Monday, May 21, 2007

The greatest nostalgia inducing trip of my life...

Regular readers of this blog would remember that in the course of my earlier ramblings..er..discourses, I had promised to write one post about the trip to Manali when I was in my final year of engineering college. (I'd asked you to remind me to write about it, but none of you did..bleh. This leads to two conclusions- one, you do not know how to read and hence are not able to follow simple instructions or second, that my writing mesmerizes you so much that you're incapable of remembering instructions. NO, the possibility that you do not read my blog out of personal choice did not cross my mind. Its just not possible to not WANT to read my beautiful words )

Anyway, I shall give you, my readers the benefit of doubt and a chance to redeem youselves (i'll be taking a pop-quiz about all the things i've written so far...and you BETTER be prepared- or..or...i'll stop writing here [Cheers rent the air,joyous celebrations are kicked off the world over..whats that? a giant firecracker all the way from China, glorious rockets over the Sydney harbour, Guy Fawkes day-like celebrations in the US, Earl Grey tea parties with stiff-upper-lipped English gentlemen remarking in gruff voices- "Well, it jolly well is ABOUT time he stopped writing, here or anywhere else. Would you like some more tea, and some buttered scones, Elizabeth?"]. Well maybe I can re-consider the pop quiz idea, but only because i'm a soft-hearted soul- not because of any international pressure..NO, only because I'm a softy..No, YOU shut up!)

So where was I? ah, yes that beautiful trip to Manali.

Well, its been a very long time since we went on that trip, 4 years actually (Whoa!!) so you'll have to bear with me if I lose some factual information. (People who went on that trip, please feel free to drop in comments in case you find I've forgotten/mistaken some information. You can also email me at swapnil.bhatnagar@gmail.com. And I'll make sure I append the changes in this post)

Well, here we go.

2003.
During 3 of the 4 years I spent in DCE, I was involved with a technical festival called 'Technodrome' (ok, I didn't name it, people a couple of batch senior to us had named it this way. Probably during a drunken party.). And as I could only be called technically strong in my engineering field if you were a really charitable person, who is in love with me, AND has had atleast three, no, four stiff joints of grass (after a bottle of Jack Daniels) , so, you see, my involvement was restricted to the organisational part of the event.

There's a lot I can say about this event and the association I had with it. It gave me some friends who will, hopefully, stick on for life. It created a sense of teamwork, a sense of responsibility, a balanced outlook in the face of panic and the ability to keep calm even in the midst of a crisis. But now I should just shut up and move onto the trip.(I still remember the lovely treatment that I got when I visited the campus during Techno'2004 after I had passed out from DCE for an year. It was really touching, especially as it could've been so easy to be a non-entity who noone recognizes when he visits the college. sniff...thanks kids:) )

Well, so after Technodrome 2003 had successfully concluded, we decided to go for a trip with all volunteers who had literally worked their asses off for the event. (ok, by this time my batch had moved up in the pecking order, and were more involved with getting cold coffee and sandwiches from the canteen charged to the Techno account [No TK, I jest, I jest! we did not misuse the canteen account at all {fingers crossed}])

Well we decided on Manali for the celebratory trip. Well after hundreds of efforts by all the guys to get some of the nubile junior batch girls to join us on the trip (jeez man, a decent looking girl was asked by ,on an average, 4-5 guys. These girls, though positive initially, started running screaming "stalker, stalker" by the time the 5th guy went to them with a silly, oily smile plastered on his face.). So in conclusion, 13-14 guys finally were going to start on for the wonderful trip (in hind-sight having no women on the trip was the best thing that happened to this trip!).

Pre-First Leg

The start would not be complete if I do not mention SP's valiant attempts to negotiate with the travel guy.

He had first booked a big bus, then a smaller van...finally ignored his calls as we didn't know if the trip was even happening..and then re-opening negotiations with an absolutely angry and pissed off travel guy to finalize on two Qualises. Hats off to SP - I still think that the guy is made for sales. He can take any amount of abuse (Who'd know this better than me :D ) and still grin on and close the deal.

First Leg

Well, even the journey was not simple. How could it be? :D

Apparently, the Qualises, if identified as taxis would attract a higher tax/charge while crossing state borders. So we had to travel as private cars that belong to a one of our families.

SP again took on the mantle of playing the 'rich son' who's taking his friends out for a trip in his rich Dad's cars. I still think the travel guy was taking badla - revenge for the roundabouts that SP led him through when the negotiations for the travel arrangements were going on.

So our hapless SP was sitting learning by heart his new dad's name, his family tree, the drivers name, the year when his 'dad' bought the cars...snigger.

We obviously hadn't accounted for the intelligence and efficiency of the Punjab police in Chandigarh. Ok, these guys are really strict, and very smart - AND they'd seen lots of poeple trying to pull off the same trick earlier. We were stopped at the first intersection that we crossed in Chandigarh, and poor SP was carted down infront of the cops. Poor chap, off on a fun trip, and instead he had to face the toughest viva-voce of his life. The cops took the prompter/driver of the car to one side, SP on the other and grilled him for exactly two minutes by which the entire story that he had learnt by rote had been unravelled like a ball of yarn in the paws of a particularly piqued cat.

As a result the cars were 'confiscated' and put in the impound there. Finally, I don't remember after how long, the fines were paid and the cars were released to continue on our journey.

to be continued...

2 comments:

Parvinder said...

I think you missed at least two points before we reached Chandigarh.
1) The whole drama that happened s soon as we left the campus. Some of our Juniors forgot to put our luggage in qualis (when we went to park our vehicles in SEM room.. rem!)and we had to come back from Murthal
2) and how can you forget that delicious Murthal paranthas we had in between

Swapnil said...

You're right...will include asap