Manali! We will come back when we want to! I never had this luxury before, as I used to count my leaves tightly.
So, in less than an hour we will be off. I wish my niece would have come too, but she kicked in such a storm that we gave up in the end. She happily went to Hong Kong with us last year. So I had let my guards down. And sure enough the kid surprised me and her parents too! Anyway I hope she will come next time. We are going to miss you Vasu.
Or in other words I quit my job and today is my last working day. It was not entirely planned but when things became such that quitting looked like an option, it looked increasingly attractive.
I would walk past this sign without ever noticing it for the past one year. But now that I am about to walk away from it, I clicked a picture, for the first time!
I do not wish to make a big deal out of it because I may simply join another job after sometime. But in the meanwhile today is my last working day and I have no other offer in my hand! Yippee! I actually want that break.
Some people asked me if I did it so that I could write more or travel more. I am not so sure. I did it because it felt right. And simply to take a break. If there is more travel because of it, it is most welcome. What will I do in that break is still a matter of debate. How long will the break last is also to be seen.
A few months back if someone would have asked me if I wanted to quit my job, I would have said no. But then why did I quit? Well as I never talk about about my other life in which there is a Dr. before my name and a tag of a professor after it, maybe it is time to talk about it. I guess there is so much to talk about that I can write a book on it!
But first and foremost I want a break, long or short, slow or fast, travel filled or not but it is the break I am looking forward to! I actually thought of quitting before, but I worked so much for my Ph.D. that it always stopped me, but not this time!
In the meanwhile you enjoy the Sky Watch Friday while I prepare to enjoy my break.
It is that time of the year when I head out to mountains. Usually I take two weeks off and go trekking. But this year it was not meant to be. I am just taking one week off and I am not trekking. The original plan was to take two weeks off but then I got invited again to one of my favorite destinations so I had to cut short the trekking plan. But then I am heading to the mountains for one whole week and if everything goes according to the plan, I travel again after a few days of coming back. I have actually no reason to crib!
So while Delhi/NCR is once again sweltering at 41 degree Celsius; tomorrow I head out again to the exact same place you see in the picture above. There are plans to go beyond, places that are even more beautiful but I will take it slowly, one at a time.
I have noticed a new thing about myself. After about 15 days I start getting stark and raving mad at the traffic I commute through. Usually after 15 days I have been off on a trip and I can bear the traffic, for about two days once I come back and then it starts driving me mad again. This time it has been about 15 days in the city. I am happy to leave behind the traffic, the pollution and the chaos. This beastly traffic is one thing that I mind most about my existence. And as I type this, I feel I should be really grateful if the beastly traffic is the number 1 botheration in my life these days!
So then folks, time to head out to cooler climates, this time on a personal vacation. My elder nephew would be joining me a few days after and lucky guy, he will go trekking.