Impeccable planning, great execution are the terms that people usually associate with me but to tell you the truth many of my trips have had their share of blunders and some of them were BIG ones. In fact, whenever we had one of those, people would look sympathetically towards my infant son- yep, negligent parents and all. But my guess is that I and my husband have not really learnt our travel lessons. Now it is not that we like jeopardizing our and our son’s safety, but there is this silly streak in us that just won’t keep us from having a little blooper adventure on our trips. (C’mon they make for great stories later on!) So here I tell you of this one time when we asked for a ride and then planned to kill the guy who gave us a ride! Mean…right? Nah read on, you will know why!
The Sudden trip and a missed Bus
One of our trips to North of India went from boring to exciting in a minute when we decided to take a lift from total stranger! Let me start from the beginning. So my granny was not well and we decided to make a quick trip to see her. This was month of January’2016, which is the coldest time of the year in Indian northern states. Granny has home in mountains, so every trip to her is almost an adventure on its own. We had a flight that was to reach the capital city of New Delhi, India at 7.30 pm, thanks to foggy conditions and general flight delay, we reached Delhi only by 8.30. Now though it would not have been much of a problem but there was a bus from Interstate bus stand on the other side of the city at 9.30 that we were planning on catching. Anyways, there was no hope on catching the bus so we had a plan B in place already (told ya, I plan!) which was catching a cab to take us to Chandigarh's bus stand where we would catch this bus. Chandigarh is about 5-6 hours away from Delhi by road. Cabs always travel faster and they make lesser stops so we were obviously going to pick the bus there. No brainer , right? Yep that is what we thought until….
A highway that was not there!
We hit the highway and alas, the fog was so thick and cab driver so cautious that we were literally driving and competing with bicycles. I always thought cab drivers were adventurous breed, but not this one. I really did not know whether I was happy about his caution or unhappy about our slow progress. Then I thought if this guy is not able to drive fast, how the huge Volvo bus make it before us? After a dinner break of 40 minutes and few hours later, we reached Chandigarh. We ran along with our 4 year old boy who was wondering what was happening. It was 1.30 am at the time and we discovered that we had missed the bus yet again.
Driver looked helpless since he did not have permit for the state we were going to. At 1.30 in the morning under super fog and on the verge of getting hypothermia, we were frantic. Then it happened…
My Brain stopped working and played a trick..
Really this is how it happened. A car passed on the road with number plate that said “HP”, Himachal Pradesh, the state we were headed to. My heart got excited, brain decided to shut down and my hand came down to stop the car. Till date I don’t know what made me do it. I have never borrowed rides since I do have some serious trust issues. In fact I am a damn cautious traveler, unless I am sure I don’t strike a conversation with strangers. So here I was with a private car right in front of me and my husband giving me looks that said “Seriously”??!! Oh and all those newspaper stories talking about people getting mugged and killed on highway started floating in front of my eyes.
Driver came out of the car and asked us if we needed help. Well we politely turned him down saying that we mistook his car for a cab and that we were going to Himachal and as we were thinking that he would leave us, he said- I could drop you and may be visit my own hometown thereafter. Please come in. Hubby dear said “yes”! It was my time to give him the look that said “I will kill you, if he doesn’t”.
The plan to kill begins!
He gave us a nice blanket and my son went off to sleep promptly as the car made its way. I was completely awake, alert and anxious. Just half an hour down and the guy stopped the car on the side and asked “Tea?”. Husband said yes and I glared at him. What if he poisoned us? Anyways the only comforting thing was that he had stopped the car in front of a Gurudwara (a religious place for prayers for Sikh community, also revered by Hindus). After that cup of tea, we were on road and I was wide awake reading all milestones and directions, and making sure he was taking us on the right way. And in the meantime I kept thinking, what if he tries something funny. My attention went to the sharp bun clip I had in my hair…that looked like a perfect weapon. I kept devising plans to kill him in hundred different ways and taking his car. Yep stealing the car was part of the plan, after all I had to reach home. Don’t judge me, I was super scared.
Crossing the border and a suspicious stop….
As soon as we crossed the border to Himachal, my husband slipped into deep slumber. I really did want to kill him before I killed the driver. Anyways he suddenly stopped the car and I swear I took my bun clip in my hand. He said something on the phone and a man came down from a building. Driver got out and spoke to the guy, hugged him and then the other man looked at us. The look on him seemed to confirm my worst fears.
I was ready to flee with the car and suddenly the other man went back and our driver started driving. It seems the other guy was his uncle. That did not convince me and I was super suspicious by then. I started talking to him, about his family, business etc. Nothing fishy…..not a detail missing. But as they say if it is too good to be true then it probably is not!
And then it Happened!
Hours after driving, at 7 am we reached our destination. It was my hometown and I cannot tell you the rush of relief I felt. I regained some color on my cheeks and was beaming with happiness. I was thankful to him and the thing that happened was- I was deeply ashamed of myself. My guilt increased when he said, “when I looked at the three of you on that crossing during those ungodly hours, I thought you were in trouble and that other driver was harassing you. That is why I stopped.”
I wanted to dig my own grave and sleep the sleep- of- shame, if there was such a thing! I invited him for a cup of tea and he politely declined saying he was in hurry to reach his own hometown. You know what is the worst thing? In all that anxiety I forgot his name. The good guy helped us, he traveled 137 miles just to drop us. Whenever I think of this one incident, I feel so shameful and I wish there was some way to get in touch and thank him again.
So that was my travel blooper- my mistake which thankfully turned out for the best. Hope you liked it, tell us if you have had such an experience. And if you are that guy who dropped us, please contact me here! It is time i said sorry too!