I was to go to a small town in Madhya Pradesh last weekend to attend a friend's wedding. We had planned the trip about three months ago, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to go, given my indifferent health lately. So when Friday afternoon dawned and I was all packed and ready, I was very excited to finally be off!
I walked to the balcony to water my two poor nearly dried up plants and noticed dark clouds on the horizon. "It looks like rain," I told the Guy.
In another hour, he was driving me to the railway station. Storm clouds covered the sky. And then the rains came. Hard and fast, with the wind blowing the raindrops this way and that, and making it difficult to drive. Water began to fill up the streets, and traffic stalled. We spent about fifteen minutes in a 200 km distance by and within the station.
Inside the station, the long line of cars moved a few feet every few minutes. When I judged we were near enough, I jumped out, got my bag from the back seat and rushed off, waving the Guy a quick goodbye. I managed to get in rather wet, but not much the worse for the adventure. I found my friend and we bought sandwiches for dinner before boarding the train.
Some of the other adventures I've had on this trip:
- Stayed in a crummy hotel that charged us 800 for an AC room. (No wonder we saw no other guests except people from the wedding party.) The first room we found ourselves in that the two of us women were to share, I saw a mouse peeking down at us from the top of the cupboard. While we made a speedy exit to the facing room that our male travelling companion had occupied, he tried to get the hotel staff to move it out... Getting little response, he made some effort himself, with little success. We decided to move to another, smaller room. But if there was a mouse there, it didn't make its presence felt.
- Ate the most delicious - though rich and spicy - food at the wedding. I don't usually like spicy food (to be honest, this wasn't really hot), but it was a welcome change.
- Spent two days in a small town with little to do - the heat doing a great job of discouraging us from stepping out. That is an adventure for a city slicker like me!
- Saw the bride - a sassy urban woman, reluctantly wearing a pallu over her head as had been dictated by the in-laws. Not a nice adventure, this one.
- Helped the bride make up! Yeah, me, who still can't put on lip liner straight. The bride decided at the last minute not to use a professional make up person or hair stylist, so the bunch of her female friends had a great time experimenting on her. It helped, of course, that she has marvellous glowing skin. The bride delightedly informed us the next day that the wedding photographer had praised the make up.
- The wedding was like a mela, the grounds lit up and decorated beautifully and rapidly filling with people, especially around all the food stalls. Within a few minutes though, we saw the ground covered with litter. A guest would finish their portion, and ignoring the strategically placed bins, "remove their hands from under the utensil", as a friend put it. Hardly everyone even made the effort of throwing the used utensils a little out of the way. So we found ourselves walking on a carpet of trash, and I was wishing I hadn't worn my nice sari and my best sandals.
- The wedding was on Saturday night, and our train was on Sunday evening. So a hotel employee knocked roughly on our door at eight in the morning and asked us to vacate our rooms. So we spent the rest of the day, seven of us in one hotel room, as it was too hot to go out except for breakfast and lunch.
- Our train was three hours late. We sat there in the station with nothing to do and too tired even to talk, longing to be back home.
- The train came and we had two minutes to jump on. We found our berths and also found that there was no space to place the three small bags among the three of us. We managed to arrange our luggage somehow, and asked a guy to remove his bags from one of our berths. The young man demurred, and our friend explained that we had had a difficult time already with waiting on the station for so long. The female half of the couple piped up to say they had had to wait too. I wonder how she felt that gave them the right to keep their luggage on our berth. Anyway, the man removed their luggage, we ate some biscuits for dinner and went to bed. In the morning there were two extra people in our area (as people were sharing berths) and it was altogether an uncomfortable journey. One of us had pledged at the station not to travel by train again - I merely pledged not to travel three-tier.
- We finally reached our destination nearly four hours late. I got home and promptly fell sick. I think that's enough adventures for a long time!