April 8th, that was the date I had set. I downloaded an app on my phone that I could check everyday to see the days left for my journey. My leave dates at work are fixed 3-4 months in advance so I had that many days to count. The last holiday was in July 2014. I visited Kerala, India, my home town and relaxed at home for 3 weeks doing absolutely nothing barring a few trips to the garden. I still had to overcome my fears of solo travel.
After all the planning which went on from the last quarter of 2014 and the first few months of 2015, I was finally heading to the North-East of India. Till date almost all the info I gathered was from indiamike. I cannot think of another website with the kind of information this forum can offer you on travel in India. You can get other data from lonely planet and other places. That is if you want more stuff.
I researched on each and every detail of this beautiful corner of India. Where to travel, where to stay, what to see, what to eat, who to meet, these are questions I needed to find answers for. At the end, this is all data until you step your foot outside of your house.
I boarded the cheapest flight I could find in my limited budget, Air India. Patriotism was at its peak being an Indian. I had memories of travelling this airline as a kid. The Maharaja welcoming you with folded hands and that familiar smile. For all its glory days, this airline has been reduced to shambles these days. But I had no choice here. While boarding the aircraft my seat was taken over by a man with a turban. I was already experiencing a taste of India on foreign soil aboard a plane. Patience and prudence, you belong to me.
Anyhow, I sat, the plane left, I landed, in Delhi. It was a long flight with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Classic Indian style, board all the people you can and get the seats full from all the stops possible. I didn’t immediately get out of the airport in Delhi because I booked the flight in a way that I get to stay in Delhi on the return trip. The connection flight was 5 hours away to Guwahati. Already delayed, I plugged in my iPod and continued staring at all the passengers waiting to board. I used up the free data the airport offered on wifi and now social media was out of reach. Phones off. Karsh Kale and Anoushka Shankar was on my playlist the entire trip. If you want some indian classical fusion music, listen to them.
There was something about the music I was listening to and the air in this historic city. People can have all things to say about it and it’s people, but you need to experience it first hand. Maybe, I felt it that way because I was only a visitor.
2pm and the domestic flight landed in Guwahati. One or two baggage carousels and you are out of the airport. It was that easy. I managed to find a prepaid taxi counter there. With my Hindi all brushed up, I asked a man how one can get to Kaziranga. My flight had arrived late and he said I have one hour for the last bus from the Inter State bus terminus. I booked a taxi and headed there.
The taxi ride took about 45 minutes. My anxiety started growing. What if I missed that bus? Am I going to get stranded in this unknown place? I just went with the flow. There is a sense of achievement now, thinking about it. Believe your gut and go for it.
See you on the next post.
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