Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TGIH, or The Great Indian Holiday

When I make a plan, I habitually construct elaborate fantasy scenarios where the plan fails. That is also why I am generally reluctant to talk about future plans, much less publish them on the blog. And the more grandiose the plan, the more foolish you are likely to look if it flops. But TGIH is just way too important – there might be a railway strike or an alien invasion which puts paid to my plans, but I am still going to write this post.

So I am leaving on this journey. I plan to travel for a little more than a month, visiting different parts of India that I have always wanted to see, or that I want to revisit. I intend to cover (at least) Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bombay, Calicut, Wayanad, Alleppey, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Trichy, Tanjore, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam, Chennai and Mahabalipuram. I will try to post updates and upload pictures where I can.

At most places, I am staying with friends, relatives or friends’ relatives. Which reminds me of a discussion I once had with my friend Shubho. I was ranting about how middle-class Americans can use the Power of the Dollar to explore India in a way that we (Shubho and I) can’t afford to. Shubho said, “Yes, but we Indians have something they don’t. Relatives.” This is true. We think nothing of moving in with a twice-removed cousin’s friend’s sister if it means that we will get to stay for free. And we are made to feel welcome, too. But before I digress too much and miss my train, allow me to return to the point and reveal that thus far, I have no one to stay with at Lucknow, Wayanad, Alleppey and Madurai. I mention this in the hope that a kind soul from any of these places will read this and invite me to sleep on their couch. Yes, I realize this is unlikely.

I end by mentioning my favourite part of the plan so far. I have booked tickets for nine train journeys. I have got nine window seats. The probability of that happening on a sleeper coach is exactly 0.001953125. You can trust to dumb luck. Or you can sweet-talk the lady at the counter.

12 comments:

John Galt said...

Awesome plan, man. I wish even I could embark on such a trip, but this darned work....Btw, I can help u with Lucknow - either at a good friend's place or at the national law university at Lucknow... what say? for ur info, KA Pandey is teaching there, want any more hints?

Debosmita said...

Join couchsurfing.org, it will solve your problem

Rahul Saha said...

Second Deboshmita. Also, why the fuck are you going to Lucknow. There's nothing there. In anycase, bon voyage. Look forward to updates.

Indecision Personified said...

Sweet talk? you? that too a lady? I trust dumb luck! :-) Also, as I will have already told you before you read this, Wayanad and then Rameshwaram and Madurai - is aethetically a very inefficient plan.

But ofcourse have loads of fun. awaiting your arrival in bombay and ofcourse will wait for all the updates.

Anand said...

Actually, given the number of people who travel on the railways on a daily basis, people who get window seats on 9 successive journeys may be quite common.

Now getting 9 "emergency window" seats would be a real accomplishment!

Tommy said...

The first sentence in this entry sounds like something from the "My Hobby" series.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck

Sroyon said...

@Galt: I've checked into a hotel already. And I like it quite a bit. But thanks :)

@Debosmita & Saha: I would have. But I myself am not currently in a position to invite people to sleep on my couch.

@IP: Well I find people and crowds and religious mania as attractive as beautiful scenery. I suppose these things are subjective.

@Anand: Oh yes, those are wonderful aren't they! You can hang out of the window like Labradors do in cars.

@Tommy: Yes. I stole it from here.

@Anonymous: Thanks :)

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

“Yes, but we Indians have something they don’t. Relatives.”

SO true. Although I'd feel awkward putting up at a random relative's on a holiday :D. Have fun and enjoy your window seats. Looking forward to updates.

Pratiti said...

Relatives. Tell me about it. Mine are all far too close to just let me be, and do what I like, on a holiday. Yours seem optimally distant. Or maybe you're just old enough to be left alone, which brings to my rant about how people who are older just have a better life, and how I seem to know so many of these people....and well, you've heard this before.

Pratiti said...

And don't Priyanka and Vinayak have relatives in Trichy? They're supposed to.

Debosmita said...

You don't have to have a couch to offer to be a member of Couchsurfing. You can also request for couches only.